Arsenal may have to call upon David Ospina when they play Tottenham on Saturday, but would he really be any worse than Petr Cech at the moment?
It’s telling that Cech’s injury against Everton last weekend wasn’t greeted with the usual dread.
The loss of a first choice keeper should hurt any club, but at Arsenal this season, it might not be such a bad thing.
Cech occasionally shows signs of class but his decline from top keeper to fading force has been quicker than we could have predicted.
He’s made four goal-costing errors this season, which is more than any other player in the Premier League. That’s very concerning for a player of Cech’s experience and reputation.
It’s the sort of form that warrants a player being dropped from the side.
The problem Arsenal have is that without Cech, it’ll be David Ospina instead.
Arsene Wenger, of course, has complete faith in the Colombian.
In his pre-Tottenham press conference, he said: “I have no problem with [selecting Ospina]. David Ospina or Petr Cech: I will make that decision tomorrow.”
“I will not take any risk if he’s not 100 per cent fit, for sure, because I have full confidence in David Ospina.”
That faith isn’t shared by the fans, who have seen their fair share of Ospina clangers since he joined the club in 2014.
This isn’t a pair of safe hands coming in to steady the ship. This is a player just as liable to drop the ball in his own net as he is to pull have an outstanding reflex save.
That’s the thing about Ospina. He’s agile and quick off his line, so he looks great when shots are flying at him.
He might be even better than Cech now in that department.
Cech is beginning to let in shots that, a year ago, he would have saved. His ability to get down and make those amazing saves has really declined.
But what has always held Ospina back, apart from his errors, is his lack of height and ability to command his penalty area.
He’s not going to come out and claim a high ball to take the pressure off his defence. He’s more likely to run out, attempt to punch it and miss entirely.
That sort of goalkeeping can make a defence jittery. The last thing we’d want in a North London derby is a nervous back line that isn’t sure what their keeper is going to do next.
At the same time, it could be an opportunity to take Cech out the spotlight.
Another error in a high-profile game could be very damaging for Cech’s confidence, whereas it’d be expected from Ospina. As harsh as it sounds, the Colombian could be the fall guy.
Neither keeper is reliable at the moment, but Cech possesses more quality. He should remain number one until the end of the season.
It just might be worth giving him a break to get his head right. If we do, Ospina is our only choice.