David Ospina was dropped rather than injured ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League clash against CSKA according to a report in today’s Daily Mil.
Arsene Wenger needed to drop the calamity keeper and, true to his form with previous under-performing players, Ospina dutifully picked up a small injury in training.
Except he probably didn’t.
Speaking to the press after the final training session prior to the match, Wenger said he had everybody available and made no mention of a possible problem for Ospina.
The official line is that he hurt his ankle in that final training session.
After the game against CSKA ,Wenger said that Ospina had a scan and would now be out for up to three weeks.
Three weeks tends to be the standard time all players are out injured at Arsenal, bearing no relation to reality.
Sami Mokbel, who has a decent track record when it comes to obtaining information from Arsenal, writes, “ON A critical night for Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager played it safe. The club’s recognised Europa League goalkeeper David Ospina missed out and usual No 1 Petr Cech took his place. The official line from Arsenal was that Ospina had suffered an ankle injury in the final training session before last night’s clash. Mysteriously, though, when asked after that training session whether he had a fully-fit squad available for the match against CSKA Moscow, Wenger replied: ‘We basically have everybody available.’ The early indications on Wednesday were that Ospina felt he was fit to play.
“Playing Cech last night was testament to the huge significance that now rests on the competition for Wenger, not only in terms of Champions League qualification but for his future at the club.
“Win the Europa League and he will almost certainly be given the chance to see out the final 12 months of his contract, despite fan unrest. Another season without Champions League football? Then Wenger’s future will come under serious scrutiny when his position is reviewed in the summer.”
Mokbel seems to believe that the Colombian was dropped rather than really injured, although Wenger’s extra details after the match goes against his usual form when he’s ‘injured’ a player simply to drop them.
Either way, Ospina will probably not be seen much between now and the end of the season and I’m ok with that.