Wojciech Szczesny passed fit to start against Manchester United

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Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will start against Manchester United at Old Trafford tonight, after coming through yesterday's final training session before the FA Cup quarter-final unscathed.

Szczesny was considered a doubt thanks to an illness that kept him out of the squad for last Wednesday's win over Queens Park Rangers, but The Mirror report that he's taken a full part in training at London Colney over the last few days.

The Polish stopper will now play for the first time since Arsenal's victory over Middlesbrough in the last round at Old Trafford, after being given the backing of Gunners boss Arsene Wenger to play ahead of David Opsina in the FA Cup.


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Gabriel the only new absentee

Wenger's defence will have a familiar feel for a game neither side can afford to lose, with Szczesny playing in front of a centre-back pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

That duo will both start because January signing Gabriel Paulista pulled him hamstring against Queens Park Rangers, ruling him out for two weeks at the very least. That means all three players have a chance to prove their worth once again, in arguably Arsenal's biggest game of the season so far.

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Szczesny cannot afford a single mistake

Szczesny goes in tonight's match under more pressure than at any point during his Arsenal career to date, thanks to his own struggles and the form of the man who has replaced him in the starting XI of late, Colombian international Ospina.

Since being dropped after being caught smoking in the changing rooms at Southampton the 24-year-old has watched Ospina put together a string of impressive performances in the Premier League, further adding to his mid-season frustration.

Wenger's rotation policy when it comes to picking a cup keeper has served as a vote of confidence to Szczesny in the past, but now its confirmation that he's second choice until something drastic changes.

A return to the ground where Szczesny made his first-team debut for Arsenal offers Szczesny a wonderful opportunity to do just that, but it has to be a flawless performance if both Arsenal and their keeper are to win at Old Trafford for the first time since 2006.

Arsenal fans, do you think Wenger has made the right call picking Szczesny over Ospina tonight? Is either man the right choice as number-one goalkeeper in the long term? Let us know by having your say in the comment box below!

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Wojciech Szczesny

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