• Premier League

Szczesny is Arsenal's No.1 but has to compete

ESPN staff
January 12, 2015
Wojciech Szczesny was left out against Stoke © Getty Images

Arsene Wenger says Wojciech Szczesny is Arsenal's No.1 but insists that the goalkeeper has to compete after dropping him for the 3-0 win over Stoke.

Szczesny was left out at the Emirates Stadium, having been disciplined for reportedly smoking in the showers after Arsenal's 2-0 defeat at Southampton, where he had been directly responsible for both goals conceded.

His replacement, David Ospina, was largely a bystander against Stoke and Wenger gave little away when asked who would start in goal at Manchester City next Sunday.

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"I don't know, I haven't made a decision yet," said Wenger.

"I made a decision for today's game. Szczesny is our No.1. He is competing with Ospina and [Emiliano] Martinez and that's our job. We have to accept that."

Szczesny's father had even waded into the debate last week, saying his son should not be singled out for the club's "disastrous" defensive failings this season.

But Wenger insisted his decision to opt for Ospina against Stoke had nothing to do with Szczesny's indiscretion at St Mary's on January 1.

"I don't want to talk too much about that because the more I talk, the less I inform you," Wenger said.

When asked how Szczesny took the news he would be on the bench, Wenger said: "I don't know, but how can you take a decision? You know how you can take a decision."

Wenger has also confirmed Mathieu Debuchy suffered a dislocated shoulder after colliding with the Emirates Stadium advertising boards.

Right-back Debuchy was pushed towards the hoardings by Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic but Wenger said that the challenge "did not look bad".

With Kieran Gibbs also out, Wenger reiterated his plan to sign a defender in the January transfer window.

"The only negative today is that we lost another experienced defender with a dislocated shoulder," he said. "That gives us a problem because we are already short of experienced players at the back. We were in the market anyway.

"[Nacho] Monreal and Debuchy can play centre-back, but if Gibbs is not here Monreal cannot play centre-back and if Debuchy is not here he cannot play centre-back. This is a position where we are short."

Mathieu Debuchyfaces another spell on the sidelines © Getty Images
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