Thursday 8 December 2016

Arsene Wenger has a subtle dig at David Ospina critics following PSG draw

Mark Mann-Bryans

Published 14/09/2016 | 08:20

Arsenal's David Ospina and Petr Cech at the end of the match
Arsenal's David Ospina and Petr Cech at the end of the match

Arsene Wenger insists goalkeeper David Ospina has proved his critics wrong following a superb display in Arsenal's battling Champions League draw at Paris St Germain.

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The Colombian was not expected to start at the Parc des Princes but was drafted in and performed admirably, eventually winning his duel with PSG striker Edinson Cavani, who had headed the hosts ahead inside a minute.

Ospina made a number of crucial stops to prevent Unai Emery's side extending their lead before Alexis Sanchez struck with 12 minutes remaining to seal a 1-1 draw.

The end of the game was marred by a double dismissal as referee Viktor Kassai sent off Arsenal substitute Olivier Giroud and PSG midfielder Marco Veratti for an incident off the ball.

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez

The Gunners showed their steel to come from behind after being dominated in the first half but as they began to push further forward in search of an equaliser, Ospina was becoming more and more exposed.

However, the 28-year-old stood firm and earned the praise of his boss, who also named Ospina in place of Petr Cech for the opening two Champions League group games last season - defeats to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos - where he was culpable on more than one occasion.

"It's a good point for us. David Ospina did play very well," Wenger said. "Tonight he showed his detractors that he is a very good goalkeeper, those who doubted him.

"Last year he made a mistake in the Champions League and everyone jumped all over him. He showed what he's about tonight.

Paris Saint-Germain's Marco Verratti (L) and Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (R) after being sent off.
Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
Paris Saint-Germain's Marco Verratti (L) and Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (R) after being sent off. Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

"I have two world-class goalkeepers. I can give them both games. If they do not play, you can't keep two world-class goalkeepers."

Wenger also hinted he is likely to stick with the Colombian for the visit of Basle in their next Champions league outing.

"We have a rule that the keepers know (when they will play)," he added. "It's important to have clear rules like that.

"They know what the rules are for the season. If they change, I'll tell them."

Asked if Ospina will only feature in Europe, Wenger replied: "I'll not answer that question. It's down to performances.

"On what he delivered tonight, he has the right to stay in the team for the next Champions League game."

While much was made of Ospina's heroics, Cavani endured a tough night following his goal on 42 seconds.

Now tasked with being PSG's talisman following the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Uruguay forward missed a number of gilt-edged chances to seal an opening-round victory for the Ligue 1 champions but was defended by manager Emery.

"The most important thing are the opportunities, getting in the box, getting to the ball," he said.

"The player broke into the penalty area and, when you have chances, one day you might score, another day you might not.

"It's all about having the confidence to score goals. He'd scored a great goal at the start.

"He had three good chances, three very good chances. He wasn't the best but I said that the first thing is creating the chances. Then we have to work on confidence. Once you have optimism, that's when you start to score goals."

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