Arsène Wenger hailed David Ospina as “world class” and said that the Colombia international would keep his place for Arsenal’s next Champions League game against Basel on 28 September.
Ospina justified Wenger’s surprising decision to start him ahead of Petr Cech for Tuesday’s match at Paris Saint Germain with a string of saves that kept Arsenal in the game. He was the hero of the 1-1 draw and while Wenger would not be drawn on the details of his goalkeeping job-share, he promised that Ospina would continue for Arsenal’s next Champions League game in two weeks’ time.
“We have a rule that the keepers know,” Wenger said. “It’s important to have clear rules like that. They know what the rules are for the season. If they change, I will tell them. It’s down to performances. On what he delivered tonight, he has the right to stay in the team for the next Champions League game.”
Wenger said that a job-share like the one that he has between Cech and Ospina was the only way he could keep both elite goalkeepers happy at the club. “I have two world-class goalkeepers,” Wenger said. “I can give them both games. If they do not play, you can’t keep two world-class goalkeepers.”
Ospina struggled in the Champions League last season, not least making an infamous error when Arsenal lost at home to Olympiacos. In Paris on Tuesday night, though, he looked like a goalkeeper equipped to play at the highest level, and Wenger hailed what may be his best ever Arsenal performance afterwards.
“Ospina played very well,” Wenger said. “Tonight he showed his detractors that he is a very good goalkeeper, those who doubted him. Last year he made a mistake in the Champions League and everyone jumped all over him. He showed what he’s about tonight, at decisive moments, when he could have conceded a penalty, or when he came out with a good header at the start of the second half.”
Wenger hailed the character and application of his side who took an important point despite being outplayed for long periods of the match. “I thought PSG played well,” Wenger said. “They were determined, aggressive, quick on the counter. They put us under a lot of physical pressure. They played well. But when we could get the ball moving, we knew we could be dangerous. In the second half we dominated the play better and created opportunities. It’s a good point for us.”
Arsenal could have lost the game in the first half but they gradually stabilised and Wenger hailed the way they stayed in a game which they could have lost embarrassingly.
“When you start so badly against a team of that quality, if you have no experience or too young you can be caught,” Wenger admitted. “We didn’t panic. Overall we were resilient enough. The resilience is linked to experience. I told the players at half-time that if we kept the ball, we’d come back because we were dangerous when we had good possession of the ball.”