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Arsene Wenger will start David Ospina against Atletico Madrid in Arsenal’s crunch Europa League semi-final first-leg clash despite the reservations of his players, according to reports.
The Gunners take on Diego Simeone’s men on Thursday night at the Emirates, with the competition their last remaining hope of silverware and a route back into the Champions League.
However, despite the importance of the match, The Mirror report that Wenger will not return No.1 goalkeeper Petr Cech to the starting XI despite the veteran returning to full fitness.
Cech missed Sunday’s thumping 4-1 victory over West Ham with a hip injury but is back in training and most of the squad had assumed he would be between the sticks against Atletico.
But Wenger has ignored his players and surprised them by choosing to stand by Ospina, who is considered the cup goalkeeper and played in eight of their Europa League matches so far.
Wenger’s decision is something of a gamble given Ospina’s rather inconsistent showings in the past, especially with Arsenal’s entire season – and Wenger’s legacy – hinging on the Europa League.