Arsene Wenger still sees David Ospina as a future club No 1 goalkeeper despite the arrival of Petr Cech, claiming the Colombian has been a victim in the wake of the former Chelsea stopper’s arrival (via Arsenal.com).
The Gunners have been searching for a consistent, reliable goalkeeper for countless years but have endured mixed results. Wojciech Szczesny appeared to be the future permanent shot stopper and held the position comfortably in his hands until a series of poor form mixed with some ill discipline threw his future into serious doubt.
David Ospina took his opportunity with open arms last campaign, and cemented the No 1 jersey heading into pre-season. However even his future was thrown into doubt with Arsenal’s marquee signing of the heavily experienced Cech, Szczesny consequently moved to A.S. Roma in a bid to resurrect his turbulent career.
Wenger still has immense faith in Ospina despite some of his mixed performances this season, feeling Cech’s arrival has been unfortunate for the Colombian ‘keeper and not reflective of his performances last season.
“I personally think he is world-class,” Wenger said (via Arsenal.com) “I did not take Petr Cech based on the performances of Ospina. Petr Cech was just an exceptional opportunity where it was difficult to say no. It was not because I was unhappy with Ospina.
“I was very happy with Ospina. Unfortunately, Ospina has been punished by that decision to sign Cech, but I rate him highly. True he had a bad season because he has that mistake [against Olympiacos] and when you do not have many opportunities and you have one bad catch, everyone is after you.
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“If you look at his performances from January to the end of last season, he saved us in many games. We are lucky because he has a top attitude, very intelligent, very brave, very quick. The difference with Cech is that he has less experience and his size. Cech is so tall that when he stretches he covers more surface.
“When you have two good players you have always a chance to make the right decision. I think Ospina can be the goalkeeper of the future here as well. With Petr Cech getting older, David may get more games as well.”
The Arsenal boss also outlined the importance of a goalkeeper, something that is often overlooked with attackers often taking the attention.
“I have written an article for our magazine on goalkeepers. It is a special position, it is an underrated and unfair position – a striker always gets more credit than a goalkeeper.
“A goalkeeper keeps you three times in a game, a striker scores a goal in a 1-0 win and even if he misses four chances the next day everyone speaks of the striker and forgets that the goalkeeper saved you the game.”
It is fair to say Cech has certainly received plenty of attention and praise since his arrival in north London, the same could not be said about Ospina however who despite enduring a solid run in the team and contributed to the Gunners season run-in during 2015, received little plaudits for his decent performances.
The issue is however, Ospina is not in the same bracket as Cech and it is difficult to see him pushing the experienced Czech international for the remainder of this season at least. Ospina will get some opportunities in Cup competitions and provide him a chance to prove his worth, but it’s certainly no bad thing to have world-class goalkeepers at Arsenal’s disposal.
The Colombian needs to keep his head down, work hard, learn from Cech and do his best to push the former Chelsea monster for a chance between the sticks throughout 2016. Goodness knows what will happen with Szczesny, Italy has been no walk in the park for him so far.