FA Cup final: Arsene Wenger has goalkeeper dilemma on his hands as Wojciech Szczesny targets starting line-up for Hull clash
Lukasz Fabianski has been Wenger's preferred cup goalkeeper and while Szczesny wants to play in the Wembley showcase, he concedes that the team's requirements come before his own
Wojciech Szczesny has made it clear that he wants to start Arsrenal’s FA Cup final against Hull next month despite Lukasz Fabianski featuring in all five of their cup matches in their run to the final.
Fabianski repaid manager Arsene Wenger for keeping faith in him for the Wembley semi-final against Wigan, with the goalkeeper saving two penalties in the shootout victory that saw the Gunners reach their first FA Cup final since their victorious 2005 visit.
That match also represents the last time the Gunners tasted any success, and given next month’s final is the best opportunity Wenger has had to end his nine-year trophy drought for some time, it has not yet been decided who will start out of the two Poles.
The 64-year-old has been faced with the decision on the past, when in 2002 he chose third-choice stopper Stuart Taylor for the third round and second choice Richard Wright from the fourth round until the semi-finals. However, once they booked their place in the final, first team regular David Seaman returned to marshal between the posts as Wenger’s side triumphed 2-0 over London rivals Chelsea.
Despite making his preference clear, Szczesny was accommodating in making the point that the team’s requirements come before his own.
“It’s up to the manager who plays,” said Szczesny. “I think Lukasz has done really well and deserves a lot of credit but I would love to play, obviously.
“I’m an Arsenal fan and I just want us to get the trophy. It’s not about me playing. Lukasz has been doing really well and he was our shootout hero at Wembley, so I was happy for him.”
Wenger praised the Polish international for his temperament in the shootout, after claiming that he had to keep alert having not been tested during the 120 minutes of action.
“Lukasz had nothing to do on Saturday, but what he had to do he did well, that was basically the penalties,” lauded Wenger. “Apart from that he had nothing do to. Wojciech is a bit taller and has not been bad when he has played. But I have complete confidence in Lukasz.”
Having started all 34 of the Gunners’ league games this season, Szczesny is undoubtedly Wenger’s first choice goalkeeper, and he also has his sights set on maintaining their fourth place in the battle with Everton to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“Almost every game is a cup final for us now,” the Pole admitted on Wednesday, before Everton slipped up at home to Crystal Palace in their 3-2 defeat. “We will have to get a result every single time we play and wait for Everton to drop points.
“We had to dig out a result against West Ham on Tuesday, but I would take four or five wins like that from now until the end of the season. As long as we get three points it doesn’t have to be beautiful."
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