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Apr, 23, 2010

Arsene Wenger places faith in Fabianski

Arsene Wenger believes Lukasz Fabianski will prove to be a "great 'keeper" for Arsenal and will give the Pole the chance to made amends for his mistake against Wigan when Manchester City visit Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

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Fabianski spilled a late corner at the DW Stadium, allowing Wigan to score the second of their three goals in a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Gunners last weekend. The slip was not the first from Fabianski this season as he has also committed high-profile errors against Stoke City and Porto.

He was also culpable in Arsenal's FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea last season but Wenger is not ready to give up on Fabianski, and with Manuel Almunia currently sidelined with a wrist injury, he has the chance to repair his reputation in the final three games of the season.

"I think he will be a great 'keeper," Wenger said. "If you ask how many mistakes you can afford, I would say zero, but also it is part of the game.

"I believe Fabianski has great quality and spirit. He has a good opportunity to show how good he is. Of course, he was disappointed on Sunday, but I believe he was not the only one involved in our defeat."

Almunia is Arsenal's established No.1 but, as well as Fabianski, Vito Mannone impressed with a brief run in the team earlier in the season. Wojciech Szczesny, on loan at Brentford, is also confident about his own chances of breaking into the first team and Wenger agrees with the 20-year-old Pole.

"It is reasonable to have the ambition to be No.1 here next season and he [Szczesny] is doing extremely well," Wenger said. "I believe one day he will be the No.1 at Arsenal certainly, but we will see next season."

Saturday witnesses a reunion of sorts for Wenger as former Arsenal stars Patrick Vieira, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor are all expected to feature for City. While the former two remain popular figures in North London, Adebayor will likely be the target of abuse from the home fans.

Adebayor left Arsenal last summer after falling out with supporters, and in City's 4-2 win at Eastlands in September he sprinted the length of the pitch to celebrate a goal in front of Arsenal fans.

His behaviour brought a suspended two-game ban and a £25,000 fine from the FA. Wenger has appealed to Arsenal fans to let the controversial incident lie when the Togo international returns to Emirates Stadium for the first time.

"I am stubborn, but not stupid - sometimes in the heat of the moment you can do things that are not right," Wenger said. "It is not only Adebayor, but also Patrick Vieira and Kolo Toure - we will welcome them all back.

"We have always had the same line of conduct - to respect what they have done for us and we want our fans to respect that as well and encourage our team. No matter what happened in the first game, it is important that we have a positive attitude and encourage our players.

"I believe more than ever tomorrow we will need the crowd to be behind us. I expect everybody to behave well."

During his weekly press conference on Friday, Wenger also rubbished recent reports linking the Gunners with a number of players, including Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh and Birmingham goalkeeper Joe Hart.

"We are at the moment not on the transfer market," he said. "What is important is that we focus on the challenge we have in front of us and finish well in our final three games. I read some transfer rumours in the newspapers and they are all wrong. All of them. So you do not even need to ask me one name - they are all wrong."

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