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April 2021

FA cup, Fabianski, Bayern, what a difference a year makes

By Walter Broeckx

For those with a good memory for bad things I just want to point at the fact that in a year lots of things can change.

Let us go back to last Sunday and then go back to the same date one year ago. Yes it was that horrendous afternoon of football against Blackburn Rovers in the FA cup. A fluke goal and we couldn’t recover from it. The whole club was down after that. Losing to a team from a lower league, at home…painful. All and everyone unlucky.

And now one year later on the same day, almost the same hour we won against the most in-form team in the PL for the moment. So spirits are high and apart from professional moaners all Gooners feel happy about the result.

Now after that bad day against Blackburn our next match on the next Tuesday was the home tie against Bayern Munich. And another bad result. Not that losing to what possibly is the best team in the world, certainly in Europe,  over the last 2 years itself is something to be ashamed for. The way they brushed Barcelona aside with a total aggregate score of 7-0 (seven – nil yes) in the semi finals put things a bit in perspective. I remind you we only went out on the away goal rule against Bayern Munich later in the second leg.

But after our home defeat (1-3) the doom mongers were out in full force. Predicting the end of the world and Arsenal as we knew it. Wenger had to go or they would burn, not renew their season ticket. I hope they really did it and now real supporters have taken up their seats.  [Incidentally the Environmental Health Agency has asked me to add that since season tickets are in fact plastic cards, burning them is illegal under UK law, because of the fumes that can result, and the inherent damage to the environment. – Tony]

Our home defeat against Bayern last season was on February 19 and that is exactly the same date we will be playing them again this year. Last year a terrible loss on February 16, this year a nice win on the same date. Last year a miserable loss against Bayern on February 19, this year…who knows?

This just shows that each year is different. Last year the feeling for the Blackburn game was: we will put them away rather easily. Then feeling down because we didn’t get our game going against Bayern a few days later. I think the spirit in the team will be a lot better after our win on Sunday. And how you feel going in to a game is very important.

What also did change between the two games against Bayern last season was that Wenger took the step to take Szczesny out of the goal. He had a good start to the season but then in the February period he suddenly became nervous and made a few mistakes. Suddenly the moaners were all over him. Wenger knew nothing about goal keepers and he should have bought: Friedel, Schwarzer, Lloris, Jones, Hennesy, anyone even Hardly was good enough.

And Wenger took the step to put Fabianski in goal. Now I don’t want to bring up the name the non-existing non-supporting part of the fans gave him. I  get angry when seeing the name being written down or said aloud. I think it is very disrespectful for a fan to give their own players abusive names. Leave it for the opposition to do this. Not our own.

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So the moaners were even more angry because Fabianski would bring nothing but total disaster to Arsenal. After all he was rubbish and should have been shipped out long ago.  I think lots of the problems that Fabianski had to deal with had their origins in English referees seemingly not knowing that attacking a keeper when he goes for the ball is illegal and should be punished. That stopping a keeper in his run at a corner is a foul and should be punished. If refs had applied the laws as they should be applied Fabianski wouldn’t have to suffer the terrible abuse he got.

And I know he made a few mistakes himself. But name me one keeper that never made any mistake in his career? There is none. Never mind searching as you will always find moments of embarrassment for each keeper.

But Fabianski was in goal when we wrote history last season in Bayern. He didn’t let a goal in and he was really strong in this match.  And suddenly we saw the real keeper in Fabianski for a few weeks. Good and strong performances. And then suddenly he got injured in training and had some shoulder problems if I remember correctly.

In those weeks when Fabianski had taken over there was a little row between Wenger and the father of Szczesny. The latter claiming that Wenger was killing his son by putting him on the bench. Szczesny then told his father to shut up (well not the exact words) and to let Wenger do his thing. And the rest did Szczesny really good. In fact I think that getting him out of the pressure and letting him see that there was a good backup for him made Szczesny work harder than ever before. As he later admitted.

And now last Sunday we again saw Fabianski. As we saw him in the match against Tottenham and Coventry earlier in the FA cup. And once again he was impressive. This season Szczesny has been highly impressive in the PL in most of his matches. I don’t really think there were goals he could or should have done better, or I cannot remember them anyway. Some people say he is the best keeper in the PL this season and I don’t disagree with that at all. But I think the best keeper in the FA cup this season surely must be Fabianski. He only has been beaten by a penalty so far and he was impressive in our match last Sunday.

One year ago people questioned Fabianski and since then he has proven them wrong. One year ago people questioned Szczesny after a few poor performances and he has proven them wrong.  Maybe next time before some want to abuse our players and call them rubbish and give them terrible names, they should shut up before they speak. We all can have bad days or even bad weeks. On a moment like that we can help a player by giving him the love of the fans. I don’t think any player makes deliberate mistakes because he likes to be abused.

If we can believe the words on the street this summer Fabianski will leave Arsenal. With the way he is performing an understandable decision. He deserves better than being on the bench most of the time. But that is how it goes with keepers. As Szczesny this season has been outstanding there is nothing that can make Wenger change his mind on who is the number one keeper.

I think wherever Fabianski will go he will be a good keeper. And I wish him all the best for the remaining months at Arsenal. And I really hope that he will be between the goal posts somewhere in May at Wembley. For all the stick he got from some part of the fans that would be a nice way to show his real worth.

Strange how things can change over the course of one year.

Footnote: This site does not advocate sons or daughters arguing with their parents.  Indeed it is a fundamental of Untoldism that sons and daughters should be kind and respectful to their ageing parents, and take them out for splendid meals on their birthdays.


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52 comments to FA cup, Fabianski, Bayern, what a difference a year makes

  • Florian

    Nice write-up Walter. This team has something special compared to last year. The ability to bounce back, to handle the pressure with calm and to find solutions for the next game is really outstanding. A few years ago the team’s behavior was almost unpredictable – well, we were a one-man team back then, some were saying. But now the spirit is fantastic.

    I really hope Fabianski will stay. I’m not sure how much base one can put in the “word in the street”, but after all you’re physically closer, so I’m not arguing. But I sure think he and Szczez are a great combination, as they push each other to do better, so in a way he has his merit in our main keeper’s progress. Really wish to see both of them next season.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Walter – Fabianski has improved and is very confident and assured in goal , and this in turn allows the defence to play with confidence.
    Of late I just leave it to AW to sort out the team and just support them and not to worry my pretty head !
    When my son told me that Sanogo will be leading the line last weekend , I had strangely no questions nor doubts ,in the knowledge that AW knows best .

    @ Tony – Damn shame that the Environmental Health Agency stopped the burning outside the stadium , otherwise what a bonfire it would have been ! By the way what are their directives regarding black scarves ?

    And as for parents and children , a big hand for
    Ms.Phyllis Diller !

    I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.

    Most children threaten at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going.

    We spend the first twelve months of our children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve years telling them to sit down and shut up.

    Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.

    Tranquilizers work only if you follow the advice on the bottle – keep away from children.

    You know you’re old if they have discontinued your blood type.

    Best way to get rid of kitchen odors: Eat out.

    A bachelor is a guy who never made the same mistake once.


  • John

    I agree completely that it is wrong to ridicule and abuse our own players. I am pleased that Fabianski is receiving proper recognition. I have always rated him as a good keeper, recalling a performance in 2008 against Wigan in the Carling Cup when he made a double brilliant save similar to Jim Montgomery for Sunderland in the 1973 Cup Final.

    On a similar theme, I believe that Almunia never got a fair deal from some fans. Yes, he made some calamitous errors, but on many occasions he was one of the best in the PL. In our first ECL game against Barcelona, his first half performance was superb. But for him, we would have been hammered and out of the tie by half time. Also, he saved a fair few crucial penalties in his time with us. He was the star in the ECL first leg against Man Utd, when we lost 0-1.

    The conclusion I draw is that Arsene is a better judge of keepers than most journalists, pundits or bloggers.

  • bjtgooner

    Fabianski has developed into a top keeper, it would be sad to see him go in the summer.

  • nicky

    Where you get all these anecdotes and funnies,I wish I knew.
    They amuse me no end and all I hope is that they have a similar effect on ALL who contribute to this site….especially the hypercritical!

  • WalterBroeckx

    completely agree with what you said about Brickfield Gunners posts, Nicky.

    he sure knows how to bring smiles to peoples faces. Or make you spill your coffee, tea or whatever you are trying to drink while reading his posts. Not a wise thing to do by the way.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I agree about Almunia also. I once read a stat somewhere on how many clean sheets a keeper has had for Arsenal. And Almunia was amongst the best! But if you would listen to some you would think he was the worst keeper ever to have played for Arsenal.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think Fabi has been great for us whenever called upon in the last year, know Szcz rates him very highly as well.
    If we do have to lose him so he can get game time, hope he gets a great deal at a great club and gets the successful career such a talent deserves.
    But before then, howabout a dream scenario – lets get to Wembley and have him lead the team out for the final, and put in a great performance for a cup winning team in what will probably be his final appearance

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thanks , Nicky and Walter – I get them mostly from the internet and from my wacky friends .
    As you know my brain is wired differently (weirdly some may say)and I tend to pick on certain points in an article and away we go! Wheeee !
    After all there is a method to madness ! And I’m in the process of solving it ! Every joke or article has a common thread that not everyone is attuned to.
    I get great joy ( and many laughs myself!)in doing it and if someone enjoys it the better .My posting style just about reflects my general outlook in life .
    Just imagine if someone(Ahem!) were to pay me to do it !

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Did your birthday just come around? And your children, Tottenham fans that they are, chose to argue and exasperate you instead of devising to shorten your life with sweet and cholesterol laden late night dinner?

    What I like with the upcoming game against Bayern Munich is that Bayern have no reason to feel certain about who we are going to play, how we are going to play and the likely outcome of the encounter. Ingredients for an exciting game to look forward to.

  • Brickfields Gunners


    A woman invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?”
    “I wouldn’t know what to say,” the girl replied.
    “Just say what you hear Mommy say,” the woman answered.
    The daughter bowed her head and said, “Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Who You Want to Be?

    The teacher asked her class what each wanted to become when they grew up. A chorus of responses came from all over the room.
    “A football player,” said Jim.
    “A doctor,” said Alfred.
    “An astronaut,” said Suzy.
    “The president,” said little Al. (Everyone laughed).
    “A fireman,” said Fred.
    “A teacher,” said Lisa.
    “A race car driver.” said Mario.
    Everyone that is, except Tommy.
    The teacher noticed he was sitting there quiet and still. So she said to him, “Tommy, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
    “Possible.” Tommy replied.
    “Possible?” asked the teacher.
    “Yes,” Tommy said. “My mom is always telling me I’m impossible. So when I get to be big, I want to be possible.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Attention, parents!

    The small boy was lost in a mall and was delivered to the local police station where deputy gently tried to learn names of his parents.
    – Okay, sonny, now tell me how your mom and dad are called?
    The boy stopped crying for a second and blurted out:
    – Honey and Sweetheart, officer!

  • Vikrant Dogra

    Just to add to this article if I may, that period in the last 2 weeks of February 2013 was when this current team was ‘born’; after losing the north London derby, the team had 10 days off since Swansea were playing in the League Cup final, which finally gave people in the club the chance to analyse what needed fixing and to spend enough time on the training ground to put that into place.

    What we saw was a much more resilient, defensively disciplined and cohesive unit, starting with the win in Munich, continuing throughout the rest of the season and going up a level this season, Mesut Oezil being the icing on the cake in September 2013!

    As for tomorrow’s game, a few points. Will Pep Guardiola finally win a game at Emirates (played 2, drawn 1, lost 1 with Barcelona)? Since they are steamrollering the competition in the Bundesliga, they haven’t really been tested much this season, can Arsenal provide this test? Finally, it should also be interesting to see how much better Arsenal have become over the last 12 months in comparison to Bayern Munich…

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Generation Gap – Sigh ! Ain’t it the truth !

    Father decided that it is time to fulfill his parental obligations in sexual education of his son.
    ” Son, you are old enough now and it’s time that I should talk about sex with you.”
    ” Okay, dad, “- sighed the son with resignation, “What do you want to know ?”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Partnership or fee splitting ?

    “Look, dear, ” the husband asks anxiously, “didn’t you notice that after we’ve begun to give our son money for the good marks, he became the second best pupil in the school? Do you think that he is a genius ?”
    ” No, don’t think so, ” the wife shakes her head, ” I suspect that he splits the profit 50/50 with the teacher, dear.”

  • nicky

    Re your 10.45. Don’t ever change!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    For the new dad , Elkieno , a further education( just in case you’ve forgotten !)-
    Kids kitchen Vocabulary Terms

    APPETIZING: Anything advertised on TV.
    BOIL: The point a parent reaches upon hearing the automatic “Yuck” before a food is even tasted.
    CASSEROLE: Combination of favorite foods that go uneaten because they are mixed together.
    COOKIE (LAST ONE): Item that must be eaten in front of a sibling.
    CRUST: Part of a sandwich saved for the starving children of poor countries.
    DESSERTS: The reason for eating a meal.
    FLOOR: Place for all food not found on lap or chair.
    FORK: Eating utensil made obsolete by discovery of fingers.
    FRIED FOODS: Gourmet Cooking.
    KITCHEN: The only room not used when eating crumbly snacks.
    THIRSTY: How your child feels after you’ve said your final “good night.”
    SODA POP: Shake ‘N Spray.
    REFRIGERATOR: A very expensive and efficient room air conditioner when not being used as an art gallery.
    NAPKIN: Any warm cloth object, such as shirt or pants.
    MACARONI: Material for a collage.

  • Asif

    Add Mannone to this list and it truly proves that this Wenger guy knows nothing about keepers! We need to buy Julius Ceasar…maybe!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Nicky – thanks I won’t !Sometimes the regulars on this site feel this way !

    Whom you talking to?

    A 4-year-old son was eating an apple in the back seat of the car, when he asked, “Daddy, why is my apple turning brown?”
    “Because,” his dad explained, “after you ate the skin off, the meat of the apple came into contact with the air, which caused it to oxidize, thus changing the molecular structure and turning it into a different color.”
    There was a long silence. Then the son asked softly, “Daddy, are you talking to me?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Asif – I still remember the the fury and the furor when AW didn’t buy the 39 year old Mark Schwarzer for 3 million pounds!

  • ARSENAL 13

    @brickfields,…..and Mignolet And Valdes and Casillas

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ ARSENAL 13 – 40 apparently is the prime age for a goalkeeper – Zoff was 40 when he captained the winning Italian world cup team !
    All those you mentioned are spring chickens by comparison. Someone (!) once said that you’d never win anything with youth !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    There’s some great shit on this site !Got me thinking of the AAAAs – wonder why ?

    The Top 100 Things I’d Do
    If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Will I be the first to go ?

    30. All bumbling conjurers, clumsy squires, no-talent bards, and cowardly thieves in the land will be preemptively put to death. My foes will surely give up and abandon their quest if they have no source of comic relief.

  • para

    Sorry that Fabianski (apparently) wants to leave. It’s a long long time ago that Arsenal has been without a “Fab”, hope he changes his mind, but alas he is young and it would be understandable.
    Great game Fab.

  • ARSENAL 13


    Yes, someone once said so. But now that Liverpool are in contention and have a few babies in their ranks, hez kept his arse shut on this issue.

    But I dont understand this thing, young Hendersen, Young Cleverly, Young Welbeck, Young Sterling, Young Cutinho, Young Flanagan, young Hazard…. But not young Wilshere, not young Ramsey, not young Sanogo, not young Ox, not young Jenkinson??? Why??

  • Brickfields Gunners

    If I ever talk to the hero on the phone, I will not taunt him. Instead I will say this his dogged perseverance has given me new insight on the futility of my evil ways and that if he leaves me alone for a few months of quiet contemplation I will likely return to the path of righteousness. (Heroes are incredibly gullible in this regard.)

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ARSENAL 13 – Maybe the like the higher grade grapes , they tend to mature (apparently ) faster in the hands of the master craftsman ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    This reminded me of Leeds , Fulham – is he , will he…?

    If I have a fit of temporary insanity and decide to give the hero the chance to reject a job as my trusted lieutentant, I will retain enough sanity to wait until my current trusted lieutenant is out of earshot before making the offer.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The Spuds , Levy and AVB , anyone ?
    I will make sure I have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what in my organization. For example, if my general screws up I will not draw my weapon, point it at him, say “And here is the price for failure,” then suddenly turn and kill some random underling.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Bjgooner -This one is for you !

    When I capture the hero, I will make sure I also get his dog, monkey, ferret, or whatever sickeningly cute little animal capable of untying ropes and filching keys happens to follow him around.

  • jambug


    You said about Szczesny

    “……I don’t really think he could, should of done better….”

    I agree. He has been immense, but I’ll give you a prime example of total over reaction.

    One mistake I remember he made was, I think against West ham. There opener bounced of his chest if I recall. Simple error but no harm done as we went on to win 3-1. I honestly cant recall another ‘costly’ error.

    Next day in the SUN’S ‘what they tweeted column’

    #Mark Bright

    …….”I’ve said it before, Arsenal haven’t got a chance of winning anything until they get a World Class keeper”

    That comment on the back of ONE error !!!

    Talk about over reaction and of course the SUN thought it a credible ‘tweet’


    “……..I believe that Almumia never got a fair deal from some fans….”

    How true john, and how very very sad that he is just another on a list that’s far too long.

    I used to be so proud of our fans, there loyalty to players through thick and thin. Alas now I am more often ashamed of them than I am proud.

    Sorry if that sounds harsh but the simple fact this site, with it’s overt pro Arsenal, pro Wenger mantra, had to be set up in the first place says so much about the negativity and down right vitriol that has pervaded so many of our fans.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Moanerin’ho anyone ?
    I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. Even though this takes some of the fun out of the job, at least I will never utter the line “No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!” (After that, death is usually instantaneous.)

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it’s too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.

    Damn ! Guess I’ll stick to sniggering !

  • jambug

    Going to be very tough tomorrow. Even tougher to get through over 2 legs but I know the lads will give it everything. Alas….. but we’ll see.

    What with Munich, the FA cup and the PL fixtures coming up the next 6 weeks are immense.

    This is what I would take by the 29th of March.

    Within 1, maybe 2 points of the top.

    In the Semi Final of the FA Cup.

    Out of the CL.

    Okay, I’d like to be top but with only 1 home game (unless Swansea is rapidly re arranged) and 3 away including Spurs, Chelsea and Stoke between now and then, just remaining in touch wouldn’t be a disaster.

    The 29th March is the day we entertain City in the PL. If things go well against Everton we could be facing City in the FA Cup Semi finals that weekend instead.

    Obviously I hope for more. Obviously out of the CL wouldn’t be nice but considering the opposition reality says is a real possibility. Would be nothing to be ashamed of. But hey this team never fail to surprise.

    Whatever way you look at it the next few weeks are going to involve some ups and downs, but it’s where we are at the end of it that matters. Keeping our heads and not listening to the doom-mongers every time we don’t get a perfect result will be of the up most importance.


  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Walter, off topic I know but Bellerin has been recalled from his load spell by Arsenal. Hope that doesn’t indicate injuries to either Back or Jenks.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Heard it also Andrew.

    I heard it had something to do with a new manager at Watford who didn’t play him like the former manager did? To be honest don’t know if there is any truth in it as I don’t follow Watford that much….

  • Brickfields Gunners

    This Arsenal team is stronger mentally than that of last year’s , and let us hope that they are up for it after the FA cup win.
    Hope the crowd back them to the hilt and make it uncomfortable for the Germans .Lift them up guys and cheer them on .

  • Robl

    re Bellerin – it may be that Wenger wants to take a closer look at him in the first team squad, especially if Sangna goes in the summer.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Saving countless tries on goal by SAS: 1 million
    Shaving last few hairs on Squirtle’s head: 10 million
    Denying Sturridge repeatedly in the red zone: 100 million
    Having your laces tied up by an opposing player: Priceless
    There are things money can buy, but there are some you have to wait for a Mugsmasher to do for you
    Fabianski: Priceless; class is permanent

  • TJ


    Bellerin was playing regularly for Watford and very well too according to Watford supporters as a wing back in a back five until Zola was sacked. New manager came in and he is out of favour. The U21’s, U19’s and youths have a lot of games coming up and right-back Tafari Moore has just incurred a long term injury playing for the U21’s yesterday evening. I would imagine a combination of all of the above are the likely reasons he has been recalled.

  • jambug


    Good news, (except for poor Tafari Moore of course, best wishes to him), because we are going to need both our Right backs flying to get through to the end of the season.

    I would hate to lose Fabianski or Sagna. Is that looking more likely than not?

  • Sammy The Snake

    Menoni took lots of stick throughout his Arsenal career but is now the saving angle for Sunderland.

  • John

    Mannone was our third choice keeper when he was man of the match against Fulham

  • Robl

    @ Andrew & TJ, photo 19 on the training pictures on – looks like Bellerin training with the first team.

  • TJ

    Hi Robl

    Yes, Bellerin as well as Kristoffer Olsson and Semi Ajayi took part in training, although out of those only Olsson is registered to play CL, so as often happens they were probably just drafted in to make up numbers for training.

    I didn’t like not being able to pick out Sagna in any of the images of the squad training. With TV5 still out and no indication when he will return numbers in defense is a bit of a worry. Although not to forget Flamini can go into the fullback position too.

  • Robl

    No Monreal, Jenks or keepers either – I wouldn’t read too much into it though looks more like a German PR exercise + Tomas who played there.

  • Micheal Ram

    Our fans have no idea sometimes how good are our players. They asked for a world class signing, then we got Mesut Ozil, the world’s best no. 10 according to stats, former teammates’ view and ex managers’ opinion. He came, he saw and he was humbled by the Arsenal players’ technical quality. His arrival though has increased the competition and winning mentality at the club and now he is being outperformed by most of his teammates. Still down to earth and man enough to admit he is going through a test of character and vowed to play at the next level once he gets used to the demand of EPL. A certain example of a superstar who still want to do better for the club and teammates. What else can you ask of him? The perfect player with the perfect attitude. Not a word of complain or grudge after bombardment of abuse, insults and criticism. Just went on with it. His whole team is behind him too. A perfect team harmony.

    By the way,

    BFG is not only for
    Big F**kin German but also for
    Brickfields Funny Gunner.

    Keep it up! We all appreciate it.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I like that Michael

    We could sing now: We’ve got our own BFG, we’ve got our own BFG… 😉

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sniff ! Sniff ! Thanks guys! Brought tears to me eyes and a lump to me throat !
    Croak !