Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny could win back his place in Arsene Wenger’s first-team, having impressed the Frenchman during training after being dropped in favour of David Ospina.
The Polish stopper has featured just once since the New Year’s day defeat to Southampton - a fixture after which he was supposedly caught smoking in the showers - and his absence has allowed Ospina to stake a claim for a permanent position between the sticks.
Indeed much has been made over Wenger’s selection headache with regards to his No.1, with neither of the established professionals at his disposal inspiring overwhelming confidence. Now though, according to the London Evening Standard, the Gunners boss could reinstate Szczesny for the upcoming FA Cup clash with Middlesborough, as he’s been impressed by the 24-year-old’s conduct in training.
The Championship leaders look set to provide a stern challenge for the north Londoners, and so Wenger isn’t likely to take any unnecessary risks with his starting line-up. If Szczesny does enter the fray and produces a sound performance it would go a long way to restoring his reputation with the fans, but whether or not he’ll be able to oust Ospina after that is another matter for his coach to consider.
Question marks have long remained over Szczesny’s capabilities as a top-class Premier League ‘keeper, and the harsh truth is that an upgrade may need to be drafted in if Wenger is to have aspirations of a proper title challenge next season.
When the likes of Thibaut Courtois, David De Gea and Joe Hart are factored in both Szczesny and Ospina pale in comparison, and perhaps that’s one issue Arsenal will have to confront in the summer.
Much has been made recently of the possible availability of Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas, who may well be up for grabs should De Gea become Florentino Perez’s next ‘Galactico’ signing, as some think he might.
Casillas is exactly the type of experienced ‘keeper that could marshal the Gunners’ back-line, and though he’s been no stranger to dips in form of late, his overall ability and command of his area far exceeds that of the options currently at Wenger’s disposal.
It’s a sad fact given that Szczesny has now called the Emirates Stadium home since joining the youth setup in 2006, but he doesn’t really look like developing into the player Arsenal so desperately need. Were he in any other position he might already have been flogged, and Ospina isn’t exactly what one would call an obvious replacement.
Arsenal fans, does Szczesny deserve more time in between the sticks? Or should he and Ospina both be offloaded in favour of a more proven talent?