Arsenal player season review: Lukasz Fabianski

Denying an old friend.

The Short Fuse's Arsenal 2010-11 player review series continues today with goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. Then, it's on to defenders.

In a season which saw Arsenal use all three of its first-team keepers, the second man up and the one who looked to have won the starting job until a shoulder injury ended his season was Lukasz Fabianski. The Pole had been the butt of many jokes in 2009-10 for notable blunders at Porto, but this season he managed to avoid high-profile errors and put together a solid campaign.

Manuel Almunia was the putative number one when proceedings began in August. Fabianski started in the 4-1 victory at White Hart Lane in the Carling Cup third round and was set for the bench again until Big Al ran into elbow troubles in Belgrade. From then on out, Fabianski took the reins. He started in goal for that match, saving a penalty from Cleo, and then went on to start against Birmingham City in a 2-1 win, Shakhtar in a 5-1 win, and Manchester City in a 3-0 win at Eastlands.

On October 30, he made crucial saves to keep West Ham at bay until Alex Song's late late header won it for the Gunners. He couldn't keep Andy Carroll from heading the winner home against Newcastle, but he bounced back in a big way with great play against Wolverhampton and Everton.

Then 2-3 to Spurs happened. Poopie! Moving on...

Fabianski, playing behind a wobbly defense at times, wouldn't actually post a clean sheet until the new year, with a 3-0 win over Birmingham City. However, during that time, he played in wins over Aston Villa, Fulham (including an injury time denial of Chris Kamara), Partizan Belgrade (again), and most importantly, Chelsea. He missed the loss to Manchester United, Wojciech Szczesny filling in at the last moment.

At the tail end of the Birmingham match, Fabianski injured his shoulder. He suffered a setback later in January, and Szczesny kept on rolling. At the end of the month, Arsenal's medical team decided to get him into surgery and shut him down for the season, leaving the squad in the hands of his fellow Pole and Almunia.

Fabianski, overall, had a better showing than he did in 2009-10, but still at times looked a little shaky coming for crosses and floaters into the box. He remains, like all of Arsenal's keepers, an excellent shot-stopper, and further work on communication with his defenders should improve his command of the area, hopefully. What remains to be seen is whether or not he will take over the number one shirt if Almunia departs, or if Wenger will decide to make Szczesny, five years younger, the main man in goal.

Season grade:    {:?>

(I have no idea what emoticon that is)

Grade from BeltransMole: B

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