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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 26, 2008

Arsenal keeper Fabianski set for league bow

Arsene Wenger is set to hand young Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski his Premier League debut at Derby on Monday night - but the Arsenal manager will show no mercy to the relegated Rams as his men bid to end the season on a high.

The Gunners have seen their title push collapse over the past two months and also had any hopes of European glory were extinguished on a night of high drama at Liverpool a fortnight ago.

However, Wenger's men could yet snatch second place from Chelsea, who face leaders Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

The Arsenal manager has indicated he could give some of his fringe players a chance to impress at Pride Park - with Fabianski expected to start in goal and Brazilian teenager Denilson also ready for action as suspended winger Alexander Hleb is one of several first-teamers unavailable.

However, that does not mean Wenger will be expecting anything else other than 100% effort over the final three games of what has been a long season.

'We have won 21 games and our target is 83 points,' he said.

'I feel we have made progress. Last season we were never in the race which is terrible for a big club. This year we were definitely in the race - if we had won at Old Trafford we would have had a 90% chance of winning the title so it was on one game.

'I feel the team has performed well. We have contributed to the championship in terms of the quality have produced.

'We lost games where we felt we had enough quality to win and we want to improve that next season.'

Wenger has first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Almunia back from a wrist injury and also veteran Jens Lehmann available.

However, he would have no qualms in throwing 23-year-old Fabianski in for a Premier League debut and his first appearance since the 5-1 Carling Cup semi-final second leg defeat at Tottenham in January.

'I've not made a decision yet about who will play but I will have a look at Fabianski [before] the end of the season, and it could be on Monday,' Wenger said.

'For me he's class. He understands football, reads the game well and is quick.

'He is technically good with good co-ordination and has a good connection with the team.'

Wenger's faith in Fabianski is such the Arsenal manager feels he would not have to bring in another goalkeeper should Lehmann, who is out of contract in June, leave during the summer.

'At the moment I say no [to another keeper],' he added.

'[It depends] how well Fabianski does if I play him - but, on that front, I am not especially worried.'

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