Delusions of Competence

Lukasz Fabianski, I am sick of your shit. No, really, enough is enough...time to sod off back to Legia Warsaw, which is about your level.Admittedly, I did not see the match on Tuesday...I was stuck at work, as I am for all mid-week fixtures thanks to my cubicle job. However, every match report and every forum comment that I have seen (despite the generally-low level of knowledge the average person has about goalkeeping) has indicated that dear old Flappyhandski has lived up to his nickname once again. The way it's told, a relatively weak shot has, for the umpteenth time, found its way through the taffy wrists of our Number 2 (and if anyone has embodied a number-two, it's Fabianski).
Look, I don't like slagging off one of our own. Even with, say, Pascal Cygan I can remember the two goals he scored in one match. Sylvain Wiltord won us the league at Old Trafford. Gilles Grimandi was hideously underrated. The only times in recent memory where I've actively hated an Arsenal player are in the cases of Jose Antonio Reyes, Alexander Hleb and William Gallas. But, I probably hate this guy more than any of them. Why?

Because, this right here personifies everything about this man. The ball in our net, once again on a preventable shot, and our custodian and last line of defense staring at it like half a moron.
This perhaps is a little harsh on him personally. I'm sure he's a perfectly decent human being and he probably can do some things very well - perhaps he's ace at making dinner for the missus, or alphabetizing his DVD collection or what-have-you. But, he's shit at goalkeeping, and it's gotten to the point where I get angry even seeing him on the bench.

The worst part about it, of course, is the absolutely misplaced faith the boss has in this man. I am no Wenger-hater - I am nothing but appreciative of the spell of success that he has brought our club, recent dry spell aside. However, every so often he has his little blind spots, and they have more often than not tended to reside between our sticks. Richard Wright, Guillame Warmuz, Rami Shabaan, Stuart Taylor, misusing the young Alex Manninger, the list goes on.

He has intimated in the past that he has wowed everyone on the training ground, and just needs that one little spark to make it work out in games. Well, you know what? I say that's horseshit. There have been keepers with better pedigrees than him who have received far fewer chances to make their mark in the Premier League. You almost surely remember Massimo Taibbi, who had one high-profile blunder for the Manks before being summarily dismissed from service. Previous to that though, he came through the Milan reserve ranks before appearing 177 times for Piacenza - not AC Milan by any stretch, but not Legia Warsaw either.

Or, to get a little obscure, how about the case of Kostas Chalkias? Capped quite a few times for Greece, a few spells with a Champions League perennial in Panathinaikos, he lasted 5 matches for Portsmouth (effin' PORTSMOUTH!) before being sent home on his bike...and he never had a single error as high-profile as the legion committed by our Pole.

Ideally, what you want from your goalkeeper is either a fire-breathing Looney Tune in the Jens Lehmann mold, or a steady guy who carries himself with quiet confidence (think Manuel Neuer in this past World Cup). Fabianski combines the worst of the first world with an utter lack of the second - he's all frenzied motion and obvious desperation. How can any central-defense pairing in the world go about their business when someone like that is charged with mopping up after them?

This is the inverse of what I believe has happened with Manuel Almunia so far this season. With the additions of Laurent Koscielny and Sebastian Squillaci, he can play with the knowledge that for the most part, he is well-protected during the course of a match. In everything from his shot-stopping to his positioning, awareness and domination of his area, he has markedly improved. As a goalkeeper, I can tell you that the central two and the keeper have a symbiotic relationship - if one part fails, both do. With Fabianski, well, he's a fountain of fail, isn't he?

The worst part about it is that this guy isn't even in the time zone of being the best Polish goalkeeper in the squad (that takes some doing!). Wojciech Szczcesny had a brilliant spell on loan to Brentford, is ambitious and confident, and displayed both shot-stopping and aerial ability in a shit-kicking league. I would trust him against the Boltons and Blackburns of the world FAR more than I would Fabianski, and the fact that he wasn't even in the squad for the League Cup game is mystifying to me.

I'm just sick of this guy, and want him gone. Sorry for the negative post, but I've had all I can stand.