Wojciech Szczesny: Arsene Wenger says he does not know if 'No 1' or David Ospina will play against Manchester City

The Arsenal No 1 appears to have paid price for form and discipline

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The Independent Football

Arsène Wenger insisted Wojciech Szczesny’s smoking was not behind his surprise relegation to the Arsenal bench for Sunday’s victory over Stoke City.

David Ospina continued in goal for the Gunners’ first Premier League game since Szczesny’s infamous dressing-room cigarette at Southampton on New Year’s Day.

While Wenger said that Szczesny remains his “No 1” goalkeeper, he gave a cryptic response when asked why he was dropped, before stating it was only for “football reasons”. When asked to explain his decision, Wenger said: “I don’t want to talk too much about that, because the more I talk, the less I inform you.”

Pressed further on whether Szczesny’s smoking – which has led to a club fine – was the reason for his being dropped, the manager insisted: “No, honestly no.”

Asked how Szczesny took the news of his demotion, Wenger added: “I don’t know, how can you take a decision? You know how you can take a decision.”

Ospina, in his first Premier League appearance, nearly spilled one deflected cross early in the first half but other than that had a solid game, so Wenger will have a crucial decision to make when he chooses his goalkeeper for Sunday’s visit to title-chasing Manchester City. Wenger said he did not know whether Szczesny or Ospina would start at the Etihad Stadium.


“I haven’t made a decision yet,” he said. “I made a decision for today’s game. Szczesny is our No 1, he is competing with Ospina and [Emi] Martinez. That’s our job, we have to accept it.”

Wenger revealed that full-back Mathieu Debuchy had dislocated his shoulder after he was pushed over by Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic in the first half. “We need a diagnosis from a specialist and we don’t know yet,” Wenger said, “but he will certainly not play next week.” The manager admitted that leaves Arsenal “short” in defence.