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Arsenal: Wenger defends Ospina choice despite costly error

Arsene Wenger has defended his decision to choose David Ospina ahead of Petr Cech for Arsenal’s Champions League group stage match against Olympiacos on Tuesday evening.

The Gunners fell behind three times during the bout, and while they managed to equalise twice—through Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez—they were ultimately outdone by a 66th-minute effort from Alfred Finnbogason, who fired past Ospina following an assist from Felipe Pardo.

Ospina’s key ‘contribution’, however, came on 40 minutes, when he fumbled a high ball into the box, before carrying it over the line into the goalmouth.

The keeper also struggled in the 2-1 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in Arsenal’s Champions League opener, a loss that leaves the Gunners’ chances of progression to the Last 16 teetering on the brink—particularly with a double-header with Bayern Munich set to come.

Wenger’s decision to name Ospina as his starting goalkeeper may have come as a surprise, particularly considering the experience and big-game mentality that Cech could have brought to the defence.

However, as reported by Goal, the French coach has insisted that his decision to choose Ospina was not the reason for Arsenal’s downfall.

“I do not have to sit here and give you an explanation about every decision I make,” Wenger said, speaking to journalists after the match.

“That is always the simple thing. Ospina kept 14 clean sheets in 19 games last season and was fantastic against Tottenham last week. No goalkeeper is mistake-free.

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“I make the decisions and selections for the team and I am responsible. I know many things that you don’t know or you ignore. You can’t select a team by taking a poll before the game and taking everyone’s opinion.

“Honestly, I don’t want to go into the conversation about regrets with you.”

It would be a major surprise if Wenger did not restore Cech to the starting XI for Arsenal’s upcoming heavyweight Premier League clash against Manchester United on Sunday, despite his verbal confidence in the Colombian’s ability.

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