12 May 2015

Łukasz Fabiański, we hardly knew ye...

Łukasz, Łukasz, Łukasz. It wasn't supposed to be like this. You helped us win the FA Cup in grand style, shutting down Wigan's penalties to earn us a spot in the final. Little did we know that you would prove just as good at stopping shots from six yards out when they're straight at you as when they're put either side of you. We should've known better. Instead, however, we put almost all of our 23 shots right at you or harmlessly into the side-netting. None of this is to take away from your performance; you dealt well with the pressure we did bring to bear, and we should take a moment to acknowledge that your'e a gamer—you've traded a back-up's spot for a lead-role, and that demands respect.

After helping Arsenal secure its first bit of silverware in nearly a decade, it felt a bit churlish to sell you to Swansea. Then again, to sit behind Szczęsny for both club and country must have been a bit too much to take, so I understand the desire to seize the starter's role. Given our own circumstances, I can't help but wonder if we might have done better by giving you the starter's role while Szczęsny, a callow 25 years of age, became your understudy. After all, he's become the FA Cup keeper du jour, reprising your role without reminding us (yet) of your resistance. It's not that Ospina has failed to impress—even in this direct, one-for-one comparison—but enquiring minds do wander.

Let's be honest, though. Our lads could have done a bit more to test you. Perhaps they were conflicted, torn between wanting to win and not showing you up. Maybe that accounts for how tame our shots were. In that 77th minute, when Alexis and Walcott had their chances, it seemed almost as if we didn't want to score, as they put their shots right at you. However, you more than overcame the "Flappy Handski" days, refusing to spill any of those shots. You'll have to pardon me if I stop just short of congratulating you, given the circumstances.

I like you, Łukasz, I genuinely do. Witness the fact that I hunted down and faithfully use the accents in your name. It's just that I can't help but feel a bit conflicted. At Swansea's end, of course, I understand the pride. At Arsenal's end, however, I wish we could have seen just one or two of our shots spilt for a second chance. Nothing obvious, mind you, but something subtle that would allow one of our lads a chance to slot it home. Cough it up, if you would, for old time's sake. If nothing else, you saved Arsenal's hash a fair-few times a season ago. Would it ask too much for you to have done the same on Monday?

Apparently so.

As it currently stands, you now owe us. That's right. Owe. You shined for Arsenal 'round about this time a year ago. You shined again, this time against Arsenal. The only way to split the difference, to settle this debt, is to do the damned same again against Man City. That's right. Clean sheet. Keep it. I'm willing to settle for a draw. After all, you don't score goals (do you?). Just make sure that City drop points. Two will do. Three will thrill. We're all counting on you to do the right thing, if only for your current club...

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