Arsene Wenger promises first-team role for benched Arsenal star against Sunderland

PUBLISHED: 06:45 09 January 2016 | UPDATED: 17:13 09 January 2016

Arsenal's David Ospina celebrates (John Walton/PA Wire)

Arsenal's David Ospina celebrates (John Walton/PA Wire)


Arsene Wenger says David Ospina will start in goal for Arsenal in the FA Cup this season.

Wenger has exployed a system in recent years of playing his second-choice goalkeeper in the cup competitions, with Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny each making long runs to the FA Cup final in the past two seasons.

Earlier in this campaign Wenger started Ospina in a crucial Champions League game against Olympiakos with disastrous consequences, as the Colombian made a decisive error in a 3-2 defeat.

Nevertheless, the Arsenal boss says he will again give his backup keeper a chance, with Ospina set to start against Sunderland in the third round on Saturday.

Wenger explained why he believes Ospina receives too much criticism from fans and the media and why buying Petr Cech from Chelsea in the summer was a difficult decision.

“Ospina will play,” Wenger said. “He is one who I feel is not treated fairly.

“If you look at the whole of 2015 everyone neglects to remember that he played for six months. I personally think he is a world-class goalkeeper and I would not have taken Petr Cech considering the performances of Ospina.

“Signing Cech was just an exceptional opportunity where it was difficult to say no. I did not take Cech because I was unhappy with Ospina, I was very happy with Ospina. But it was such an opportunity that to say no would not be right.

“Unfortunately Ospina has been punished by that decision. But I rate him highly.

“It’s true that he had a bad year because he made that mistake against Olympiakos, and when you have few opportunities and one bad catch everybody is after you.

“But looking at his performances from January, he saved us in many games.

At the age of 27, Ospina is now nearing his prime as a goalkeeper and the Colombian will undoubtedly be looking for regular first-team football in the coming years.

Wenger praised Ospina’s attidute and patience while he waits for his chance, and he revealed his hope that the shot-stopper could again become his number one in the future.

“He is a top pro,” Wenger said. “We are lucky because he has a top attitude, very brave, very intelligent, very quick.

“The difference between him and Cech is he has less experience and the size of Cech. He is so tall that when he stretches he covers more surface.

“I think he can be the goalkeeper of the future here. With Cech getting older he might get more games year after year.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

West Ham United Hammers midfielder Jack Wilshere says there is far more to come from Manuel Pellegrini’s side this season.

Nicky Shorey has a 100 per cent record so far, but can expect a big challenge on Saturday

Yesterday, 15:00

The Chilean praised Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino ahead of the capital clash

Yesterday, 11:00

Mauricio Pochettino and Harry Kane urge Spurs to kick on following record-equalling league start

Yesterday, 10:24

Wembley Stadium plays host to the second of its three NFL games of the season on Sunday and fans will be hoping that they are treated to a better game than last week’s one-sided contest between the Seattle Seahawks and the Oakland Raiders.

Yesterday, 09:00

The full-back, who is approaching 250 appearances for the club, discussed the win at Burgess Hill Town and much more

Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been discussing various topics with Layth Yousif during his exclusive interview this week. The talented 26-year-old invited Layth to his house for an in-depth discussion on a wide-ranging number of issues as the star prepares to launch his first soccer school at the end of this month. Read on for more...

Thu, 17:00

Tottenham Hotspur will be without Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose and Dele Alli for the fixture at the London Stadium


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now