Arsenal v Hull City - FA Cup Final

Lukasz Fabianski signs four-year deal with Swansea City

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In his quest for first-team soccer, Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski will finally move on from the Emirates.

The 29-year-old Polish international has been with the Gunners since 2007 but has made just 32 Premier League appearances in seven years and 78 in total. Out of contract at the end of June, Fabianski has signed for Swansea as a free agent on a four-year contract.

After winning, and playing in, the FA Cup final in what turned out to be his last game for Arsenal against Hull City at Wembley earlier this month, Fabianski leaves Arsenal on a high as his intention was always to run down his contract and seek a club which would allow him to be the first-choice ‘keeper.

Fabianski is fed up of playing second fiddle and ready to be the main man.

Speaking to Swansea’s website, Fabianski was delighted to be signing for the Welsh outfit and hailed their style of play.

“I am very happy with the move, the decision and the club,’’ Fabianski said. “I’m very excited for the coming season and the coming years. It will be a big honor to represent Swansea City. Everyone interested in football knows that Swansea is a proper football club. The way they play football is nice to watch and they have always been an exciting team.

The main reason Fabianski is leaving a Champions League team for a side that has been in the PL for just three seasons is, of course, to give himself the chance to play every game. You can’t blame him.

“If I’m completely honest, the main reason I came to Swansea was because I want to be the number one goalkeeper,’’ Fabianski said. “I want to play week-in, week-out. It’s going to be a real fight, but I’m not afraid of that. Competition is always good, so I think everyone will take positives from that.”

This is a really good bit of business for Swansea as Fabianski has put in some great displays for the Gunners this season and Arsene Wenger was reluctant to let the Polish stopper leave, but understood his desire to snag a club where he would start every week.

Seven years is a long-time to be a No. 2 but he proved his worth time and time again for Arsenal, with Fabianski the penalty-shootout hero in Arsenal’s FA Cup semifinal win over Wigan Athletic en route to their first piece of silverware in nine years. Swansea’s Dutch international ‘keeper Michel Vorm will provide tough competition for Fabianski, yet you have to wonder whether he’s already been told that he is the new No.1 at Swansea.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.