Wojciech Szczesny – seemingly channelling his inner Jens Lehmann – says he won’t feel bad condemning David Ospina to life on the bench at the Emirates stressing the Gunners new keeper is not his friend.
Claiming his relationship with the Colombian is different to that which he had with recently departed compatriot Lukasz Fabianski, the Pole admitted he has to be at the top of his gameif he’s to retain his status as Arsenal’s number 1.
“I feel confident of being No1 but I know I can’t let myself play a few bad games,” he told Polish press ahead of his country’s Euro 2016 qualifier with Gibraltar.
“I know Ospina’s ambitions don’t end at sitting on the bench and clapping his hands while watching me play.
“He is a nice guy. In a sporting sense, he is a suitable player at a suitable club. But it’s easier for me just in one aspect: I do not feel sorry for him. I do not think ‘he’s my friend’ as I thought about Fabian [Fabianski]. I was convinced Lukasz deserved to play but not at my expense.”
Last season Szczesny won the Premier League’s Golden Glove award for keeping more clean sheets than any other keeper in the league. He’s started this season with two in the Champions league but has conceded in each of the Gunners opening three domestic fixtures.
Explaining that the quality of strikers available to clubs up and down the country, he joked that repeating the feat could be difficult.
“When I look at the strikers in the Premier League I wonder when the first one [clean sheet] will be. After three games it wasn’t possible. The power of our opponents is amazing, this season everything can happen.”
Of the award itself, he added. “The trophy is heavy, it’s five or six pounds. I was expecting an actual golden glove but it’s more of a hand flying through the air to save the ball. I’ve got it at home where it stands all shiny, so when I have a bad day I just look at it and immediately feel better.”
Szczesny also cast his eye over Arsenal’s upcoming Champions League challenge claiming the group, featuring Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray and Anderlecht, is not the most intimidating.
“It’s not the easiest group, but nor is it the strongest. We have a real chance of progressing and that’s key. We’ve got Dortmund for the third time in four years, it’s like we’re drawn together like magnets. The atmosphere at their ground is in the top three I’ve ever experienced.
“They don’t have Robert Lewandowski anymore though…and quite frankly, I don’t like playing against him. He’s gone to Bayern Munich and they’ll only benefit from having him. There’s not a team in the world he wouldn’t improve.”