Wojciech Szczesny is Arsenal’s Number One…And Shouldn’t Start


While it’s not exactly a merry-go-round in goal for Arsenal, fans have seen Arsene Wenger switch between David Ospina and Wojciech Szczesny with regularity thanks to the different competitions in which the Gunners remain.  With a day to go until the pressure-cooker that will be Monaco, let’s take a look at the two main men.

David Ospina

9-The number of matches in the Premier League in which Ospina has played

5- The number of clean sheets from those nine matches

12- Average league position of opponents Ospina has faced

0.56- Average goals conceded per game

2.11- Average saves per game

3.8- Average saves per goal

94- Percent successful claims

61- Percent successful distributions

(stats from Squawka)

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Wojciech Szczesny

17- The number of Premier League matches in which Szczesny has played

3- The number of clean sheets from those seventeen matches

11- Average league position of opponents Szczesny has faced

1.24- Average goals conceded per game

1.65- Average saves per game

1.40- Average saves per goal

95- Percent successful claims

68- Percent successful distributions

(stats from Squawka)

The Eye Test

From a purely statistical standpoint, there’s very little room to make an argument that Wojciech Szczesny should be the number one over David Ospina. Numbers don’t lie. But they also don’t tell the full truth. Szczesny was not particularly good in the opening half of the season, but what was he dealing with in his supporting cast? Debuchy missed long periods, Chambers and Monreal both had to fill in at center back, and Giroud missed time too.

David Ospina has Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny with cover in the form of Gabriel. He’s been in the side for the birth of Hector Bellerin and rebirth of Nacho Monreal. Most importantly, he has a midfield destroyer in the form of Francis Coquelin who has been fantastic since returning from Charlton and Arsenal’s golden boy, Aaron Ramsey, coming to life again. Everything has gone Ospina’s way.

That’s exactly the reason Arsene Wenger can’t afford to drop him. He has the hot hand, and the team clicks when he plays. Momentum is important, especially if Arsenal fancy a fight up the table. Would they click if Szczesny returned to the side? Maybe. But this is one lesson Arsene Wenger has learned: March isn’t the month for “maybe”.

Next: Walcott: Arsenal's Secret Weapon Against Monaco?