With a name like Fabianski, it takes some serious stuff to want to be a keeper, because the minute you make a mistake everybody's all ZOMG THAT GUY IS TOTALLY FLAPPYHANDSKI and before you know it a dumb nickname is born. But Lukasz Fabianski didn't care, when he started his soccer life, what 10 years later some idiots would call him on the internet; he cares not for your epithets. Not you personally, I'm sure you've never called him that!
So today, in our next round of reviews, we all give our reviews of Fab the Backup; just so you know, for the less-often-played Arsenal players, we'll probably do two of these a day, otherwise we'll be doing player reviews until about September, which would be somewhat dumb. So here we go!
Arsenal's other, slightly older Polish goalkeeper didn't play much this year, but when he did he made it count. He averaged less than a goal allowed per appearance, and Arsenal won every game in which Fabianski appeared. That's pretty good, especially considering the fact that he'd missed much of the season to that point due to various injuries, and was basically coming in cold.
The highlight of Fabianski's year was his first game of the season. He kept a clean sheet at the Allianz Arena, as Arsenal nearly overhauled their first leg deficit against Champions League finalists Bayern Munich in a 2-0 win. The lowlight was almost certainly Grant Holt kicking him in the chest like a jabroni, which led to Fabianski not playing again all season. Poor bastard can't catch a break.
Lukasz Fabianski is the Polish goalkeeper with the much-easier-to-spell name, so I automatically like him better from that perspective. But he mostly serves as bench depth - Szcz has a lock on the #1 spot after his sabbatical this year, and Fab is on the outside looking in. When he plays, though, he plays well - in just five games, Fab made people go from OH LORD NOT THIS PLEASE ANYTHING BUT THIS straight to WHY IS HE HURT I DON'T WANT SZCZ BACK COME BACK SOON.
Having seen so few games this season, and having played so well in those games, Small Sample Size Fab (or, according to Google Translate, mały rozmiar próbki Fab) makes me think he'll follow the career path of Manuel Almunia - he may just ask to leave this summer, then go to a Championship or lower-half Premiership team, and show the world his true talent level. I kinda hope he stays at Arsenal and presses Szcz for first choice, as I think Arsenal have two really solid options; whatever happens, I wish him well.
Lukasz Fabianski, as far as I knew, was working in a salt mine. Then Szczesny got hurt, and Fabianski appeared on the pitch of the Allianz Arena, and I got terrified. Then he owned, basically, for a few matches, until Grant Holt said "back to the salt mine with ye" in a chubby voice. In between, Fabianski looked good and didn't screw up. What more could you want? Helped Arsenal through a really terrifying period of the season.
GRADE: Screw it, A. But a small sample A.
Lukasz Fabianski came in at a time when Arsenal were struggling, and played his final game (because of injury) with Arsenal in pole position for 4th place. Getting his first run in the team since 2010/11, a spell that also ended with injury, Fabianski showed why Arsene Wenger thinks he is a better technical goalkeeper than Wojciech Szczesny. Crucially, though, Fabianski showed confidence and determination that hadn't always been apparent in his game, and was part of a team that conceded just 3 goals in 5 games as Arsenal kept clean sheets away at Bayern Munich and Swansea, and was instrumental in preserving a one goal victory against West Bromwich Albion.
His distribution was also a pleasant reminder of the time when goalkicks didn't fly out for throw ins. His season ended when lumpen idiot Grant Holt kicked him in the ribs, but I feel fairly comfortable if Fabianski (who is under contract for next season) is the backup to Szczesny.
If The Short Fuse was a college and Lukasz Fabianski was enrolled in Whatever You Do Just Don't Let The Ball In 101, he'd get an incomplete grade from Professor King. But incompletes aren't an option for him, since it appears he'll be transferring to another school this fall. So he'll earn a few credits; how the grade affects his GPA, I haven't a clue. While Fabianski, for the most part, shed his unfortunate nickname while supplanting a declining Wojciech Szczesny in March, there wasn't enough body of work from him to definitively say he made a difference.
He came into the lineup shortly after Tottenham away, our last truly bad defensive performance, and worked with a center back partnership hellbent on preventing the opposition any opportunities on goal. Was it he that elevated the defense, or was it perfect timing into the first team? In the end, I'm tossing those questions aside because in his first match this season, he earned a shutout at Bayern Munich which, given the opponent, might be the most impressive display over 90 minutes by a Gunner all season and so for that he passes the class.