Arsene Wenger identifies “world-class” replacement for Petr Cech

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Arsene Wenger has insisted that David Ospina could still be Arsenal’s number-one goalkeeper.

The Colombian international has had to play second fiddle to Petr Cech this season after the Premier League clean sheet record holder’s arrival from London rivals Chelsea.

He was first choice for Wenger during the second half of last season, but injuries and the form of Cech has limited him to just three appearances in all competitions so far this term – a couple of which have been marred by mistakes which nearly jeopardised Arsenal’s Champions League campaign.

Wenger admits that “world-class” Ospina is unlucky to find himself out of the team, but added that signing Cech this summer was an opportunity that he simply couldn’t refuse.

And the Frenchman is adamant that Ospina, who is likely to get a game in Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie against Sunderland, could still be number one at the Emirates Stadium.

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“I think he can be the goalkeeper of the future here as well,” Wenger told Sky Sports. “With Petr Cech getting older year after year, he may get more games as well…

“I believe that Ospina is not treated fairly. If you look at the whole of 2015, everybody neglects he played six months.

“I personally think he is world-class. I did not take Petr Cech based on the performances of Ospina. Petr Cech was just an exceptional opportunity where it was difficult to say no. It was not because I was unhappy with Ospina.

“I was very happy with Ospina. It was just an opportunity to say no would not have been right. Unfortunately, Ospina has been punished by that decision. I rate him highly.

“True he had a bad season because he has that mistake, and when you do not have many opportunities and you have one bad catch everyone is after you.”

Should Ospina get the nod against the Black Cats, it would be his first outing for the Gunners since September.

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