Arsenal legend Paul Merson has questioned Arsene Wenger’s team selection in the Gunners’ Champions League defeat at the hands of Olympiakos.
The Frenchman dropped the north London club’s only summer signing Petr Cech to the bench. The former Chelsea goalkeeper was replaced by David Ospina for the midweek European clash.
The Colombian international’s error saw him concede a goal as Arsenal suffered a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Greek club. It is the Emirates club’s second defeat in the Europe’s elite club competition after their first defeat at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb.
The former Gunners winger has is baffled by Wenger’s decision to start Ospina ahead of experienced Cech. Merson believes his former club’s chances of progressing to knockout stages of the Champions League looks slim.
“It was a must-win game for Arsenal and they should have played their best team. Why English clubs don’t play their best team beats me,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“If you look at Barcelona – who played Bayer Leverkusen – Messi was injured and they still played their strongest team. For Arsenal to make one signing for the whole year and not play him in the two biggest games of the season so far is beyond me.
“People say Arsenal have made it difficult for themselves but, for me, progression is now out of their hands. If Olympiakos or Dinamo Zagreb do the double over each other, then Arsenal are out – they are not going to beat Bayern Munich.
“Bayern Munich are the best team in the world at the moment, not Europe, the world. Arsenal have to completely rely on the results in the other two games. If either of those teams do the double, Arsenal will have to get nine points and I don’t see them getting nine points.”
If Arsenal would have won the clash, it would have gone in Wenger’s favour. However, two defeats in the Champions League clash has caused the matter of worry. Ospina was in between the posts when the Gunners enjoyed a good run in the second half of the last season.
He was the first choice keeper for Colombia in the 2015 Copa America clash. An error from the player should not warrant him a chance to be criticised. Cech is an experienced goalkeeper that the South American, but Ospina is also a top player.
Wenger’s decision to start Ospina should not be criticised as it was a poor display from Arsenal players resulted in their defeat against Olympiakos.