Written by: @levylife
How lovely is it to have a really, really good goalkeeper? Think about it for a second. The absolute tranquillity and calming presence that a top class ‘keeper brings to firstly, the team, and then the stadium itself. A big warm, embracing hug, like a slowly descending fog cuddling you into a sense of security. Lukasz Fabianski is the fog.
Since his arrival from relegated Swansea for a pittance of £7 million, he has been utterly outstanding between the sticks making 144 saves and winning Hammer of the Year in the process.
Ousting Adrian the minute he walked through the door (not via arrogance a la Joe Hart) but through sheer skill and humility, he has been a mainstay ever since. Long gone is the moniker of ‘Flappy-hand-ski’; the ridicule he suffered in his younger years at Arsenal now a distant memory.
Arguably, Fabianski finds himself in the top three goalkeepers for shot-stopping alone in the Premier League. The bloke is everywhere at all time; an omnipresent octopus. His performances against Chelsea and Manchester United at the London Stadium were stupidly impressive.
If Alvaro Morata ever wants to take up squash post-retirement, he would do well to phone up Fabianski, so he could use the Pole’s massive head like a wall once again. Some people adore tiki taka team goals or long-range worldies, but when a ‘keeper stretches every sinew of his body to defend the goal as if it were a new-born baby being charged down by a wildebeest stampede, it is simply delightful.
If memory serves me correctly, he has yet to make a single mistake resulting in a goal. Refreshing, that. The fact he has had to deal with a makeshift defence this season, with Pellegrini dealing with injuries and form, it is even more impressive how much of a constant he has been.
Adrian, Randolph, Hart and Jaaskelainen have all tried, yet ultimately failed, to solidify a consistent and quality stint between the sticks. That is what makes Fabianski’s performances all the sweeter. The fact that every week you know that he is going to deny the opposition striker as if it were nothing. The world class saves melt and dissipate into the subconscious of fans, they become normalised.
That is what a club needs – the normalisation of quality. Fabianski provides this; the calming presence, the experience, the multitude of ‘how on earth did he save that?’ type of save.
Whilst West Ham’s transfer policy in the past has been uninspiring, uninformed and underwhelming but the club deserve tremendous amounts of credit for this acquisition.
At 33-years-old, it is a sad shame that Fabianski will not play for the club as long as fans would implore him to. As Pellegrini’s passing style motors into effect and the cogs begin to whir, will fingers be pointed at the Pole’s relatively weak distribution skills? One would hope not.
So, after several years of living in a goalkeeping hinterland, West Ham have finally found the man to sit upon Ludek Miklosko’s vacated throne, if only a fraction too late.