Wenger delighted by Fabianski display

Arsenal recorded their first European away win in a year as they

beat Partizan 3-1 in Serbia to maintain a 100% start in Champions

League Group H on Tuesday night. After surviving a power failure

which forced the team to change in the dark and an intense

atmosphere during the opening exchanges, the Gunners, who had six

changes from the side beaten by West Brom at home on Saturday, went

ahead on 15 minutes through Andrey Arshavin. However, after wasting

several more chances, the visitors were made to pay when

Brazil-born striker Cleo levelled from the penalty spot after a

handball by Denilson. Partizan then had Marko Jovanovic sent off

for hauling down Marouane Chamakh on 55 minutes, but Arshavin

missed his penalty. However, Moroccan striker Chamakh and Sebastien

Squillaci gave Arsenal a two-goal cushion heading into the closing

minutes. It could, though, have been a tense finish but for the

intervention of Fabianski – deputising for the injured Manuel

Almunia – as the Poland international first saved a penalty from

Cleo and then capped a confident display with another acrobatic

stop from Ivica Iliev in stoppage time. Wenger has long championed

Fabianski’s cause, despite a number of blunders, and felt tonight’s

display proved his faith justified. “Fabianski had a good game, we

have seen the player tonight who we see in training. He had a

faultless game,” said the Arsenal boss. “I know it is in him. He

got it out in the game tonight and hopefully that will give him the

belief and confidence he needs.” The Gunners boss added: “I am

confident he will come out as a great ‘keeper, I have always said

that. “We have to keep confidence in him and he needs to gain

experience from games like this.” Fabianski could be in line to

play against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Wenger said: “At

the moment Almunia is injured, we will have to see how his injury

goes, but at the moment it is too early to say.” Wenger felt his

side, missing key men like captain Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott,

Robin van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen, coped well with the early

onslaught. “Partizan gave us the game we expected – full of

commitment, full of power on every break,” he said. “We had a lot

of the ball and created a lot of chances. “However, we could not

kill the game off and then we were always under threat. “They came

back with the penalty, afterwards we needed to keep the pace high

and when we got the second goal, I thought we looked comfortable.”

Wenger added: “For us it was important to win straight away after a

big disappointment against West Brom. “It puts us in a good

position confidence-wise, Sunday is a big, big game for us. “I

believe we will go there with a desire to do extremely well.” There

was a chance the match would not have gone ahead if the floodlights

had failed. Wenger said: “I thought it would be terrible to go home

and not play. “I encouraged UEFA when they asked me ‘do you want to

play even if one corner is off?,’ I said ‘yes, as long as the

referee is happy with it’. “Overall it was acceptable.” Partizan

have now lost both of their matches, and look set for a battle with

Braga for the Europa League place. Coach Alexandar Stanojevic said:

“The atmosphere during and after the match from our supporters

tells us they were satisfied and we played a good game. “However,

when we got the red card it was difficult because it is tough

enough to play against Arsenal when you have 11, but when you have

10, it is nearly impossible. “We have to admit, though, that

Arsenal were a better team, so we have to go on.”