Wenger praises 'world class' Ospina in draw

Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina vying for the ball with Paris Saint-Germain's Serge Aurier during the Champions League match on Tuesday. The Group A opener ended in a 1-1 draw.
Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina vying for the ball with Paris Saint-Germain's Serge Aurier during the Champions League match on Tuesday. The Group A opener ended in a 1-1 draw.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

PARIS • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger described David Ospina as "world class", after the Colombian goalkeeper justified his selection in Tuesday's Champions League match with Paris Saint-Germain by making several decisive saves.

Ospina was beaten by Edinson Cavani's header inside the opening minute at the Parc des Princes, but he also foiled the French champions on several other occasions as Alexis Sanchez's late equaliser ensured a 1-1 draw in the Group A opener.

Ospina's performance silenced the doubters who questioned Wenger's decision to play him rather than regular No. 1 Petr Cech, who was left on the bench.

"I have two world-class goalkeepers and I know we have enough matches to give both of them games. If you cannot play them, you cannot keep world-class goalkeepers who don't get games," insisted Wenger.

Arsenal's wobble in the Champions League at the start of last season, with surprise defeats by Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos that almost condemned them to an early exit, were partly attributed to Wenger's decision to play Ospina in goal.

The Colombian made one calamitous error which led to a goal from Olympiakos, but against PSG, he rescued the London club with numerous interventions to deny Cavani and Angel di Maria.

"Ospina was very good and he showed to those who doubted him that he is a good goalkeeper," said Wenger. "When he played in the Champions League last season, he made an error and everyone came down on him, but he has put things right."

The question now is whether Ospina will keep his place for Arsenal's next Group A game at home to Swiss side Basel in two weeks.

Wenger hinted that he would. "We have rules that the 'keepers know. When that changes, I inform them," said the Frenchman.

"We can always change our minds. It's down to performances and on what he has delivered tonight, he has the right to play in the next game."

It was far from a vintage Arsenal performance but the draw in what was on paper their trickiest fixture leaves them well placed to win their group.

From a PSG perspective, their inability to see out the victory was less to do with Ospina than with Cavani's inability to convert several chances.

Unai Emery's side have now gone three games without a win. "I am not happy with the result but I am happy with how we played," insisted Emery, who refused to be critical of Cavani.

"The most important thing is that he is creating chances for himself. That is positive for the future."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2016, with the headline 'Wenger praises 'world class' Ospina in draw'. Print Edition | Subscribe