We were all elated when Arsenal signed Petr Cech a few years back. A good keeper, still in his relative prime? Yes please. And he’s largely lived up to the hype - not sure he’s delivered the promised 12 points a season, but Cech has been a pretty solid keeper while Szcz has his Italian adventure.
Problem is, Arsene Wenger, like a lot of modern managers, has long been a fan of the irritating practice of having a “Cup keeper” - in other words, rewarding the starting keeper’s backup with starts in FA and League Cup competitions, and sticking with that keeper even if the team makes it to the final, as some sort of...I don’t know what. Loyalty reward? Guarantee of at least a little playing time? Anyway, it’s a habit I wish that managers would get out of. But they won’t.
It’s in that light that I bring you news that tomorrow’s starting goalkeeper is...David Ospina. Despite the fact that he’s only made two starts in this year’s FA Cup, he’s the “Cup keeper” so of course he starts against Chelsea, even though the team employs Petr Cech.
I try really hard to keep faith in Arsene Wenger, even as I want him to exit gracefully. And I don’t hate David Ospina all that much. But I definitely prefer Petr Cech, I think he’s a better keeper, and I also think that Cech should reap the rewards of having played an entire season for Arsenal and be the starting Cup Final goalkeeper. But that’s not the world in which we live, so here we are, praying David Ospina can help marshal a very shaky, injury-and-suspension-hit backline to a Cup Final victory.