Wenger reveals team news for Atletico clash – Ospina to start

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan is part of Arsenal’s squad for tomorrow night’s Europa League semi-final second-leg showdown with Atletico Madrid.

The Armenia international seemed to pick up a knock to his knee after scoring in the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday but was pictured training this morning and boarded the plane.

Arsene Wenger also confirmed in his pre-game press conference on Wednesday that David Ospina will start the game between the posts.

Fresh from his debut at Old Trafford, Konstantinos Mavropanos has also travelled to the Spanish capital, as has fellow youngster Eddie Nketiah.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is cup-tied and Santi Cazorla and Mohamed Elneny are injured, but that aside we’re not too shabby on the fitness front.

On the challenge that lies ahead, he added: “It will be a game where we know exactly what to do. Our way to behave is clear. That is an advantage sometimes.”

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arsenal74
arsenal74
2 years ago

Is too much to ask to play the one goalkeeper who has a neck and long hands that can actually reach the ball ? see Fellaini’s goal from the weekend

Make Arsenal Great Again
Make Arsenal Great Again
2 years ago
Reply to  arsenal74

It’s all about how a goalkeeper positions himself. Positioning is more important than height for a goalie in my humble opinion

PFo
PFo
2 years ago

Yes, and Ospina’s positioning and reactions were poor for Fellaini’s goal (Adrian Clarke pointed out as much on the Breakdown). He jumped off his wrong foot. DDG or Oblak or Courtois tip that away every day of the week.

Jimbo Jones
Jimbo Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  PFo

Problem is cech is not DDG and he is not any better than our Dave anymore. It’s a coin toss and either of them could throw it in to their own net at any moment

Martin
Martin
2 years ago

To a point that is true but positional sense is just one of the many weaknesses of Ospina. He hasn’t the presence or the reach and is error prone. Cech might not be perfect but he is a class above him and no doubt he would have saved Fellaini’s Goal on Sunday. I admire loyalty but Wenger but I hope this decision will not backfire on him. I’m amazed judging by the thumbs down that so may can’t see this

Vonnie
Vonnie
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin

Cech has cost us about ten points in the league this season by being awful, and his distribution is really poor, but lets keep bashing Ospina. I’m amazed by the number of thumbs up that so many can’t see this.

Gooooooonnnnnnnnaaaaaaa
Gooooooonnnnnnnnaaaaaaa
2 years ago
Reply to  arsenal74

So stupid, doesn’t Wenger realize the wrongly placed loyalty is what lost him his job?

SharpasFc
SharpasFc
2 years ago

No….and even if he did he wouldn’t have changed a thing…that why I like him. Pretty sure the new guy whoever that is won’t be like that…and in time, that may be why I like him.

Gooooooonnnnnnnnaaaaaaa
Gooooooonnnnnnnnaaaaaaa
2 years ago
Reply to  SharpasFc

So stupid, Cech is clearly a better GK, I dont care about his promise to ospina, he was given chances and I can’t remember a game where he really stood out this season. In a second leg of a European cup semi final when we absolutely need to keep a clean sheet and have had a horrible record away from home, it makes sense to play your strongest side to give the team the best chance of succeeding. If idiot fans who’ve been utterly disrespectful to Wenger wanna downvote me now just because he’s leaving – go ahead. And btw,… Read more »

Gooooooonnnnnnnnaaaaaaa
Gooooooonnnnnnnnaaaaaaa
2 years ago

I said *wrongly placed loyalty* not loyalty. I love how loyal Wenger is, and I love the person he is, was arguing that with a friend who supports inter and was bragging about Mourinho. In the FA Cup final, the loyalty in fabianski almost cost us our first trophy in god knows how long, and ospina hasn’t done anything to merit the chance. Costa is gonna be starting tofay, we’ll need someone who can come out for long balls and corners – and ospina simply can’t do that. On the other hand, he does have quicker reflexes but even at… Read more »

Gbenga
Gbenga
2 years ago

Are you sure you are from this earth?

Gereoma
Gereoma
2 years ago
Reply to  arsenal74

Arsene is a very fixated coach. Lacca ( I know I’ll be destroyed for this) was the worst player on the pitch the first leg. His goal masked the facts. He could have scored up to 3goals if he had stayed on the shoulders of those defenders. He goes about aimlessly contesting balls he should’nt and not always there in counter attacks talkless of initiating them, yet Wenger continues to see him as a top9. Lacca is at best a wide man who can also score. Welbeck may not be sharp, but the way he bully’s defenders and on their… Read more »

Ozenal
Ozenal
2 years ago
Reply to  Gereoma

No says that Firmino should play out wide.

I think it depends on the balance with his wide partners. Unfortunately we don’t really have the personnel to play any distinct system.

Michael Bolton Wanderers
Michael Bolton Wanderers
2 years ago

I can’t understand why ospina will start if cech is available. Unhappy.

Gbenga
Gbenga
2 years ago

You are not happy Ospina is in goal? Am happy his in goal

occamshatchet
occamshatchet
2 years ago

I get that Ospina doesn’t inspire a lot of faith, but I’m not sure Cech is much better right now. I can’t get too bothered by which one starts at this point, to be honest.

Putney
Putney
2 years ago
Reply to  occamshatchet

Yeah, anyone who claims that Cech inspires more confidence after the season he’s had can’t have watched that many games.

Make Arsenal Great Again
Make Arsenal Great Again
2 years ago
Reply to  occamshatchet

Honestly, I’m more confident in Matt Marcy than either Ospina or Cech

Martin
Martin
2 years ago

Macey

jack jack jack
jack jack jack
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin

Marcy as well to be honest

Btw
Btw
2 years ago
Reply to  jack jack jack

Marcy Darcy

Anonymarse
Anonymarse
2 years ago
Reply to  occamshatchet

Ospina did pretty well last time

Merteslacker
Merteslacker
2 years ago
Reply to  occamshatchet

If there’s ever a time to have faith in Ospina, it is NOW. Remember the Almunia game vs Barca years ago? Any goalie can perform wonders, if only for a game !

Geocross
Geocross
2 years ago

Stop complaining an support the players, I just can’t understand some fans that wants to change the goalkeeper everytime they make a mistake or are blamed for goals when there’s no decent defending in the team. I think Cech should start as well but there has to be a reason for that, he’s been available but hasn’t started in 3 games between league and EL. That’s what I want to know.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse
2 years ago
Reply to  Geocross

I don’t remember Ospina making many mistakes. I get that he’s not Manuel Neuer, but otherwise I don’t see what the problem is.

Martin
Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Anonymarse

Fellaini’s goal on Sunday just one of the many errors he has made

Anonymarse
Anonymarse
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin

It wasn’t exactly a glaring mistake

Anonymarse
Anonymarse
2 years ago
Reply to  Anonymarse

In fact it looks pretty hard to save to me
https://player.arsenal.com/video/manchester-united-bitesize-0

Martin
Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Anonymarse

Not for a top keeper. I’ve seen it a dozen times and haven’t changed my mind

Martin
Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Anonymarse

Not glaring but still the difference between drawing and losing a match. The greater reach of Cech would have enabled him to save it. It’s the lack of presence and bad positional that worries me about him too. Just hope he doesn’t allow Costa to distract him

Gooooooonnnnnnnnaaaaaaa
Gooooooonnnnnnnnaaaaaaa
2 years ago
Reply to  Anonymarse

A top goalkeeper would have saved that. De Gea saves that 10 times out of 10.

Kwame Ampadu Down
Kwame Ampadu Down
2 years ago
Reply to  Anonymarse

But that’s the point : do you only count glaring mistakes then ? He should have done better & saved it. It wasn’t a tough save to make. Similar to West Ham in previous game…their goal came from a bit of pinball around our area so people forgot how it started : Ospina punching needlessly instead of taking an easy catch. Not a glaring mistake but again something he didn’t do well enough….and he does something like that in every game, often multiple times. More importantly, it’s pretty clear he gives our defenders the jitters, at set pieces especially…which could… Read more »

Lee
Lee
2 years ago
Reply to  Anonymarse

How about the time he caught the ball in the Champions League and took it across the line?

Hantal
Hantal
2 years ago

Ospina was solid last week, Cechs been shaky too. If either play and make a mistake then it’s the wrong decision

Santori
Santori
2 years ago

You have to realise that neither keeper is complete. Both have their strength and weakness.

Where Cech is better commanding the box, Ospina is better with reactions.

If we play against height, Cech is useful. If its against nippy players sneaking around, maybe Ospina is better.

In any case if Athletico play Costa (not sure what his status is), they will have BOTH qualities.

Either way we will have our work cut out for us.

Macca
Macca
2 years ago

This is one of the reasons Wenger is leaving at the end of the season, cech is way past his best and Ospina was never good enough in the first place.
Another example of misguided loyalty to players that should be moved on.
Having said that it is what it is, whoever plays, lets hope they have a blinder then you can all come on here and tell me i am a know nothing cunt.

Gordy
Gordy
2 years ago

I feel really angry that he doesn’t play the goalie who has won the Champions League but plays the crap Ospina who drops the ball over the line from a corner, never comes out to catch the ball and rolls around on the ground when touched. It’s soon to not be Arsene’s team but it is always ours.

Charles
Charles
2 years ago
Reply to  Gordy

Ospina is more of an eggshell. Always rolling allover the eighteen yard box at the slightest contact with “any” player. It might make sense if he does that when we are leading or under pressure to buy time for his teammates, but he does that more out of habit than it being necessary. Coupled with his inconsistency (not like Cech inspires more confidence), I won’t shed a tear when he finally leaves Arsenal.

ramgooner
ramgooner
2 years ago

The weekend goal wasn’t primarily Ospina’s fault. Xhaka and mavropanos could have done better. In fact we should have stopped the cross.

One big advantage with Ospina is we can play out from the back provided he doesn’t do something really comical.
Cech is a liability when it comes to passing. Cech is good in positioning and crosses.
Ospina is good in reflexes and passing.

We need Ospina in tomorrow’s game.

Martin
Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  ramgooner

Provided he doesn’t do anything comical. Trouble is he doe very often. So Cech is a better keeper but not so good at passing. What nonsense.

Vonnie
Vonnie
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin

How many times has Petr Cech kicked the ball straight into touch or straight to the opposition? Plenty. How many times this season has he cost us points? Plenty. Petr is a very nice person but his form this season is awful. Ospina has better reflexes and far better distribution than Cech.

Martin
Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Vonnie

Better reflexes? Not from what I’ve seen. Cech is superior in every way apart from his distribution. If distribution is the criteria for using a keeper lets put Ozil in goal

VintageFuzz
VintageFuzz
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin

Cech is not as mobile as Ospina. He gets beaten at his near post more often than not. When he has to come out to help the last defender he is always late because he is too slow. The only thing Ospina lacks is the reach on crosses. He’s made fewer mistakes than Cech this season and if AW gave him his word that he would play in the cups and Cech the league then I respect that. Now, Cech seems to have been injured recently or AW has lost faith, either way. Ospina starts tomorrow, and no matter your… Read more »

Santori
Santori
2 years ago

I see Bobby (Pires) on the training ground with the lads.

Honestly hope he can impart some advice for them to be a bit more direct and quicker in action.

He was always the swashbuckler from out wide who would tear you apart with his in field runs or his ability to drag you out wide and provide the assist.

If there’s one ex-player whom I feel may have a big future in the management business (gut feeling) I feel it could be Pires. He’s a clever man and charismatic.

PodB
PodB
2 years ago

Cech has been smoking in the showers. Why else would he be left out?
Biggest game of the season and we play our smallest keeper.
Hope OOoooospina has a blinder but AW will get caned if he stuffs up.
Even so, let’s do this. COYG

Eftee 3:16
Eftee 3:16
2 years ago

Everyone condemning Ospina as if this wasn’t the same club that paraded Manuel Almunia as number 1 for many years. Crazy fans!

Edzo
Edzo
2 years ago

Both keepers are below average. The only difference is that cech uaed to be world class.

boross
boross
2 years ago

To everyone who whines about Ospina starting instead of Cech: Wenger promised him at begining of the season that he will start in the EL. He is the kind of guy who keeps his promises. (note: I also think Cech would be better)

gus
gus
2 years ago
Reply to  boross

ospina will cost us , i can smell it in the last leg he came off his line a few times when the defender had it covered, he cant kick, and cant come off his line for crosses and when he does he normally misses the player and the ball and falls down feigning injury. hes a good shot stopper for snap shots etc but his reach overall and poor positioning costs us time and time again cech has had a weak season compared to his high standards but look at the shocking defence infront of him. he has presence… Read more »

Flummoxed
Flummoxed
2 years ago

Happy to see Santi is at least back in the conversation ?

Gunnerlocutor
Gunnerlocutor
2 years ago
Granit(e) hard!
Granit(e) hard!
2 years ago

Well, i agree with both camps on this one. neither Cech or Ospina exactly fill you with confidence at the moment, but honestly, i will rather take a chance with the one with plenty of experience of big games like this…Cech! so for me Ospina is a wrong choice for tonight, a European cup semi final. However, he has been chosen and fans should get behind that choice and hope he proves those of us that are doubters wrong.