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Fabianski dedicates win to fans

ESPN staff
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Lukasz Fabianski saved two penalties to guide Arsenal into the final © Getty Images
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A safe passage into the FA Cup final proved more important than battling to secure Arsene Wenger's future, according to Arsenal's penalty shootout hero Lukasz Fabianski.

Stopper Fabianski denied Gary Caldwell and Jack Collison from the spot as Arsenal edged past gritty title holders Wigan 4-2 on penalties in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

Jordi Gomez's penalty put Wigan ahead just past the hour, before Per Mertesacker headed Arsenal's equaliser seven minutes from time. Boss Wenger admitted he would have feared for his Emirates Stadium future had Arsenal slipped up at the hands of the Championship outfit.

Poland goalkeeper Fabianski dedicated Arsenal's victory to the club's supporters ahead of the battle to vindicate Wenger's stewardship however.

"It's always nice to win, I don't know if it proves a point,'' said Fabianski, whose two penalty saves secured victory for Arsenal. "To be honest when you play you don't think about any of that, for me it's all about winning the game, focusing on the moment and the day.

"That's all we wanted, a win: we weren't paying any attention to any outside things. In the club we are all quite smart: we knew we had to win the game because by winning this game it just picks us up as players.

"It picks up the club and the fans, it gives us more belief that we can manage first of all to finish in the top four, and then hopefully to win the final. I think it's more for the fans, I think they have been waiting a long time and they show up every away game, win or lose they always follow. It was a great atmosphere today as well so it's great to do it for them.''

Fabianski's two penalty saves broke Wigan's stubborn will after Uwe Rosler's side had outmanoeuvred Arsenal for much of the contest.

Wenger's side remain without a trophy in nine years, and defeat at the hands of lower-league opponents just one step away from a major final would have proved unthinkable to Arsenal's supporters and board alike. The long-serving French boss is out of contract in the summer, but will be expected to seal a new deal provided Arsenal claim a top-four Barclays Premier League finish and also lift the FA Cup.

Fabianski is now out to retain his place in Arsenal's starting line-up, but admitted even his penalty heroics will not make that a foregone conclusion.

"I don't know: it's up to the boss but after my performance I hope that I can,'' said the 28-year-old. "I'm very happy that we managed to go through to the final, it's a really massive thing for us, especially after such a difficult game.

"We showed character and we're all pleased with the final result. I wasn't thinking I was just reacting. To be honest with you I did some homework but none of them were on my list, the guys who stepped up to take penalties.

"So I was just guessing, it was more intuition rather than my homework that I'd done. I was surprised that Gomez didn't step up as the first one. Then I saw Caldwell and Collison taking the pens, I was just guessing. I did look at youtube and things like that, but I didn't see anything of Collison or Caldwell on there.

"For sure you could sense it in the crowd after we conceded the goal, there were a really stressful few minutes as we tried to get back in the game. After we managed to score the equaliser you could sense the relief, and from the penalties you could see the crowd react.

"I'm just hoping this will be great news for us, but we have a lot of tough games coming up and we have to focus.''

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