Who should be West Ham United’s first-choice goalkeeper next season? 

After another impressive season at the London Stadium, West Ham United will look to continue their European success as they embark on a season in the UEFA Europa Conference League. One of David Moyes’ most contentious decisions this summer will be who should start as the first-choice goalkeeper following Alphonse Areola’s permanent arrival. Łukasz Fabiański has been a mainstay for West Ham ever since his arrival in 2018, but could that soon change?

Alphonse Areola (top) and Łukasz Fabiański (bottom)

Areola joined the Hammers on a season-long loan from PSG last year with an option to buy him permanently this summer. West Ham exercised the option to buy him and a fee of £7.75m was paid to the Parisian giants. Fabiański started in all but one Premier League game last season, which coincided with Areola only making one Premier League appearance. The Frenchman was mainly used in the cup competitions and he predominately featured in the Europa League as West Ham progressed to the semi-finals. With Areola’s permanent arrival at West Ham, more regular first-team football could be on the horizon for the 29-year-old, but which player is better in between the sticks?

It is difficult to compare two players who had contrasting minutes last season and it could be debated that Areola had the easier games, with Fabiański playing the vast majority of Premier League matches. The latter was very good at saving penalties last season with the former Polish international saving 60% of shots from 12 yards, according to FBref. Additionally, Fabiański is very good at long balls from goal kicks, unlike Areola who is better at playing out from the ball, and those long balls can prove effective with the pace of Jarrod Bowen.

Areola only conceded 0.73 goals per 90 last season, according to FBref, while Fabiański conceded nearly double that number with 1.32. The former Real Madrid man also had the better save percentage out of the two as Areola had 76.9% while his teammate got 7.7% less. However, in Areola’s only Premier League game, a 1-0 loss to Manchester United, he had a save percentage of 66.7% while Fabiański got 3.2% more throughout an entire season. Areola is the better shot-stopper out of the two and he showed during his spell at Fulham in the 2020/21 season, that he can still perform well in an underwhelming side.

Overall, Fabiański may take up the role of the backup goalkeeper and cup goalkeeper next season as his age could start to take its toll. Areola is younger and despite the fact he may have played against worse opposition, he is still reasonably young and has a lot to offer. This is a good problem for West Ham to have as with many teams in the top flight, they do not have two goalkeepers who have justification to start over each other. But who do you think should be the first-choice goalkeeper for the Hammers next season? 

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