Mikel Arteta says he isn’t giving any assurances to any players about their place in the team, regardless of the competition we’re playing in.
In seasons past we’ve had defined ‘cup keepers’, which has seen the position shared between the likes of the Petr Cech, Bernd Leno, David Ospina, Emi Martinez and others.
That has changed under Arteta, with Leno chosen over the Argentine for the Europa League – a decision which was widely believed to be the right one. However, the number one made a crucial mistake which played a part in our exit to Olympiacos last Thursday.
Ahead of tonight’s FA Cup clash with Portsmouth, the Arsenal boss again refused to say who would start in goal and said his selection decisions would be based on how the players perform and compete.
“I like to play the player I think is in the best condition for that game,” he told the Evening Standard.
“If it is Emi, it is Emi, And if it’s Bernd, it’s Bernd. It’s the same with the right-backs or the centre-backs. Because they played on Thursday, I am not going to say ‘oh, they cannot play on Monday’.
“If I send that message to them, they are going to be tired, they are mentally not going to be prepared. It is not right.
“We try to make the decision based on who we believe is better to win that competition.
“Players have to respect that, fight and compete between them. And if I made a wrong decision, probably sometimes I will do.”
Arteta is expected to make changes for this evening’s game, and could hand an Arsenal debut to January signing Pablo Mari at the centre of the defence, with the likes of Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Gabriel Martinelli and Rob Holding expected to feature.