With Poland facing Portugal in the UEFA Nations League tomorrow, their manager Jerzy Brzeczek will have a tough decision to make. Unlike most teams, the dilemma he faces is who he’ll put between the sticks for the tie. Whereas as most national teams have a nailed on number one, Poland called upon both Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski during the last international break.
With both having new roles at club level this season and one game apiece last time around, it will be interesting to see who Brzeczek picks. Fabianski moved to West Ham United from Swansea City in the summer for a sum of £8 million. His performances for the East London club have made this seem like a bargain, as alongside Marko Arnautovic he has been the club’s outstanding performer, even when times have been tough for the Hammers. According to the official Premier League site, he is tied with Joe Hart in making the most saves in the league this season, with 36 stops.
Szczesny may not have moved club, but with Gianluigi Buffon leaving Juventus for PSG, his role within the club has changed significantly. He’s seen off competition from new recruit Mattia Perin to play nine of Juventus’ 10 matches in all competitions this campaign. He’s won every competitive game he’s played this season, keeping five clean sheets.
With the pedigree of club they play for differing, Szczesny seems like the obvious choice to go in goal against the Portuguese. However, Fabianski’s showing this campaign means he must be considered for the role. In addition to his club form, he performed admirably against Italy, producing numerous brilliant saves. In the end it took an effort from the penalty spot to beat him, as Jorginho converted after Jakub Blaszczykowski had fouled Federico Chiesa in the box. Fabianski’s performance may not have been enough to earn himself a clean sheet, but he was rewarded with a point for his team.
The third choice goalkeeper for Poland this time around is Lukasz Skorupski. The 27-year-old who plays his club football for Bologna has two Poland caps to his name. Fabianski and Szczesny have earned 42 and 38 caps respectively.
The Portugal side Poland are facing will be without Cristiano Ronaldo. However, with the likes of Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, RB Leipzig’s Bruma and Sevilla striker Andre Silva in the team there will still be a significant threat to be dealt with by the chosen keeper and their defence.
Following the aforementioned draw with Italy, Poland sit second of the three teams in the UEFA Nations League’s League A Group 3. They are currently two points behind Portugal, who themselves beat Italy in their opening game in the competition. A win for Poland will see them top the group before they host Italy on Sunday night.
The two stoppers in question know each other well, having both been at Arsenal, as well as fighting for the starting spot for Poland’s national team in recent times. Whoever gets the go ahead to start in goal tomorrow night will know they’ll have to perform well to keep their place in the long run.
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