Sports updates from Francis Quashie Agbedeke
Arsene Wenger says he will not drop David Ospina for Arsenal’s EFL Cup final and Europa League clash
Arsene Wenger will stick with Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina for his two games this week, tomorrow’s Europa Leaguehome tie with Ostersund and then Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley.
Wenger confirmed his decision at his press conference this afternoon, marking a continuation of his policy of dividing goalkeeping labour across different competitions. Petr Cech may still be the first choice goalkeeper for Premier League games, but Ospina has predominantly been the keeper in the cups this season. And he will continue in that role for the two cup games this week, even with silverware on the line at Wembley against Pep Guardiola’s league-leading City side.
“They are always difficult decisions but we have been clear since the start of the season that he [Ospina] plays in the whole competition,” Wenger said, regarding Ospina’s role in the Europa League and League Cup. “I have two world-class goalkeepers and I decided to have clarity in the games they play and we maintain that.”
Wenger has prided himself in recent years in dividing cup and league duties between two different goalkeepers. This season Ospina has started 10 games, all in the cups, while Matt Macey also faced Norwich City in the League Cup and Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League.
Arsenal announce five-year extension to long-standing Emirates deal
Wenger is also hoping that Aaron Ramsey will be ready for Sunday’s final because he will not be available tomorrow night as he continues to recover from a muscle injury. He took part in training today, but when asked, Wenger did not sound confident about being able to pick the Welsh midfielder.
“Ideally, you want to have the choice but our job is about adaptation,” Wenger said. “Rarely in life do you have ideal situations, with the luxury to choose from all the players.”
Mesut Ozil will not be risked for Thursday night’s second leg but again Wenger is more optimistic about being able to select him on Sunday, which is especially important given Henrikh Mkhitaryan is cup-tied. “Today was his first training session,” Wenger confirmed.
“He was in bed on Monday and Tuesday with sickness. I would certainly have played him but he was sick. He will have to work hard and he will not be involved tomorrow. He should be OK for Sunday.