With yet another UEFA Champions League tie against Bayern Munich coming on Tuesday it’ll be expected that Arsene Wenger will select David Ospina in goal but should this be the case more often?
In recent weeks Arsenal’s number one goalkeeper Petr Cech has been scrutinised by Arsenal fans after some questionable performances, most notably against his former club Chelsea. Since moving across London to The Emirates there’s no doubt that Cech has played well and definitely saved Arsenal points but he also seems to make individual mistakes way too often.
One of these mistakes that keeps happening is his ability to cover his near post which has been clear numerous times since it first happened on his dreadful debut against West Ham last season. But with this mistake along with others coming time after time it’s clear to see Arsenal fan’s frustration with the former Chelsea man.
If you wanted a game for Cech to be at his best it would probably have been for the return fixture at Chelsea but this wasn’t the case. Almost everything went wrong for the 4 time Premier League winner that day along with the whole Arsenal team. From not reacting quickly enough for the first goal to his distribution which gifted former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas a goal.
It’ll also fair to say at times to say that the defence doesn’t help Cech out enough rather than stick all the blame on him. Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Liverpool was a clear example of this as with every goal Liverpool exploited out of position defenders.
However, most would say that having such an experienced man starting regularly in the Gunners goal isn’t such a bad thing as he currently has eight clean sheets this season in the Premier League. It’s been made clear since his arrival that Cech will be Arsenal’s number one keeper and play the majority of Premier League games so why should that change now? He hasn’t had a terrible season leaving Arsenal stranded in the bottom half of the table so why should fans by angry?
Petr Cech is almost the goalkeeper Arsenal have been screaming out for since Jens Lehmann parted ways with the club in 2008. An experienced, outstanding goalkeeper who knows what it takes to win trophies, which Cech definitely knows how to do having won numerous Premier Leagues, F.A. Cups, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. With all these trophies behind him surely this also gives the defence in front of him confidence that he can save the day as well as maybe even coach them on the pitch to become better defenders. So maybe the Arsenal fans should be patient, as maybe like Edwin Van Der Sar, Cech will get better with age.
On the other hand, Arsenal’s deputy to Cech, David Ospina has had some impressive games when called upon this season. Much like each of his seasons at Arsenal, the Columbian has been second in command again but should he finally get some regular game time in the Premier League. At first people would have thought that the only Champions League winner in the squad would be a regular in the competition but Ospina has to play some time doesn’t he?
With Ospina in goal Arsenal may lack the leadership that Cech possesses. But playing mostly in the Champions League Ospina has managed to contribute very solid performances, arguably even in the 5-1 thrashing at Bayern Munich where he pulled off a number of good saves. The Columbian’s most memorable performance this season was probably in Arsenal’s 1-1 away draw with PSG where despite conceding in the first minute, he was able to keep the score down for Arsenal to rescue a vital point in Paris.
Furthermore, one aspect of Ospina’s game that is noticeably better than Cech’s is his reactions which seem to be on display every time he plays. With Cech it’s clear to see that he is still a quality keeper but there are times where his reactions are just not good enough. Take yesterday’s game for instance, Roberto Firmino’s goal he could have maybe anticipated the ball would reach the back stick instead of going to ground so early.
Similarly to Cech, Ospina isn’t helped by the Arsenal back four all the time but he seems to make less errors than the Czech now. Since that unforgiveable dropped ball which resulted in a goal against Olympiacos in last year’s Champions League the 28-year-old has been quite consistent with his performances. Since then he’s kept 8 clean sheets in 19 games for Arsenal which reads better than Cech’s record this season which is 8 clean sheets in 26 games.
So for now it seems that Ospina may just be the better option to be starting regularly but what about next season?
In the summer Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny returns from his from loan from Roma wanting first team football. In his two years away from The Emirates Szczesny has cemented himself as Roma’s number one goalkeeper putting in consistent performances. Currently topping the Serie A in terms of clean sheets (11) it wouldn’t be crazy to think he could be Arsenal’s number one next season if he decides to stay. But much like everything at Arsenal next season nothing is certain and people can only wait to see how this pans out.