Arsene Wenger is expected to call on his third choice goalkeeper Damian Martinez in the Champions League clash against Anderlecht on Wednesday. The 22 year old Argentine comes into the team following the injury to second choice goalkeeper David Ospina, and first choice, Wojciech Szczensy’s suspension for been sent off against Galatasaray in the last round of matches.
The 6ft 4in Damian Martinez was only promoted to the first team squad this season after spending the last few seasons on the fringes of the team, and his yet to make a competitive appearance for Arsenal, but that is expected to change in Belgium on Wednesday. He spent last season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.
As he makes the step up to become the third goalkeeper that Arsenal would field in the season’s Champions League. The question now is what are his future prospects in the Arsenal team? Can he push both Wojciech Szczency and David Ospina for the first team shirt, and what are his chances of doing ‘an Manuel Almunia?’
For starters, the Argentine showed in his appearance during preseason that he is not fazed by what is in front on him, although preseason is a different proposition when compared to a competitive match, he no doubt has the wherewithal to seize this opportunity he would be afforded by his appearance on Wednesday to stake a claim to make more appearance for the first team.
However, Damian Martinez could well pull off all the saves that would pave the way for Arsenal to truimph against Anderlecht, but a moment of brilliance might not be enough to earn the trust of Arsene Wenger for a continuous flow in the team. For reasons that bother on injury and suspension, he would not have been involved, but all the same it is an opportunity for him to write his name into Arsenal folklore on Wednesday. Even though, Arsene Wenger has an antecedent for sticking to the hierarchy of his players.
At the height of the rivalry between Manuel Almunia and Jens Lehmann, it was only the duo that battled for the right to be first choice, as their was no third party in the picture, although Wojciech Szczency rose to usurp both Manual Almunia and Lukas Fabianski to become first choice when he made his first team debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford in December, 2010., it would take something extraordinary for Damian Martinez to make such a huge step up in rank at the club, but with the amount of injuries at the club, who is to say that he would not have more opportunities to feature as a first choice in the coming months, but whether sparingly or consistently only time would tell.