Lukasz Fabianski has made more saves than any other keeper in Europe, so why did he struggle so much when he was at Arsenal?
The 33-year-old spent seven years at Arsenal and while it’s safe to say he wasn’t universally loved by the Arsenal fanbase, here at Daily Cannon we were always fans of our more senior Pole.
Speaking to the Guardian this weekend, Fabianski is clear about what happened at Arsenal, and why he has improved so much since he felt he had to leave in 2014.
“When I played for Arsenal, like once per month, you always had this feeling you had to perform,” Fabianski told Stuart James. “Then you end up either having a good game or a really bad one [because of the pressure]. And that was the biggest difference.
“Now there is pressure but in a different way, because you focus on the things that, for example, the people are demanding from you, rather than just trying to show yourself, so you kind of flow with the game rather than force the game.”
Fabianski credits Swansea’s goalkeeping coaches, Javier Garcia – who is now at Arsenal – and Tony Roberts with helping him find his form. “They were on me every single day,” he adds, begging the question, not for the first time, what on earth Gerry Peyton was doing at Arsenal when he was supposed to be coaching the keepers?
It is when he talks about leaving Swansea that the real Fabianski comes through, a shy unassuming man who has never looked for the spotlight or to hide from the criticism that came his way. Before leaving the Swan, he retired to his hotel room and composed a letter for the staff, his teammates and the Swansea fans.
“I think all the people I met at the club at Swansea, they deserved the respect they showed me over the time I was there,” Fabianski said as he explained why he felt he needed to write the letter. “
“It’s the club that took a chance on me – a goalkeeper who was mostly questioned, someone who was 29-years-old and who wasn’t first choice for seven years, so that’s one part of it. The other part is that all the people I met in Swansea, they were always very kind towards me and my family, even if we had a bad run of results.
“The four years we spent there were really good, my son was born there, so I wanted to show respect.
“When I look back at that moment when I decided to change club [from Arsenal], I knew I had to leave,” he continued.
“I needed to go somewhere where I could build myself up again almost from scratch and I’m happy with the way things went. But if I say today I have pride in that, probably life will punish me.
“There is no comfort zone. You continue to work hard, to be consistent and to deliver performances.”
Fabianski made 78 appearances for Arsenal, keeping 26 cleansheets and winning one FA Cup in his final season.