Too many people are having a go at Fabianski. It’s become a fashion of sorts to blame the keeper for every goal. The facts do tell a different story and we can see this from the snapshots of the goals we conceded at Blackburn.
Let me first get the foul out of the way. Look carefully at what Samba does. In this image we can clearly see Fabianski is going for the ball and Samba has his left arm down.
Then as the ball gets closer and the keeper is about to jump, Samba backs into him. Even superman would struggle to take off with such a brute backing into him.
Then he raises his left arm impeding the jump and thereby reducing the power Fabianski got on the punch. Look at how high his left arm is. The sole purpose is obstructing the keeper.
It is ridiculous that teams can get away with such a blatant foul. Look at the position of the referee, in the image we can see him between Nasri on the post and Van Persie. The ref has a clear view yet fails to call a foul. Beyond a point you really have to question the integrity of these officials. If moronic Arsenal fans can have so much hatred against the team and the manager then how can we be sure some referee isn’t xenophobic or bent?
The bigger problem for me however was with our defending. Even though the foul should have been called, let’s assume for a minute that the keeper made a mistake. The defence should help him out. Let’s see the positions of our defenders,
As the ball falls to a Blackburn player, another is completely unmarked on the right. When the ball is passed to him, we see a farcical sequence of events.
In the above image, the ball is on the right and the player is about to cross. The man at the back post, Nasri, rushes out but does not keep an eye on Dunn in front of him. Instead, he is watching the ball. Sol Campbell rushes towards the player about to cross.
Just look at this image and tell me how the ball goes from the right to the left across 7 Arsenal players!!! It’s shocking. Not a single player looks over his shoulder to see where the opponents are. Two Blackburn players are completely free and I’m not counting the one at the far end or on the edge of the box. Also worthwhile to note that Fabianski has gotten up and taken up a good position to cover the near post.
First the ball goes between the legs of Sol. I love his commitment and he is a fantastic player but a central defender has to do much better than that. Wonder why the critics of Fabianski don’t notice these details!?
Then the ball zips past Traore who is rooted to his spot. If he had been on his toes he could have blocked the cross or deflected it for a corner.
In the end it’s a simple tap in for Dunn. Nasri has moved from the back post to the six yard line but has no clue where Dunn is or of the threat posed by a man free at the back post.
There isn’t much in the second goal except a very clever rugby tactic.
This is the position just before the corner is taken. Note that Fabianski is a yard outside his line and Eboue, Campbell and Sagna are marking Dunn, Samba and Roberts.
Strangely enough, Eboue leaves his man and gets in front of him. This allows Dunn and Samba to double team Campbell and push him back onto the keeper. Have a look at Samba’s right arm shoving Campbell in the chest.
Samba and Dunn do a job on big Sol.
Sol is a giant but he can’t take on Samba and Dunn in a Rugby Scrum. Fabianski is pushed back a yard and that’s the small difference between a clean punch and a flap.
This is a clear foul and the ref and his assistants should be ashamed for letting it go. Quite how the keeper could have changed anything within a matter of seconds is beyond me.
The first goal was a freak goal just as the Birmingham equalizer was. But we have a tendency of conceding such goals more often than the other big teams simply because we get into a mess more often. It’s a simple percentage game.
It’s easy to make claims like the keeper should have a presence and stuff like that. What can the keeper do when the opposition is systematically using Rugby tactics with the knowledge that if they do it often enough, the ref will eventually allow a few to go unpunished?!
I don’t know if it’s funny or sad when people say Lehmann would never have allowed that. It’s easy to forget that the Arsenal first team with stars like Vieira and Lehmann struggled against the northern thugs and often lost. This lightweight team has been doing much better in such encounters!
Of course we have problems, as is evident from the collective defensive failure that we saw for the first goal. But if you just want to assume that a change of keeper can solve these issues then I’m afraid you don’t have a clue.
We must work on our defensive issues, primarily, organization and awareness. Even our stars like Campbell, Song and Vermaelen have been guilty of such lapses and we cannot have realistic title hopes unless we eliminate these issues.