Arsenal 2 Olympiakos 3: Arsene Wenger on David Ospina error: 'It could have happened to Petr Cech'

Manager justified his selection for European tie

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Arsene Wenger rejected accusations that he made a mistake in selecting David Ospina instead of Petr Cech for his side’s second consecutive Champions League defeat to Olympiakos tonight – which leaves Arsenal’s chances of qualifying for the second round in the balance.

The Arsenal manager came under fire for playing Ospina whose mistake gifted Olympiakos a second goal in the first half to re-take the lead at 2-1. Alexis Sanchez later equalised for the home side on 65 minutes but substitute Alfred Finnbogason, an Iceland international, scored what turned out to be the winner less than a minute later.

The goal gave the Greek champions their first Champions League victory on English soil in 13 attempts. In a tetchy post-match exchange with reporters over his decision to keep Ospina in Arsenal’s Champions League team, Wenger said that Cech could have made the same error.

“Look that is always the simple thing,” Wenger said in response to whether his goalkeeper cost him the game. “Ospina played 19 games last season, kept 14 clean sheets [he played 23 in all competitions and kept ten clean sheets]. Last week at Tottenham, he had a fantastic game. No keeper is mistake-free, it could have happened to Petr Cech as well. That's part of it.


“I don't give you why [he was selected]. I do not have to sit here and give you any explanation about every decision I make. You are capable to judge what I do and I leave you to that.”

Asked whether Cech was fully fit, Wenger said: “He had a slight alert before the game at Leicester. I didn't want to take a gamble but it's not because of that we lost the game. It's a farce [to suggest that Ospina’s mistake was the reason they lost the game].”

Asked about the fans’ frustration, he said: “I made the decisions and the selections for the team and I am responsible for them. And I know many things that you don’t know. Or that you ignore. We cannot select the team by making a poll before the game and getting everybody's opinion.”

With Bayern Munich winning again against Dinamo Zagreb, 5-0, Wenger’s team need to take some points from the German champions over their two back-to-back games. The club last exited the Champions League at the group stage competition 15 years ago. They have been beaten in the round of 16 for the last five years straight.

Wenger said: “It leaves us in a bad position, but we are still in it. We have to think that we can deal with Zagreb and Olympiakos away from home and we have to make a result in our next game against Bayern Munich at home. We are not out of it.”