Premier League - Wenger: Fab can be a great
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 Wednesday 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.
"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.
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.