Paris - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger described David Ospina
as "world-class" after the Colombian goalkeeper justified his
selection in Tuesday's Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain with
several decisive saves.
Ospina was beaten by Edinson Cavani's header inside the
opening minute at the Parc des Princes but foiled the French champions on
several other occasions as Alexis Sanchez's late leveller ensured a 1-1 draw in
the Group A opener.
And Ospina's performance silenced the doubters who
questioned why Wenger had chosen to play him in Paris rather than regular
number one Petr Cech, who was left on the bench.
"I have two world-class goalkeepers and I know we have
enough matches to give both of them games. If you cannot play them you cannot
keep world-class goalkeepers who don't get games," insisted Wenger.
Arsenal's wobble in the Champions League at the start of
last season, with surprise defeats to both Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos that
almost condemned them to an early exit, was partly attributed to Wenger's
decision to play Ospina in goal.
The former Nice custodian made one calamitous error in
particular that gifted a goal to the Greeks, but against PSG he rescued the
London club with numerous interventions to deny Cavani and Angel Di Maria.
"Ospina was very good and he will have shown tonight
for those who doubted him that he is a good goalkeeper," added Wenger.
"When he played in the Champions League last season he
made an error and everyone came down on him, but he has put things right."
The question now is, will Ospina keep his place for
Arsenal's next Group A game at home to Swiss side Basel in two weeks, and
Wenger hinted that he will.
"We have rules that the 'keepers know. That's why it is
important to have clear rules from the start, and when that changes I inform
them," said the Frenchman.
"We can always change our minds. It's down to performances and on what he has delivered tonight he has the right to claim to play in the next Champions League game."
It was far from a vintage Arsenal performance but the draw
in what was on paper their trickiest fixture leaves them well placed to win
their group, something they have not done in the Champions League in five
"PSG were good. They were determined, aggressive, quick
on the break, and applied very strong physical pressure," added Wenger.
"But even in the first half when we put together a few
passes we felt we could be dangerous. We created chances in the second half and
it is a good point for us."
From a PSG perspective, their inability to see out the victory was less to do with Ospina than with Cavani's inability to convert several chances to add to his opener.
The Uruguayan had two spectacular misses in the first half
before being denied by the Arsenal 'keeper in the second half, and Unai Emery's
side have now gone three games without a win.
"I am not happy with the result but I am happy with how
we played. We need to play like this in future," insisted the Spaniard
Emery, who refused to be critical of Cavani.
"The most important thing is that he is creating
chances for himself. That is positive for the future."
Quarter-finalists in each of the last four seasons, PSG are next in Champions League action away to Ludogorets Razgrad in Bulgaria in a fortnight.