The season is over, but who were the heroes and villains of Arsenal’s campaign?
We’ve decided it’d only be fair to go through the squad and have a look at who let us down or who really gave us moments to remember during a hit-and-miss campaign.
First up: the goalkeepers.
Petr Čech: B
When the first rumours appeared that we might sign Čech, I refused to believe them because it sounded too good. Čech was, and still is, one of those goalkeepers that everyone rates and wouldn’t mind in their team. That assumption was proven right this season.
He was one of the best and most consistent players in our team throughout the season and definitely one of the best signings made last summer in the whole league. The numbers speak for themselves – Čech won the Golden Glove in the Premier League by keeping 16 clean sheets in 34 appearances. He was injured for most of the March and I believe that number would be even higher.
His first match was a win against Chelsea in Community Shield which really was an impressive way to start his Arsenal career.
In December, he broke a record for most clean sheets kept in Premier League, 170. Petr had some amazing performances throughout the season, and was named player of the month in January.
An injury (and Wenger’s persistence with Ospina) kept him out for most of the March but he came back in April and gave even more great performances.
His reactions in goal kept us in more than a few matches and both fans and players felt much more calm knowing he’s between the posts. And that calmness he brought was sometimes more important than his great keeping skills. Players often said that he was the one motivating them in the changing room, and you could see him shout directions while on the pitch as well.
David Ospina: C-
Ah Ospina, very unpopular player among Arsenal fans. Is it for a good reason? Well, I’d give a very diplomatic “sometimes”. Wenger signed David Ospina after a very good performance for Colombia at World Cup in 2014, and we all saw that. We even saw some glimpses of that during this season as well, but for most of the time he got to play, we were all more or less shouting “FFS!”
It seems that originally Wenger had a plan to use Čech in the league and Ospina in Europe and in cups, which seems very reasonable and logical. Well, the first match Ospina played in 2015/16 was an “easy trip” to Dinamo Zagreb, weakest team in our Champions League group. We all know how that ended (I will never forget it myself). After that he performed really well in a win against Tottenham (lol, Tottenham) in the Capital One Cup, but then came Olympiacos in UCL and 3 goals in his net.
After that, Wenger decided to go with Čech in Europe and used Ospina only in cups, which we managed to drop out of way too soon. Ospina’s time to shine came in March when Čech was injured, and he did okay, no matter what some say. He kept 3 clean sheets in 6 matches, which is really not bad, and I honestly doubt Čech would keep a clean sheet against Barcelona in Champions League. Wenger kept him in the line up even when Čech got better, but his confidence in him came to an end after he let 3 in against West Ham.
All in all, Ospina is a decent substitute goal keeper who might get better with more chances, but doubt he is comfortable sitting on bench and waiting for his chance, and I’m not sure we’ll be doing a season review for him next season.