Tuesday 24 October 2017

Fabianski deserves chance to claim No 1 spot - Arteta

Arsenal's Lukasz Fabianski
Arsenal's Lukasz Fabianski

Jeremy Wilson and Ben Rumsby

Arsenal vice-captain Mikel Arteta says he hopes Lukasz Fabianski will be given his chance as first-choice goalkeeper after excelling against Bayern Munich.

Arsene Wenger had omitted Wojciech Szczesny from the trip to Munich amid concern that his form was being affected by the pressure, at the age of just 22, of having already spent two years as first-choice 'keeper.

Fabianski, who is also competing with Szczesny to play for Poland, had not started a game for over a year but became the first visiting goalkeeper to register a clean sheet at the Allianz Arena this season in their 2-0 win.

Wenger has stressed that he still expects Szczesny to fulfil his potential, but has scouted more experienced options, including Asmir Begovic, Pepe Reina and Victor Valdes, as he tries to resolve the situation.

Asked if Fabianski was now ready for a run in the side, Arteta said: "I would hope so. He has done it against Bayern so why can't he do it in the following games?

"He came in and was fantastic, he dominated the box. We are really happy with him because he has been working really hard."

Wenger is expected to retain faith with Fabianski against Swansea City tomorrow when he will face an equally big selection quandary over his captain Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian was also dropped against Bayern following a dip in form, with Laurent Koscielny scoring and impressing with his defensive display.


Wenger will be forced to make at least one change after Kieran Gibbs suffered a reaction on the thigh injury that had sidelined him for six weeks.

Nacho Monreal will return at left-back against Swansea, while Bacary Sagna and Lukas Podolski are out.

Arsenal are five points of the top four with 10 games remaining.

"This football club cannot afford to be out of the Champions League. We can't win any trophies this year – the minimum target we can ask for is to qualify for the Champions League," added Arteta.

Meanwhile, there were no alarm bells ringing at the Premier League following what Wenger described as a "massive wake-up call" for the English top flight in the Champions League after it was left without a quarter-finalist for the first time since 1997.

The Premier League declined to comment on Wenger's lament but it is understood senior officials were by no means panicking about the flop.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore avoided getting too carried away when his clubs supplied six of the eight semi-finalists between 2008 and 2009, and that pragmatism was continuing during a downturn in the league's fortunes.

The Premier League is also safe in the knowledge that the number of Champions League spots enjoyed by English football, four, is under no threat. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Champions League last eight draw, live, Sky Sports News, from 11am

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