Ospina has the Gloves, has Szczesny dropped the ball?

Originally posted on Goonersphere.

David Seaman. Bob Wilson. Jack Kelsey. Pat Jennings. Jens Lehmann.
These are the names that current goalkeeping glove fillers David Ospina and Wojicech Szczesny must aspire to. To be able to match the achievements of these heroic men that guarded the Arsenal goal – Ospina and Szczesny have to eliminate the doubts that linger around them.

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David Ospina arrived at our club with a mixture of optimism and cynicism. His World Cup 2014 displays were lauded but his domestic form was somewhat of a mystery. Plying his trade in Ligue Un mediocrity with Nice, Ospina must have been resting on his laurels if he could produce excellent displays like he did during Colombia’s run to the Quarter-Final?
How could a Goalkeeper who has aspirations of playing at the very highest level be satisfied with mid-table ignominy for 6years? Doesn’t this present questions as to his motivation?

Regardless,  his six year stint in Nice was ended when Arsene Wenger splashed out a purported £3million so he could challenge Szczesny. Since then, he has slotted in seamlessly and when he has been given the chance to stake a claim for the Number One status – ironically by the very man he is competing with – he has assuredly taken it.

Stats provide a spine to an argument and the case for our Colombian is a compelling one. In ten Premier League appearances, he has made five clean sheets. He has shown he is more than a competent shot stopper and he hasn’t shown any of the arrogant bravado that Wojicech has which alienates him from a large portion of fans.

Ah, Szczesny. A man given ample opportunities to chisel his name permanently amongst the legends which adorn the outside of the Emirates Stadium. Yet, on more than one occasion, he has let it slip through his character flaws.

It isn’t his talent which has seen him lose the No.1 slot first to Fabianski and now to Ospina. A share of the Golden Gloves award with Petr Cech last season tells you that he is more than able to protect our goal. It is his arrogance in his own ability which has seen him relegated to the role of ‘Cup Keeper’ for the second time.

Being caught smoking – after Jack Wilshere was papped doing the very same thing – shows Wojicech was far too comfortable in his role as Arsenal’s Number One. Forget the actual offence though. All it does is indicate that Wojicech took for granted what a special opportunity he had.

The criminal thing is though – it wasn’t the first time he has sat back and admired his handiwork as it crashed to the ground. When Fabianski reclaimed what he should never have had the chance to in 2012/13, it was due to a lackadaisical Szczesny. This season tells its own story. 3 clean sheets in 17 appearances is in stark contrast to his previous season.

Should his awful record be given special dispensation though? Seeing as he was between the sticks during our more than patchy start, it meant he received a little less protection than Ospina is getting currently. We seem tighter at the back than we did in the first fifteen or so games and Ospina has benefitted from this. Objectively though, has Ospina’s displays reassured what was a jittery backline?

Discussions as to the future of our two goalkeepers rages on. Polls and stats are used to evidence who should be playing and who should be sold. If the opinion barometer stays as it sits right now however, then it would seem Wojicech Szczesny would be favourite to be offloaded. Despite his wild celebrations during our 5-2 win Vs our vile neighbours, he has never endeared himself fully to the Gooners faithful and this matches the mood across social media.

Doubts still linger over Ospina though. Despite his impressive clean sheet ratio, his aerial ability has come into question due to a few occasions where he has failed to claim a ball in the air. Ironically, a verdict for our Colombian keeper still remains very much in the air.

The hymn sheet most seem to be singing from is the opportunity to sign the keeper that has raised the bar for others in the Premiership. Petr Cech and his magic hat would undoubtedly be a perfect fit for our club. He still has at least five years at the very highest level, he has a massive amount of experience and the confidence he would breed on the pitch could only benefit us.

The problem – as always – is Jose Mourinho.

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Seeing as when we were in dire need of a striker he was unwilling to let an underused Demba Ba join us on loan, it is more than safe to assume that Mourinho would rather give Cech to Manchester City on a free than sell him to Arsenal for £50m. Cech is able to go to any club he pleases but if Dame Mourinho makes it difficult – which he will – then the giant shot-stopper will more than likely sign elsewhere.

He really could be the answer to a lot of our ills, but dreaming of seeing Petr Cech hats on sale in The Armoury would only serve as torture.

What remains clear is that Ospina must deliver for the rest of the season if he is to remain our first choice keeper. Wojicech Szczesny can only do his best in the limited games he will play. I think his time at Arsenal is at an end but who will be our Number One next season remains a mystery.

Don’t hold out for Cech though. If Jose is involved then disappointment is bound to follow.

By @JokmanAFC

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