Wenger pleased with 'faultless' Fabianksi

Arsene Wenger has challenged stand-in goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to make the most of his next chance as Arsenal number one after helping the Gunners beat 10-man Partizan Belgrade 3-1 in Serbia - an opportunity which could well come at Chelsea on Sunday.

The often-criticised Pole impressed as he stood in for injured Manuel Almunia for last night's Champions League Group H clash, saving a late penalty and then capping a confident display with another acrobatic stop from Ivica Iliev in stoppage time.



Wenger has long championed Fabianski's cause, despite a number of blunders, and felt last night's display proved his faith justified.



"Fabianski had a good game, we have seen the player who we see in training. He had a faultless game," said the Arsenal boss.



"I know it is in him. He got it out in the game and hopefully that will give him the needed belief and confidence."



The Gunners boss added: "I am confident he will come out as a great keeper, I have always said that.



"We have to keep confidence in him and he needs to gain experience from games like this."



Fabianski could be in line to play against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, should Almunia - himself under the spotlight following some errors in the 3-2 home defeat by West Brom - not recover from an elbow problem.



Wenger said: "At the moment Almunia is injured, we will have to see how his injury goes, but at the moment it is too early to say."



After surviving a power failure which forced the team to change in the dark and an intense atmosphere during the opening exchanges, the Gunners, who had six changes to their side, went ahead on 15 minutes through Andrey Arshavin.



However, after wasting several more chances, the visitors were made to pay when Brazil-born striker Cleo levelled from the penalty spot after a handball by Denilson.



Partizan then had Marko Jovanovic sent off for hauling down Marouane Chamakh on 55 minutes, but Arshavin missed his penalty. However, Moroccan striker Chamakh and Sebastien Squillaci gave Arsenal a two-goal cushion heading into the closing minutes.



It could, though, have been a tense finish but for the intervention of Fabianski with his two impressive late saves.



Wenger felt his side, missing key men like captain Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen, coped well with the early onslaught.



"Partizan gave us the game we expected - full of commitment, full of power on every break," the Arsenal manager said.



"We had a lot of the ball and created a lot of chances.



"However, we could not kill the game off and then we were always under threat."



There was a chance the match would not have gone ahead if the floodlights had failed.



Wenger said: "I thought it would be terrible to go home and not play.



"I encouraged UEFA when they asked me 'do you want to play even if one corner is off?,' I said 'yes, as long as the referee is happy with it'."



Partizan have now lost both of their matches, and look set for a battle with Braga for the Europa League place.



Coach Alexandar Stanojevic said: "We have to admit that Arsenal were a better team, so we have to go on."



News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam