Even though David Ospina and Arsenal slumped to a disappointing 3-1 Champions League home defeat to Monaco in midweek, the Colombian shot-stopper, who has been in fine form recently, has done himself no harm in retaining the No. 1 jersey at the Emirates Stadium.
Ospina has come into the side after Wojciech Szczesny’s horror show in the Gunners’ 2-0 defeat to Southampton on New Year’s Day. Since then, the ex-Nice keeper, who signed for a £3m fee from the French club in July, has enjoyed an extended stay in the starting XI and hasn’t looked back. The 26-year-old has dominated his box, made some excellent saves, and proved to Arsene Wenger that he’s more than worthy of keeping Szczesny out of the side.
Ospina has recently admitted that his inclusion in the team of late, could have made life a little awkward between himself and the Polish goalkeeper. In an interview with the Evening Standard, the Colombia international said; “Unfortunately for us goalkeepers, that’s just the way it is.
“The rest of the players have got more possibilities of playing. But we do maintain a good relationship and we have to in the training sessions because otherwise it becomes difficult for the team and for the coach.”
Szczesny had been the regular Arsenal No. 1 since the 2011-2012 season, when he played all 38 of the Gunners’ Premier League games. Some may feel his omission from the first team is a little harsh on a player, who’s served the north London club pretty well over the last few years.
Having said that, the Poland international hasn’t covered himself in glory in recent months – as well as some shaky performances in the Arsenal goal – his error-filled display against the Saints, was followed up by being caught smoking in the changing room showers after the defeat, the Mirror reported. Wenger obviously didn’t take too kindly to the 24-year-old’s poor error of judgment, and Szczesny has yet to feature in the league since.
It’s still unclear whether the ex-Legia Warsaw keeper is still being punished by his spell on the sidelines, but nonetheless, Ospina has come in and proved to be a more than capable replacement for Szczesny. In the six Premier League games Ospina has featured in, he’s only conceded four goals, and kept an impressive three clean sheets in the process.
The Gunners may have an awful lot of work to do to turnaround their 3-1 deficit against Monaco in the Champions League, but they are still on course for one of the much-coveted top four places, and are still fighting strong in the FA Cup. With Wenger opting for his Polish stopper in the last two FA Cup games, it proves that both keepers are going to play vital roles in the way Arsenal’s season is going to pan out.
If Szczesny previously found life easy at Arsenal prior to Ospina’s arrival, then he’s certainly being kept on his toes now. For the first time in a long while, Wenger now has two top class goalkeepers at his disposal, and the commanding Colombian is doing no harm in keeping the No. 1 spot at the Emirates for the foreseeable future.