The Poland international has been ruled out for a couple of months after picking up an injury against Bournemouth last time out, and BBC pundit Whelan believes things will now become ‘really tough’ for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
“It’s a devastating blow because Fabianski has been outstanding for West Ham,” he told Football Insider. “It’s also devastating because he has that communication and trust with the defenders.
“To lose your main keeper who is proven at the highest level is huge. It’s not just stopping goals – which he is obviously very good at – but the communication he provides behind the back four. The goalkeeper and defence is a big partnership. There is a trust there. To lose a goalkeeper of Fabianski’s quality for a long time is going to be really tough for them.”
There’s no doubt that losing the former Swansea City star is a big problem for Pellegrini moving forward. He brought in two free agent goalkeepers this summer, but neither of them were first choice for their previous clubs and so haven’t played much regular football in recent times. Roberto is going to be starting, but he is obviously a downgrade on Fabianski. That’s no real disrespect to him, it’s just that the Pole is one of the finest ‘keepers in the top flight. The statistics show that. As per WhoScored.com, the 34-year-old is averaging 2.9 saves per game this season, with 1.6 of them coming within the penalty area. That shows his dynamic shot-saving ability, something which separates him from some of the division’s other ‘keepers. Roberto will come in and hopefully do a decent job but, as Whelan says, the loss of Fabianski and the relationship he has with the Hammers defenders will be a real blow for the Irons moving forward.