An accident waiting to happen.
That’s certainly the feeling of many Gooners while watching David Ospina patrolling the Arsenal area.
Lots has been said and written in recent weeks about the contest for our number one jersey, with the Colombian setting up residence between the sticks at the expense of his Polish colleague who is now suffering a spell on the sidelines.
Recent performances have not been favourable for the shorter of our two main keepers, and we’ve certainly been pretty clear here and here about why he should be rejected in favour of our Polish cockney. Despite a fairly unremarkable performance against Manchester United, is it possible for our de facto number one to retain his place in the side?
Arsene Wenger is notoriously loyal to his incumbent keeper – it is widely reported to have taken a significant lapse in judgement from Wojciech before he was replaced – but there are two new factors to consider here:
AN EXPERT OPINION
Bob Wilson recently came out in the press in support of Szczesny, ostensibly in response to rumours around our signing Petr Cech (never going to happen when we have two keepers not even close to their peak) but also touching upon the quality and potential of our number one:
“From the time Wojciech got into the Arsenal first team there were a lot who asked if he was good enough and I thought this boy has the potential to really be a solid, outstanding goalkeeper. I still believe that because he is, for his position, still relatively young.”
However, he also issued some words of warning that presumably are intended as a kick up the backside, and potentially a platform which could allow the Pole to springboard back into the first team:
“I would say to him…you need to dedicate yourself to being the best you can be, to the exclusion of a lot of other things in your life. My message to Wojciech would be ‘come on, prove how good you can be.'”
Certainly Arsene Wenger agrees with the goalkeeping legend, based on comments, and from Szczesny’s point of view, when a man as legendary as Bob Wilson is so firmly in your corner, it’s hard to see him being left out of the team for any length of time.
Of course, this weekend’s game is meaningful for another reason too…
HORSES FOR COURSES
Back in December, Arsenal had a scare in the reverse fixture of the one they face this weekend.
West Ham bombarded the Arsenal box in search of an equaliser, but Szczesny’s decisiveness and aerial dominance translated into a Man of the Match performance and secured a very valuable three points.
If Arsene Wenger was ever planning to reinstate the Pole in goal, then short of waiting for Ospina to slip up catastrophically, it would surely be against this opposition which has already demonstrated its threat.
In truth, it’s hard to see Arsene Wenger making changes without Ospina dropping a clanger – he is notoriously reluctant to switch between his keepers’ acknowledged positions as league and cup keepers without serious provocation.
Szczesny clearly has the potential to be a great keeper, and he has time on his side.
The question is if Arsene will back down before this “lesson” costs us in points or prizes.
You could argue, given Ospina’s poor performance against Monaco, that it has already done so.
Here at Cannon Towers, most of us are in agreement that we want Szczesny reinstated, but unfortunately most of us are also in agreement that it is unlikely to happen until it’s too late.
We can hope though.