By Adefunmiloye Alani

15th Oct, 2021 | 12:45pm

Fabianski likely to retain place in West Ham XI due to Areola's penchant for punching ball

Lukasz Fabianski has been in goal for all of West Ham United’s league games in 2021-22 despite the summer arrival of Alphonse Areola.

The France international joined the Hammers on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, and Roshane Thomas reckons he has continued playing second fiddle to the ex-Poland international, 36, as a result of one major weakness.

Writing in The Athletic mailbag on the website when asked to pick his best starting XI, he said: “My favoured formation is 4-2-3-1, with a starting XI of Fabianski, Coufal, Diop, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice (c), Soucek, Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals, Antonio.

“Many believe Paris Saint-Germain loanee Alphonse Areola should replace Lukasz Fabianski, but the former has a penchant for punching the ball when dealing with crosses and set pieces.

“Areola made 26 punches in the Premier League last season, the most by any goalkeeper in the division, while on loan at a struggling Fulham side who ended up relegated. Fabianski only punched nine times despite playing just one game fewer than the Frenchman’s 36.”

Worry.

Fabianski often had to deal with injuries and a dip in form last term, so West Ham needed to bring in someone capable of replacing him in the long term.

However, the Pole has been in fine form this term and is not looking to give up his starting berth anytime soon.

Areola often punched the ball despite not being under pressure while at Fulham, and his lack of confidence at catching the ball from set-pieces and crosses is definitely hindering him from giving the Hammers first-choice a run for his money.

The obvious weakness is not helping matters, and with Fabianski now inspired more than ever to always deliver, Areola could continue to be restricted to Cup and Europa League games.

He has better distribution than Fabianski’s, but those shortcomings at set-pieces would likely see the former Arsenal man retain his place in David Moyes’ XI for the time being.

The Hammers are doing fairly well so far, and with their current first-choice goalie still delivering, there is no need to ring the changes.

In other West Ham news, Lingard has named the Hammers player who was on his case in training.

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