Wojciech Szczesny demonstrated last season that he can be a capable, reliable goalkeeper worthy of a place in a side boasting similar aspirations to Arsenal, but he also proved he’s not adverse to relapsing into his calamitous, blunder-laden ways of bygone seasons.
Without a more dependable adversary to usurp him from the onion bag, the young Pole has been able to mistakes knowing he’d be picked for the next game regardless.
But David Ospina’s Emirates arrival means Szczesny will have to manage without his comfort blanket henceforth, as he now has genuine competition for the number one jersey in Arsene Wenger’s side.
The Colombian gloveman impressed at the World Cup and, at just £3.2m, looks to be a shrewd signing for the north Londoners.
He can be backed at 7/5 to start more Premier League games for the Gunners in 2014/15, with Szczesny – who, Wenger has said, will start the season as first choice – the 1/2 favourite.
Examining their stats from last season, it appears the incumbent number one’s tenure will be short-lived, with their digits displayed in this nowhere-to-hide bwinfographic:
It’s Szczesny who was the superior clean sheet keeper, but the fact that Ospina was only four behind him speaks volumes about how good a keeper he is.
The 25-year-old kept goal for Ligue 1 strugglers Nice, who survived in l’Championnat by two points last season, whereas his new teammate was the last line of defence for a club challenging for the title and, therefore, spent the majority of their matches in possession of the ball.
Ospina’s better averages in terms of goals shipped per match and saves made prior to conceding indicate that beating him was a much tougher task than it was Szczesny.
Should he replicate these standards when called upon at Arsenal, Wenger will find it increasingly hard to keep him in reserve, making it well worth gambling on the outsider to surpass the favourite in terms of top-tier starts made this season.