Arsene Wenger defends selection of David Ospina in match against Olympiacos

Arsene Wenger during a post-match briefing
Arsene Wenger during a post-match briefing

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has lashed out at his critics over his selection of David Ospina to start in goal during their UEFA Champions League match against Olympiacos on Tuesday.

Wenger defended his decision to play David Ospina ahead of regular Petr Cech after his side’s shock defeat to Olympiacos saying he cannot base his selection on people’s opinions.

“I make these decisions and the selections for the team, and I am responsible for it. We cannot select the team by getting everyone’s opinion and making a poll,” said a defiant Wenger.

Colombian Ospina conceded a first-half own-goal in Arsenal’s 3-2 loss, but Wenger insisted the mistake could have happened to any goalkeeper.

“David Ospina played 19 games last year, he kept 14 clean sheets, and last week at Tottenham he had a fantastic game. No keeper is mistake-free. It could have happened to Petr Cech as well,” said Wenger.

“Petr Cech had a slight alert before the game at Leicester. I didn’t want to take a gamble. It’s not because of that that we lost the game. It’s a farce.”

The Frenchman grew visibly frustrated during his post-match press conference and refused to be drawn on the atmosphere in his squad’s dressing room.

“I don’t have to say why I started him. I do not have to sit here and give you any explanation about every decision I make. You are capable of judging what I do and I leave you to do that.”

The Gunners’ European hopes now hang in the balance following back-to-back defeats and with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich next up on October 20.

“The results leave us in a bad position, but we are still in it. We have to think that we can deal with Zagreb and Olympiacos, even away from home and we have to make a result in our next game against Bayern at home.”

Wenger pointed out that some aspects of the game were commendable though stating that Arsenal lacked quality in defense.

“We played against Olympiakos who defended very well and I believe they had a bit of bad luck as well, because they had four shots on target and they scored three goals.

“We had a difficult game, we got back into the game well and then at 2-2 we gave them the 3-2 that was of course the turning point of the game. We gave a lot and basically had 65 per cent possession. Tonight we just feel guilty because we gave easy goals away.”

Wenger stated that the team was disappointed with the loss though adding that having played four away matches before the Champions League match might have taken a toll on the players.

“We played four away games on the trot. We played at Zagreb, Chelsea, Tottenham and Leicester. Tonight is the first game we have played at home.”

Arsenal however have no time to mourn over the loss as they prepares to take on current league leaders Manchester United in their next Premier League clash on Sunday.

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Story By Benjamin Wafula
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