This week, in a series of blogs, we are going to look at who should make up the starting 11 for this Saturdays FA Cup final against Aston Villa. Starting from the back, today we make the case for the goalkeepers.
I have never been a fan of rotating goalkeepers for cup competitions. Fair enough ,the League Cup when you rotate the whole team, but the FA Cup is more prestigious. You should play your strongest side. And that means your strongest goal keeper. So based on that, David Ospina should really start, he is number one at the moment.
He has come in for some criticism recently. Clearly at fault for WBA’s consolation goal at the weekend, he also had to shoulder some blame for Swansea’s winner a few weeks previous. A shot he could have saved. And this is perhaps my issues with him. He rarely makes a save he has no right to make.
With a Premier League high save percentage of 80.7%, he is clearly a safe pair of hands. He will not lose you a game, but I also do not feel he will win you a game. He makes saves you should make, but rarely pulls off one which he has no right to make.
When the 3rd round of the FA Cup kicked off. Szczesny was not in goal. He has only just had THAT game against Southampton, where he was in far from smoking hot form. Ospina played the 3rd round of the FA Cup, and has not looked back ,leaving Szczesny on the bench watching on.
I felt for Szczesny last season, performing well in the league, but watching on from the bench as compatriot and soon to leave Lukasz Fabianski was between the sticks against Hull City in the final. Whilst Szczesny got a winners medal, I am sure every time he looks at it he feels he did not really earn it.
Whilst I think you should play your best goalkeeper, after last season’s decision to start Fabianski, it would now be very, very harsh to drop Szczesny for the final, even if he has barely played for 5 months.
Szczesny is the polar opposite to Ospina. He makes errors. Let’s in shots that he really should save. But then pulls of World Class stops. He wins games. Keeps us in games. He saves shots that he really has no right to save
So who would start for you in the FA Cup Final?