Postat på 21st Feb 2018
Arsène Wenger has confirmed that David Ospina will start in goal against Östersund in the Europa League on Thursday night and Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday at Wembley.
The Arsenal manager admitted it was tough to overlook his first-choice goalkeeper, Petr Cech, for the Wembley showpiece but has refused to deviate from his policy of starting Ospina in the cup competitions.
Wenger said: “They are always difficult decisions but we have been clear since the start of the season that he [Ospina] plays in the whole competition,
“I have two world-class goalkeepers and I decided to have clarity in the games they play and we maintain that.”
The Colombia international has played in every round of the competition this season and will not lose his place to Arsenal's number one for the big day at Wembley. Arsenal will be looking to finish the season strongly as the Gunners hope to wrap up the campaign with some more silverware. Despite facing a battle for a top four spot, Arsenal fans can still hold great hope that success in both the Carabao Cup and Europa League.
Meanwhile, Cech, 35, has won the League Cup three times with Chelsea in the past but a winners' medal this year will come as part of Arsene Wenger's squad rather than in a starring role. When asked if Ospina would start in the 2018 Carabao Cup Final, Cech said: "At the start it was clear that it was going to be like that,
"I will be there with the team supporting but I don't expect to play. It is always hard to watch any game from the bench or even from the stand if you are not selected.”
He added: "As a player you always want to be involved but obviously you are in a professional club where there are 25 top players and the manager always makes his choices for the game and you need to accept that."
His teammate Ospina will be hoping to grasp the opportunity with both hands and he is looking forward to playing a lead role in both the Europa League and Carabao Cup competitions. He told the Arsenal matchday programme: "Going to Wembley is special, the atmosphere and the occasion is special," "You just need to focus and be ready. I have a very good relationship with Petr [Cech], and that helps."
In other team news, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is cup-tied for Sunday's final against City because of his involvement for Manchester United earlier this season, but he will play in the Europa League, alongside Danny Welbeck.
Wenger also confirmed Alexandre Lacazette is recovering well from his knee injury and could return within four weeks, while Aaron Ramsey will be monitored ahead of a decision over whether he plays in Sunday's Carabao Cup final. "He had a good training session but he's a bit short for tomorrow [against Ostersunds]," said Wenger.
"We'll see how his evolution goes from now until Sunday, I don't rule him out yet, it depends how well he improves."