Arsene Wenger has defended his decision to rest Petr Cech for Arsenal’s Champions League group stage game against Olympiacos and playing David Ospina.
Arsenal lost to the Greek Super League champions 3-2 at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night in what was the Greek side’s first-ever victory on English soil after 12 failed attempts and Ospina was single out for a costly mistake for the second goal.
After a deflected opener for Olympiacos through Felipe Pardo and a Theo Walcott equaliser for the hosts, Ospina failed to deal with a simple corner from Kostas Fortounis and fumbled the ball over the line. Arsenal hit back again through Alexis Sanchez, but Olympiacos sealed the victory when substitute Alfred Finnbogason swept home shortly afterwards.
Wenger was asked if he regretted the decision to prefer Ospina to Cech, the Frenchman replied, “I honestly don’t want to go into that conversation with you.”
The Arsenal boss confirmed Cech, who also sat out the defeat to Dynamo Zagreb in the previous Group F fixture, had a slight injury before the Leicester game and clearly did not want to take a gamble with Premier League leaders Manchester United visiting the Emirates on Sunday.
He added: “I make the decisions and selections for the team and I’m responsible for it. I know many things that you don’t know and that you ignore. You cannot select a team by using a poll and getting everyone’s opinion before the game.
“I do not have to sit here and give you any explanation to every decision I make. You are capable of judging and I leave you to that. No keeper is mistake-free, it could have happened to Petr Cech as well.”
Arsenal is now is serious trouble and has a huge task at their hands to qualify for the round of 16. After the two defeats against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos, they have a double header against a high-flying Bayern Munich but Wenger seemed confident about his side’s progress to the next round.
“It puts us in a bad position, but we are still in it,” said Wenger.
“We have to think we can deal with Zagreb and Olympiacos and we need a result in our next game away from home against Bayern Munich.”
“Some aspects of our game were quite good, but I thought we lacked quality defensive concentration and we played against Olympiacos who defended very well.
“I believe we had a bit of bad luck as well because they had four shots on target and scored three goals and that happens once in 100 Champions League games.”
Meanwhile, Olympiakos manager Marco silva hailed his players for the heroic victory.
“Whichever team comes here to win needs to know how to suffer, to put up with the pressure and I think that was one of the key features here today,” he said.
“We ran a lot and resisted when Arsenal try and tire you, we were very well-organised defensively and had quick response to Arsenal’s goals which is very important.”
Arsenal has a huge task in their hands if they want to qualify for the round of 16 which they succeeded to do in every season.