Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Wojciech Szczesny will start against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup this weekend, after impressing the Gunners boss with his attitude in training over the last few weeks.
Szczesny has been been forced to play second fiddle to David Ospina in 2015, with the Colombian starting Arsenal's last five Premier League games and keeping three clean sheets in the process.
The Polish international only has himself to blame after a loss of form and that infamous smoking incident in the changing rooms at Southampton, but Wenger clearly still has faith in the young stopper and is happy to give him a chance to prove his worth in this weekend's fifth-round tie against Boro.
Szczesny must take chance to shine
In his pre-match press conference for Arsenal's latest game on the road to Wembley the Gunners boss confirmed Szczesny is the first name his team sheet for Sunday, declaring: “He’s ready to play. At the moment I feel I left Ospina in because he has done well but Wojciech is completely ready and has impressed in training.
"The competition is open. At the moment Ospina [has] played and we’ll see in the future.”
Article continues below
Sanchez unlikely to feature this weekend
Wenger also admitted that Alexis Sanchez is struggling to prove his fitness for the Boro clash, after struggling through to the 68th minute against Leicester City in midweek.
Sanchez took a bang to his knee in a challenge with former Gunner Matthew Upson, so don't be surprised if Wenger decides to be cautious with his Chilean superstar after getting it wrong in midweek.
Article continues below
Ramsey injury a major concern
Unsurprisingly Wenger's press conference unsurprisingly began with questions about Aaron Ramsey, who pulled up with a fresh hamstring injury against Leicester just nine minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Wenger admitted that Ramsey's consistent struggles with injury continue to mystify Arsenal medical staff, but was optimistic that the Welsh midfielder will be back in a fortnight after his latest problem was diagnosed as a grade one tear.
The Frenchman told reporters: "It's not a major injury. It's a grade one. There is an underlying reason that is medical or bio-mechanical, because he's a guy who is serious, works hard. We haven't found the underlying reason."
On a more positive note Wenger also revealed that major January signing Gabriel Paulista is in contention to make his debut this weekend.
Gabriel has been just out of reach for Arsenal fans since sealing a January switch from VIllarreal, but this weekend represents the perfect opportunity for the Brazilian defender to fill in for either Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
Wenger could also bring Jack Wilshere back into the Arsenal squad for the first time in three months, but Szczesny's return to action has already been confirmed.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms