Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes that Arsenal star Wojciech Szczesny is one of the best goalkeepers in world football.
The Spurs head coach made the bizarre claim after Saturday's north London derby when praising his own stopper Hugo Lloris, who turned in another impressive performance in the 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium.
Pochettino named the France international and his opposite number in the Gunners' goal among the top three custodians on the planet, alongside Bayern Munich's World Cup winner Manuel Neuer.
Mauricio Pochettino quote:
"I think he [Lloris] is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, not just the Premier League," the Argentinian was quoted saying by Sky Sports. "He is unbelievable.
"Neuer, Szczesny...I think there's a lot of good keepers. But Lloris is one of them."
The former Southampton boss' declaration towards Szczesny is surprising given that the Poland international hasn't exactly performed well for Arsenal over the past 12-18 months with some detractors even calling for him to be replaced.
Competition for places
Arsene Wenger signed David Ospina from Nice in a £3.2 million deal following his impressive performances for Colombia at the World Cup in Brazil, brought in as a replacement for Lukasz Fabianski but also to put pressure on current No.1 Szczesny, forcing him to work harder for his £65,000-a-week wages.
However, the new back-up keeper didn't do himself any favours after his shaky debut display against Southampton in the Capital One Cup third round. The 26-year-old's distribution was particularly disappointing, as was the fact he should've dealt better with Nathaniel Clyne's match-winning strike that gifted Saints a memorable 2-1 victory.
Thankfully, the Gunners bounced back by securing a hard-fought point against Spurs despite going a goal behind after Nacer Chadli gave the visitors a surprise second-half lead against the run of play, only to see his effort cancelled out by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's equaliser.
The hosts might feel a little unfortunate not to take all three points, had it not been for the inspired form of Lloris, who made a number of crucial saves including one point-blank stop to deny Per Mertesacker.
"It was an amazing save that he made from Mertesacker," Pochettino added. "From my position [on the touchline] it was an unbelievable save. On TV it looks even better."
Next up for Tottenham in the Premier League is a home clash against Pochettino's former club Southampton, who are flying high in second place in the table after a run of four consecutive victories, while Arsenal travel to Stamford Bridge to take on leaders Chelsea.
Before that, both clubs have European fixtures against Turkish opposition to look forward to in midweek. The Gunners welcome Galatasaray to the Emirates on Wednesday while Spurs host Besiktas a day later at White Hart Lane.
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