Wenger Pens Ospina For Bayern Clash
By Concise News Correspondent
David Ospina will be in goal when English side Arsenal go head-to-head against Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s Champions League round-of -16 clash at the Allianz Arena.
Arsene Wenger confirmed this on Tuesday, stating that were it not for the goalkeeper’s heroics earlier in the season, the Gunners would probably not be in the last 16.
Arsenal have a mountain to climb as they square off against the Bundesliga kings in Germany for the first leg.
The Gunners have exited the competition at this stage in the previous six seasons, including twice by the Bavarian side. But this time they will be hoping to utilise a skeletal edge of playing the first leg away from home.
That is reward for topping their group, in which Ospina played all six games as the 2006 runners-up confronted Paris St Germain, Basle and Ludogorets without losing.
And the Arsenal boss believes fielding the Colombia goalkeeper against Bayern ahead of usual first-choice stopper Petr Cech is a good good move.
“I have nothing to hide there, it will be Ospina because of the quality of his performances,” he replied when asked which goalkeeper would start the game.
“We are in the last 16 and finished top of the group. If you analyse his performances in every single game we are where we are because of his great performances.”
Wenger also suggested Mesut Ozil would start on Wednesday after he said the German World Cup winner was lacking confidence in recent games.
Ozil has not scored since December 10 and has been a peripheral figure for many of Arsenal’s last fixtures, including the two recent defeats to Watford and Chelsea.
“I will pick the team tomorrow morning,” he said when asked if Ozil would play.
“I have no doubt that we play in Germany and Ozil is highly focused to have a good performance tomorrow.
“Ozil has been playing for us for many years now and he knows perfectly our team and he knows how we want to play in every match. So it is an important match.”
Wenger welcomes Granit Xhaka back into his squad after the midfielder sat out the last four domestic games through suspension, while Per Mertesacker also makes a Champions League squad for the first time this season.
Lucas Perez was left in England due to a slight hamstring problem, with Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla the other injured players.