West Ham

David Moyes has selection dilemma as Lukasz Fabiański and Alphonse Areola vye for West Ham No.1 spot

Unworkable. Unsustainable. Even unfair. They are just a few of the words used this season to describe the Premier League’s most popular (only?) goalkeeping soap opera, still running in north London following the arrival of David Raya to compete with (usurp) Aaron Ramsdale for the Arsenal No1 shirt.

What has gone less noticed is that, across the capital, the east-enders have been managing a not dissimilar situation perfectly well for two-and-a-half seasons now.

In Lukasz Fabiański and Alphonse Areola, West Ham possess perhaps the second-best depth between the sticks in the entire division, but without the scrutiny that has at times appeared to make lesser players of both of the Arsenal contenders.

Billy McKinlay, the coach of the Irons, responded, “That’s ultimately down to the manager dealing with the individuals,” when asked how the squad had managed to keep two players on the roster happy despite the fact that they are both obviously good enough to start every week for many Premier League sides. “And it comes down to the players realizing that they are the shirt’s caretakers while they are on the squad and wearing the jersey. The other person needs to put in a lot of effort, put them under pressure, encourage them, and handle things properly.

That has existed for a few seasons. Everyone in the game is under pressure to perform well and maintain the jersey; everyone else stands by them professionally and waits for their chance.

True, Fabianski was not best pleased at learning that he would no longer be the Premier League first-choice on the eve of the new season, but the Pole has since knuckled down and now been rewarded with a one-year contract extension that will extend his Irons career beyond his 40th birthday, into the summer of 2025.


Areola, on the other hand, had to wait patiently for her opportunity this season. The 30-year-old had to wait for two seasons as the official cup goalie despite having significant experience from his stint at PSG and Real Madrid, but the Hammers’ subsequent deep runs in Europe made it easier to take.

“The caliber of goalkeepers we have is a blessing,” McKinlay continued. “We have two No. 1s.”

But the nature of the job means that such a thing is not possible, and going into Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup quarterfinal against Liverpool, David Moyes has a significant quandary for the first time since making that preseason call.

Since Areola picked up a wrist injury in training a fortnight ago, Fabianski has played all four of West Ham’s matches, a run that included shipping five at Fulham but also the superb victory away at Tottenham and, most recently, successive clean sheets in convincing wins over Freiburg and Wolves.

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