There has been a lot of talk and debate as well as a hail of criticism for Arsene Wenger and his decision this week to start David Ospina instead of Petr Cech in the must win Champions League clash with Olympiacos. The decision was always going to be questioned but after the Colombian international dropped a real clanger and the ball and had a huge part in our defeat, the scrutiny of his selection has been intense.
Because of the importance of the game, everyone is struggling to understand why the manager would choose not to select his strongest side and with Cech having been the only Arsenal signing of the summer transfer window and with the 33-year old having the experience of winning the Champions League as well as almost every other trophy available to him, the keeper rotation was the hardest to understand.
There have been suggestions in some parts of the media that Wenger had promised the cup games to Ospina in order to persuade him to stay and some even claim that it might be in his contract. Wenger himself hinted that he was being ultra cautious with the fitness of Cech after his number one stopper after a niggling calf injury flared up before the win over Leicester City.
This has been shot down by pundits as the Czech Republic international was fit enough for the bench and the Daily Mail reports that Cech had declared himself fit to play.
However, Liam Brady has a different viewpoint. The Arsenal legend has worked with the Frenchman ever since he joined the club in 1996 until he retired from running the academy last summer and so he knows Wenger as well as anyone. And the Irishman believes that there was an injury problem with Cech, as revealed in a Squawka.com report.
Brady said, “I have a feeling Cech had a knock or an injury.
“I think Arsene said after the game to the press ‘look, I know more things about the reasons I make selections than you people.’
“I’m guessing he didn’t want to risk him over something because had he done so and lost him for a month or so, he really would have come in for criticism.
“That’s the only reason I can think that you would want to play Ospina in front of Cech.”
It does seem more realistic than Wenger just playing his second choice keeper for no reason in such a big game. And if Cech declared himself fit, does that not suggest that there were doubts in the first place? And is keeping him fit for the Premier League not the biggest priority? So have we been a bit too harsh on the prof?