Wenger’s Champions League conundrum!

Arsenal qualified for the next round of the Champions League a few weeks back, but the group was only concluded on Tuesday night after the Gunners came out on top. A 2-2 draw for PSG against Ludogorets was enough to see Arsenal top the group ahead of the French champions, following the Gunners impressive 4-1 win away to FC Basel.

With Arsenal in first position, it should mean that theoretically the Gunners get an ‘easier’ draw in the next round. However in practice, every match will be a tough test regardless of the club’s opponents. There are also a few shocks on final positioning in this year’s group stages so the Gunners could once again be drawn against a potential champions league winner early on in the competition.

One of the biggest pressures Arsene Wenger will face is the fact that he’s never won the Champions League and its a major honour that’s missing from his legacy. He will be desperate to win the trophy, especially in what could turn out to be the Frenchman’s final season in charge of the club. It means that Wenger will be looking to take the competition extremely seriously, which in turn hopefully means he plays the strongest squad possible.

Wenger is notorious for not playing his strongest Arsenal side possible in the Champions League, especially in the goalkeeping position. Wenger often opts for the Gunners second choice keeper to play Champions League matches and for Champions League winner Steven Gerrard, he feels that’s where Wenger’s going wrong in his quest for success.

Gerrard said: ‘For me it’s a no-brainer, you’ve got to play Petr Cech. It’s OK in a group game or a game like tonight [in which the Gunners had qualified] where there’s not really too much on the line, but when you go into the last-16 it’s got to be Petr Cech for me.’

I must admit I definitely do agree with Gerrard on his point, but at the same time you have to understand the pressure Wenger must be under to make this decision. It would be extremely tough on Ospina, especially as he hasn’t been too bad during his limited opportunities, to then replace him with Cech. However Cech is of course the more experienced and ultimately it’s a he’s the better keeper. In my opinion it would be silly not to play our strongest side against the strongest of European opponents and that of course means the Champions League winner Petr Cech in goal ahead of David Ospina.

Hopefully Wenger will decide to opt in for the stronger team when the next round rolls around, although I can’t imagine the disappointment on Ospina’s part if the Columbian was dropped based on the name rather than form.



  1. Incarnate says:

    Play Cech in my the knockout stages and compensate Ospina with an equal number of games against the smaller teams in the EPL. We can’t sacrifice the club’s ambitions and wellbeing on the altar of a player’s personal glory, it’s the business end of the competition and Cech has the experience of having won it, Ospina conceded three goals [home and away] against PSG, the only opposition on the level of those we’ll be meeting from now on, three goals against in the knockout stages is bordering on disastrous as we all know how tight these affairs are.

  2. citrenoogeht says:

    It would be unbelievably harsh and potentially embarrassing to drop Ospina for the knock out stages of the Champion’s league. However this is sport where sentiment should play very little part. On merit, Ospina’s performance so far has been faultless. I can’t remember any save that he didn’t make that Cech would have made. Teams with lesser keepers than Ospina have won the Champion’s League before. Therefore keep Ospina, keep the unity, all for one, one for all.

    1. Godswill says:

      Yes @ citrenoogeht. Ospina was one of the reasons we got a point in Paris. Yes, Cech is better but the difference is not very clear now.
      It may not be his fault but he’s no longer keeping clean slates like before.
      It’s gambling. It can work out or may not.

  3. Kostafi says:

    As harsh as it would be, Ospina is an employee of Arsenal being paid to do what’s asked of him. He’s done very well and kept us in the first game at PSG from what could have been an embarrassing scoreline. However, 6 goals in 5 group games is still worse (1.2 per game) than Cech’s (1 per game) in the league. However, the team that made it to the final in 2006 with Lehman did it off the back of some very good defending against Real Madrid and Juve (I think).

    Cech is a CL finalist and winner and his experience would be invaluable. It would be reckless on Wenger’s part not to take advantage of it. Ospina has 18 months left on his contract (as does Szeczesney) and can be compensated with game time in the league/FA Cup. As upset as Ospina might get, it would be all smiles when he receives a CL winners medal.

  4. atid says:

    No need to worry until mid Feb, for now just play the best x1 until the fa cup or forced to make changes.

  5. summerbreez says:

    I think and believe Ospin is a world class keeper and he should remain our champion league keeper after all he has been really good and made some big saves
    gerald is jealous as liverpool are not in it and he is trying to destabilize our unit with his sneaky jives

  6. Ugabooga says:

    What a stupid article.

    Ospina is probably our best big stage player. Watch world cup and copa dela Rey.

    He is unstoppable when it matters on a big stage. Watch this space when we play him and he wins plaudits

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs