As the season wraps up with a 12th FA Cup win and third-place league finish, we look at how the players did over the course of 14/15.
Signed on the back of a promising World Cup campaign, most of us expected Ospina to challenge Wojciech Szczesny but without much chance of displacing him as number one. Following our Polish Cockney’s self-implosion at Southampton on New Year’s Day, Ospina has done little obviously wrong, and the statistics rank him up there with the best of the Premier League’s goalkeepers.
That said, he doesn’t push himself and take chances in pursuit of being the best, which is why the more critical among us see mistakes when he decides not to take a risk when the reward is stopping an almost certain goal. It’s also why the more subjective analysis will never rate him alongside the likes of Courtois or de Gea.
A solid but unspectacular season, but without any real prospect of hitting more dizzying heights.
Achieved his potential.
A player with all the raw attributes to make it at the top, Szczesny has been the architect of his own downfall this season. It would have been hard to imagine this time last year, as he was lining up to collect his Golden Glove award, that he would have lost his place between the sticks, but the bench is becoming an all too familiar location for the Pole.
Arsene Wenger is a notoriously forgiving manager, offering chance after chance, and most of us expected him to return Wojciech to the starting XI following a short, sharp shock.
Instead, Szczesny found himself playing in (and winning) an FA Cup final which last year he missed out on by being deemed the number one. In those 90 minutes, he demonstrated the skills which underpin his quality – his pin-point kicking under pressure and his aerial dominance.
He is still young in goalkeeping terms, and showed the levels he is capable of in games against Stoke and West Ham in particular, but he needs to start returning some of the club’s investment and fulfil his potential on a more regular and consistent basis.
Must try harder.