Its very much the way of football these days that most of the stories this morning centre around Lukasz Fabianski.
It seems that footballers are judged pretty much only on their last performance. Have a good game and you’re Johnny Wonderful, cock something up and you’re Johnny Useless. At the moment Fabianski is the former with endorsements from teammates Jack Wilshere:
It’s been hard for our ‘keepers at the moment and that was a great response from him. He made a good save at the end as well. Fair play to him.
And Kieran Gibbs:
He is a great keeper or else he wouldn’t be here. He put in a great performance. I think he felt like he had a point to prove. He has shown great character and he doesn’t hide away.
While Fabianski himself is looking to start on Sunday against Chelsea and says all the criticism didn’t affect him:
I was never really bothered by all the things said. I was always trying to focus on my job and my work. That is what I was always doing and that is why I am grounded. I am ready to play against Chelsea.
While I was delighted he put in a good shift against Partizan the other night I think people need to remember it was just one game. One good performance is nowhere near enough for the manager to justify all the terrible ones that came before it. It’s not enough for people to say that he’s turned things around. It is just one good performance.
If he can maintain that then I certainly won’t have any complaints but it doesn’t make me much less worried about him facing Chelsea should he play on Sunday. The only thing he’s done consistently in his Arsenal career is make mistakes so he’s got some way to go to prove that he’s got what it takes. If we’re a half season further on and he’s been solid throughout then perhaps we can start to think he’s a player who just went through an appalling period in his career. Until then he’s got to go out and prove himself every single week. Arsene called his performance against Partizan ‘faultless’. He needs a run of those.
One thing to consider is that the problem with our goalkeepers isn’t necessarily all with them. If you read this piece about Polish goalkeeping coach Krzysztof Dowha? then you might suspect our coaching is at fault. It can’t be a coincidence that all our keepers display the same traits, the same lack of dominance in the box, the same skittishness every time there’s a corner or set piece. Almunia is like that, Fabianski is like that, Mannone, when we’ve seen him, is like that. Either we’ve just been unlucky to get three keepers who all share the same faults or something is amiss on the training ground. I know it’s a point that’s been mooted before but maybe it’s worth some serious consideration.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, Bacary Sagna has turned his attention to Chelsea, saying:
We have to play our football. We know we have the quality to beat them. It will be an open game, but it will be about us, not them.
Not much of that makes sense to me. Playing our football reminds me of that risible William Gallas teamtalk that Sky spied on that time. “Play your football guys, play your football”. About as inspiring as wet underpants.
And if it’s an open game against Chelsea I would fear the worst. Perhaps, for once, we need to tame our attacking instincts and play a more disciplined game. Defensively we haven’t exactly been brilliant this season. We’ve only kept a clean sheet in two games those were the 6-0 spankings of Blackpool and Braga. We’ve conceded in every other game and you have to go back to 2005 for our last clean sheet at Stamford Bridge (a 0-0 draw).
So an open game is probably not a good idea. Chelsea, despite being monstrous cunts, aren’t exactly mugs at the back and have won the last six games against us. It’s time to turn that around, for sure, but we won’t do it unless we stay solid and those who have specific jobs to do do them properly.
More to come on that game in the next couple of days. Not much else going on so I’ll be back tomorrow with an Arsecast. Until then.