A safe pair of hands?
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 20 December 2018 at 9:05pm
Written by @englishhammer
It’s not hard to recollect the taunts from rivals clubs when we were signing Fabianski. The fact was, he was a goalkeeper who had played regularly and yet was relegated with Swansea – but a deeper delve into the stats showed he might not have been too much at fault. Swansea didn’t have the worst goal difference (Stoke and Huddersfield beat them to that), but even more surprising perhaps is that a total of nine teams (including us) had more goals scored against them last season than Swansea did. Swansea’s relegation was not necessarily the fault of the defenders and goalkeeper – their squad just wasn’t scoring at the other end.
Now, while still not being amazing statistics, this did almost cushion the blow that he should be at least as good as Adrian. Adrian obviously has been a fan favourite, but many Hammers have come to the same conclusion: he can show that occasional bit of genius, but his eccentricity of decisions leaves a lot to be desired for, which leads to inconsistency, which is something Pellers seems to have got under control. Inconsistent players simply aren’t left on for 90mins let alone every game, like they were in the old regime.
The age of 33 for a Goalkeeper means nothing – if anything, he’s still in his peak period, which leads us to the bargain fee of £8million. These days, that is nothing, so to get a new reliable number one who gives fans more faith than Robert Green, Shaka Hislop, Joe Hart, Adrian, Jimmy Walker, David James and others who we have really rated in recent years is amazing. We almost feel like we stole him at that price!
Probably not since Robert Green have we had a goalkeeper that, pretty much, is in every conversation for Man of the Match. Any other season he’d be walking away with it but this season has so many worthy choices thrown at us. In our recent run of games alone, Fabianski has denied unbelievable shots which, if the score line had altered, could’ve pushed the lads heads down and given in (something which is of course less common since Moyes left!)
Putting the Pellegrini effect aside for a moment, Fabianski with Diop and Balbuena in front of him certainly would beef up any defence and be a force in anyone’s tactics. The three of them are a catalyst and are STILL gelling, yet performing! Of course more clean sheets wouldn’t go amiss, but it’s hard to find fault given the last four games!
Of course this is a team game (the front three or four need to score) but if you have no defence you need to score a lot more! Now while we haven’t kept as many clean sheets as we like, we’ve limited the goals against dramatically (Man City aside), giving us a goal difference of zero, and it should only improve from now on. Fabianski is our last line of defence; if people do get past Diop or Balbuena, or shoot from afar, it’s wonderful to not have that familiar fear we had with Adrian that it’s 50/50 going to be a cock-up. Fabianski has 3 clean sheets; he’ll want to up that number for sure – and let’s not forget he’s saved a penalty too.
Week in and week out, this man has made a difference to our squad and is a very deserved contender for Signing of the Season.