Does This West Ham United Keeper Have What It Takes To Fill In During Fabianski’s Injury Absence?

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Roberto goalkeeper of West Ham fails to save a penalty in the shoot out during the Pre-Season Friendly match between West Ham United and Athletic Bilbao at the Olympic Stadium on August 03, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

West Ham United’s first-choice goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański could be out of action for up to three months after sustaining a torn thigh muscle against Bournemouth before the international break. It is expected that their new summer arrival, Roberto will fill in as the primary shot-stopper at the London Stadium for the remainder of this calendar year.

Roberto’s Incredible Career In European Football

The Spanish custodian is a vastly experienced keeper who has played for teams such as Atletico Madrid, Benfica, Olympiacos and Malaga during his illustrious career. He is still highly regarded across Europe for his accomplishments in Portugal, Greece and Spain.

Since joining the Hammers from Espanyol earlier this summer, Roberto has gone on to make four appearances for Manuel Pellegrini’s side this term, conceding seven goals while securing one clean sheet across all competitions.

The Spaniard’s Shortcomings At The English Capital

The Spanish keeper has to find a way to make a few stops for West Ham as he cannot continue to ship in goals at the back. His ball-distribution has also got a lot of room for improvement. Roberto has a pass success rate of 47.7% and 45.7% during his past two seasons at Malaga and Espanyol respectively (stats via whoscored). However, his pass success percentage has dropped to 37% in the Premier League this season which is not good enough for a top-flight goalkeeper.

What Does The Former Malaga Talent Offer On The Field?

Roberto boasts quick reflexes and can make some blockbuster dives at the back. He can pull off a few world-class saves in between the sticks. The Spanish goalie tends to position himself in the correct areas, which enables him to intercept the ball for his team. However, his distribution can be woeful at times inside his own half that makes him a liability at times when West Ham are trying to play the ball out from the back.

Can Roberto Fill The Void Left By Fabianski’s Latest Injury Setback? 

Roberto is also not the best handler of the ball which could heap more pressure on the Hammers centre-backs when they are trying to defend the opposition set-pieces. For now, it doesn’t seem like the Spaniard will be able to perform well during Fabiaski’s absence.

However, this could be Roberto’s last chance to shine under the top-flight spotlight so he will be desperate to do well for his new employers in the coming weeks when the fixtures come thick and fast across all fronts. Maybe Roberto should look at Adrian’s impact on Liverpool’s season during Alisson Becker’s absence to drive inspiration for his upcoming challenges in a West Ham shirt.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.