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Bob Wilson backs David Ospina ahead of Carabao Cup final appearance

Ex-Arsenal coach Wilson believes second-choice Ospina will do just fine against Manchester City.

Manchester City v Arsenal – 2018 Carabao Cup Final Package
Manchester City v Arsenal – 2018 Carabao Cup Final Package

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson has backed Arsene Wenger’s decision to retain David Ospina between the posts for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.

Ospina, who has featured in every round of the competition other than the third-round victory over Norwich, has been told by Wenger he will keep his place.

The Colombia international, who has yet to start a Premier League game this campaign, also played in last season’s FA Cup final success against Chelsea.

Petr Cech, Arsenal’s de facto number one, will be on the sidelines at Wembley as Wenger sticks to his word once again and Wilson believes Ospina can handle the pressure.

“Any goalkeeper is going to have a very busy afternoon playing against this current City team,” he told Press Association Sport.

“I understand why Ospina will play but every goalkeeper is in that position where you are the muggins if you make an error and it would also come back on Wenger, arguably.

“He is not the first-choice in the Premier League but there isn’t a million miles between him and Cech and I think he is a very solid goalkeeper.”

Wilson worked as goalkeeping coach when Wenger first arrived at Arsenal.

Wilson, who won three major trophies during an 11-year career with the Gunners, believes Ospina has the capabilities to do a job on Sunday after he was given the nod over Cech.

“He is 100 per cent one of the best second-choice goalkeepers in the Premier League,” he said.

“The experience he has and the calmness when things aren’t going is needed. He will be really up for it, he will know what is required and is likely to perform.

Ospina (left) has had to play second-fiddle to Cech (right) since the latter arrived at Arsenal

“It is one of the positives about Wenger that he will stick to his word and his word was that Ospina would play throughout this competition which will also give the goalie more confidence.”

Although Cech will not start the game, Wilson does not believe the 35-year-old is finished at the Emirates Stadium.

The former Chelsea goalkeeper is stuck on a record 199 Premier League clean sheets and Wilson feels there is still not better viable alternative for Wenger at the moment.

“I came from an age where Pat Jennings and Peter Shilton played into their 40s, I coached David Seaman and he played until he was 40,” he added.

Wilson (centre) worked alongside Wenger and Seaman during his time as a coach at Arsenal

“More recently you can certainly look at Edwin van der Sar and (Gianluigi) Buffon as perfect examples of mature goalkeepers being equally as good as their younger counterparts.

“It depends on physique but you are capable, as a goalkeeper, of going on to 38 to 40 years of age, even in today’s game.

“I’m not convinced there is anybody available who is better than Cech, there are better ‘keepers at other clubs but they certainly aren’t available.”

:: Bob Wilson was speaking ahead of the London Football Awards, March 1, raising funds for national charity, Willow – founded by Bob and his wife in memory of their daughter –

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph