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Lukasz Fabianski Will Start for Arsenal vs. Wigan in FA Cup Semi-Final

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 08:  Lukasz Fabianski of Arsenal in action during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Arsenal and Everton at Emirates Stadium on March 8, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistApril 10, 2014

Arsene Wenger has confirmed Lukasz Fabianski will start in goal during the Gunners' FA Cup semi-final with Wigan Athletic.

The Polish stopper, who plays second fiddle to countryman Wojciech Szczesny at the Emirates, has been a key component of Arsenal's run to Saturday's showdown. Wenger confirmed the 28-year-old's inclusion during his pre-match press conference, reported by the club's official Twitter feed:

Fabianski has failed to maintain a place in Arsenal's first team since joining from Legia Warsaw in 2007. He has made a combined total of 75 appearances across seven years, recorded by Arsenal's website, with 58.6 percent of these coming in cup competitions.

He is yet to make a Premier League appearance this season and was forced into a duo of Champions League displays after Szczesny was sent off during the round-of-16 tie against Bayern Munich, per WhoScored.com.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19:  Lukasz Fabianski of Arsenal makes a save during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and FC Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on February 19, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Bott
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Despite his lack of game time, Wenger has vowed to stand by his substitute keeper after confident performances in previous ties. Fabianski has made four appearances in the competition—coming against Tottenham, Coventry, Liverpool and Everton—conceding just two goals, one each to the Merseyside clubs.

With Arsenal's Premier League title charge all but over, Fabianski's form will play a major role in the club's attempt to land their first silverware in nine years. The FA Cup is undoubtedly Arsenal's best means of finally breaking their duck, but the semi-final won't be without its challenges.

Wigan have proven themselves dangerous underdogs across the past two competitions. The current holders stunned Manchester City with a late Ben Watson header in last year's final, only to knock the Etihad giants out on their own turf this campaign.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19:  Lukasz Fabianski of Arsenal dives to makes a save from Claudio Pizarro of Bayern Muenchen during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and FC Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on February 1
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Uwe Rosler masterminded a battling display during the last round. The impressive manager believes his Wigan side have nothing to lose during their third Wembley visit in a year, reported by ESPN:

"We are the massive underdog but we have presented ourselves so far in a very, very good way," said Rosler. "We've made our supporters proud and we're going to Wembley; we can't lose, we only can win."

Arsenal head into this one as overwhelming favourites. Wenger's side are sure to be wary of failing to capture glory with a late misstep, ensuring pressure is firmly on those in red and white.

The Frenchman obviously has faith in Fabianski to place him between the sticks, but many fans may berate his decision to leave the No. 1 out at this pivotal stage in the season.

 

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