There are indications from reports making the rounds that Arsene Wenger has decided to continue with David Ospina in goal when Arsenal takes on Stoke City in the Premier League on Sunday. The Colombian international was in goal for the FA Cup win over Hull City at the Emirates last week. And Arsene Wenger has indicated that the former Nice of France shot stopper will remain in the side.
Wojciech Szczesny was not on top of his game against Southampton, and his errors gifted two goals to the Saints in the defeat on New Year’s Day. Afterwards the manager confirmed that the Pole would not play a part in the next match.
His uncouth behaviour in the dressing room shower at the St Mary’s when he smoked after the match did not go down with the manager. He was fined, and subsequently apologised. However, it is thought that his punishment goes beyond being fined, he is now expected to sit out the match against Mark Hughes’ Stoke City.
This is not the first time that Arsene Wenger would have decided to take a drastic step to drop his first choice goalkeeper.
When you go back to the 2012/2013 season, in the month of March, 2013 at the Allianz Arena, in a Champions League second round tie, Arsene Wenger did what few expected at the time when he dropped Wojciech Szczesny to the bench against Bayern Munich. Instead, Lukas Fabianski who had not played for months because of injury was installed as the goalkeeper for the day. Arsenal came away with a 2-0 win on the day, but a message was sent to the squad, and that performance stood Arsenal in good stead as they rode on the wave of that result to pip North London rivals Tottenham Hotspurs to a top four place.
David Ospina was largely untested in the tie against Hull City, and you would not know what to expect when he plays, although he showed glimpses of his potential in the game against Galatasaray last October, when he made series of top class saves.
However, others would quickly point to fears of his height and Stoke aerial prowess, plus that it would not be the best decision for the manager to bring in the Colombian for such a match as they can exploit his relative inexperience in the league to put in long balls into the area. Though to his credit there is agility about him which means he can deal with such situations without much fuss.
Arsene Wenger mentioned in his press conference on Friday that he has three top class goalkeepers that he can call on, and that competitions amongst them is high. Perhaps, he has decided to settle for the safe hands of David Ospina. The Colombian has a way of bringing calm to the backline, and he will not display the level of disrespect that Wojciech Szczesny shows to his opponent by trying to dribble his way out of the box, which has resulted in him almost caught in possession on several occasions.
Here is hoping that David Ospina turns out to be a consistent goalkeeper in he turns out against Stoke City on Sunday.