Why have some of our fans turned against David Ospina?

Why do some fans hate Big Dave?

I’m writing this article for two reasons: the first one is stated in the title and will essentially be the crux of this piece. I will get to it in a bit, after saying a few words on the second point, which I consider no less important.

Namely: I wanted to bid farewell to David Ospina. This is what he was recently quoted saying:

“They [Fenerbahce] are dealing with my agent. At the moment the only thoughts I have are for Colombia. I will not betray my team.”

This confirms earlier reports that Fenerbahce have indeed made an offer for our current №1. While Ospina didn’t say “a deal is completed and I’ll leave for Fenerbahce after the Copa America” the mere fact he’s having talks with other clubs means Arsene has given the green light for the Colombian to leave. Amid all the Cech speculation gathering pace (Sky Sports and David Ornstein, arguably the most reliable sources after dot.com, have gone on record saying the transfer is close to completion), it’s understandable. Moreover, I’ve heard Ospina himself wants to leave if Cech comes in, simply because he doesn’t want to be relegated to the bench again, something that will inevitably happen, as Cech’s intention is to play regularly, otherwise there would be no incentive to leave Chelsea in the first place.

He will come in as №1 or he won’t come in at all

I get Ospina completely. He came in as a firm №2, battled his place from inconsistent Szczesny and produced a string of solid performances. Yes, the Colombian wasn’t flawless, but his mistakes are few and far between, while his calming influence on the defense cannot be measured (and therefore, appreciated) enough. Why should he start on the bench having done so little wrong? He deserves to be №1, in fact, I’m pretty sure he would have remained our №1 if Cech had been unavailable.

If it was up to me, I’d leave Ospina and loan out or sell Szczesny. As it is, Ospina will probably seek pastures new this summer and not because Arsene doesn’t want him. It’s sad really. So I would like to take this opportunity and wish Ospina all the best at Fenerbahce or wherever he ends up. Farewell, my friend.

Farewell, my friend

And now onto my first point. As soon as Arsenal’s fanbase caught whiff of the fact Ospina could be the one to leave should Cech come in, something I haven’t expected (and wasn’t prepared for) started: fans began to mock, ridicule and abuse our Colombian goalie. All his mistakes were brought out in the open and dissected, all his drawbacks (at least they looked like drawbacks to these fans) were recalled. In a nutshell, our keeper became a pantomime villain, a persona non grata, a mediocre shot stopper. A nobody, for whom no respect and/or love should be expressed. So in my article I’ll try to find a logical explanation to this highly illogical behavior.

Is David Ospina a bad player?

No and he’s definitely nowhere near as bad as people make him out to be. Sure, he made a couple of mistakes, but it’s part and parcel of being a football player. Just because Ospina is a goalkeeper, his mistakes are easier to isolate and beat him with. I liked how @JokmanAFC summed it up in his article:

“All goalkeepers have a thankless task. If you play well, you will receive a modicum of praise but it is to be expected. They have one job, to deny goals being scored. Just fulfill the task given. If they drop a clanger, then it is scrutinised to its core and stories regarding poor form will abound. All thanks to one mistake.”

For every Monaco performance there’s a Galatasaray one (remember that game?). For every Swansea there’s a Sunderland. For one mistake against West Brom there’s a string of saves against Tottenham, one which spared us the blushes of being swept aside at White Hart Lane.

Ospina was brilliant against Tottenham

Yes, Ospina doesn’t look like a Hollywood shot-stopper; however this doesn’t mean he is a bad goalkeeper. He came in right after Szczesny’s debacle at St. Mary’s and, while the improved performances since January the 4th are not down to Ospina alone, he has still done a very important job at a hard time. Simply by going about his business in a calm and professional manner. Having such a goalkeeper helps the defenders psychologically. Yes, Ospina may not be great; yes, he may have had the benefit of playing behind a settled back four and an in-form Francis Coquelin; however, he made his contribution and it was a telling one.

Is David Ospina a bad person?

That was Flamini’s downfall. Flamini is not a great player, but he gave the fans a legitimate reason to be unhappy with him by leaving in the manner he did. While I personally won’t hate him (maybe because I didn’t remember how he left and had to be  reminded), I can kind of understand other fans. They go overboard with their hate, surely they do, but there is a reason.

This part is not applicable to David Ospina. As is the case with on-field, he appears calm and professional off it. Likeable even, dare I say. Just look at this bit from his interview with the Guardian:

I think that when you are going through difficult times, you have to ensure you are working twice as hard and you are always prepared. You have to hold your head up, too. You can’t be moping and all downtrodden. You need to be prepared in training during these difficult moments and just be ready to grasp any opportunity when it comes.”

He took his chance well

There’s more to him than this particular bit, but I can’t take another quote without ripping it out of the valuable context. Read the article in full here, you won’t regret spending your time and will get a clearer picture of what a man Ospina is.

Wrapping it up

Having scrapped out the obvious, there are only two reasons left why the fans are chastising out Colombian shot-stopper and neither are good enough in my book:

  1. Fans somehow think Szczesny is the guy with potential, while Ospina has already peaked. Hence if they had to choose who leaves should we buy Cech, they’ll pick Ospina most of the time
  2. Some are scared that as long as we have two international goalkeepers at the Club, a 3rd one won’t join, so they want to get rid of one of the two as quickly as possible

Both arguments are flawed. I get fans are more attached to Szczesny because he loves the Club and has been here longer than his Colombian counterpart, however, saying “Szczesny can be world-class and Ospina can’t” is shooting for the stars. Only a year separates them. Ospina had a solid first season, his season of adaptation, while Szczesny is either too hot or too cold and it has been the case with him for five years now. He only seems to play well when in danger of losing his place. Also, if he couldn’t get his head straight for so long, who said he suddenly will when Cech joins? And please stop saying Ospina can’t be world-class. You don’t know that and David is still young. Not much older than Szczesny at least.

Only a year apart

The second argument is no argument at all. If Arsene wants to bring in Cech and Cech wants to join Arsenal, then he will. He will do so after receiving reassurances he’ll be №1, so worrying on that front is silly, chastising Ospina is downright stupid.

So I struggle to understand why Big Dave attracts such hatred, having done so little wrong. But then I struggle to understand many things. Like how you can clap Fabregas and boo Sagna at the same time. Or blame Ozil for shirt-swapping. Or want Song back.

All of this makes me really sad. At times like these, I don’t want to be associated with GoonerFamily.

I’ll leave it here. Hope I gave you something to chew on

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14 Responses to Why have some of our fans turned against David Ospina?

  1. Louis June 24, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    Ospina was a great addition to Arsenal last season, you will always get some fans, for whatever reason, who dont like or appreciate a particular player even when they have done little wrong. This phenomenon is not particular to Arsenal but every club with a fanbase.
    It is obvious that one of our keepers will leave given that Cech will in all probability become Arsenals no1. I would suggest that this would have to be Ospina, not because of ability, potential or loyalty but because Szczesny is classed as a home grown player. If Ospina stays then we will have to find another home grown player to replace Szczesny to fulfill our quota.

    • Alex June 24, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

      We actually have ten homegrown (with Jenkinson). So even if Szczesny leaves and Jenko goes on loan, we’ll still have 8. And from next season on we’ll be able to register Chambers and Bellerin as homegrown. Maybe even Gnabry and Akpom, should they make the cut. So I don’t really see a problem in losing one homegrown

  2. Janet Cohen June 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

    Just seen your article reposted on the arsenal away boyz site – absolutely spot on – seen some really uncalled for comments about Ospina since Arsenal took interest in Czech and quite frankly they are making my blood boil. I can be pretty biased when it comes to Arsenal players if I want to be (good friend with Anders Limpar so would not have a bad word said about him) but surely everyone could see that Ospina was the main reason that the second half of our season worked so well – without him and his calming influence we probably would not have qualified so easily for the champions league! Once again great article!

    • Alex June 24, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

      I think our players need to be backed as long as they remain our players – simple as that. No one will benefit if we chastise them, especially if the critique is undeserved or just overboard. I also have a soft spot for Ospina, maybe because I tend to think he helped us much more than given for. Anyway, thanks for the feedback! Appreciate it

  3. stevoo June 24, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

    its absolutely nonsense to have allowed such a gud goalkeeper to leave emirate, I think they (wenger & board) are getting it wrong after his scintillating firs year performance. he shuld have given another chance even at the event of Cech’s absence, he’s better and composed at the goal than the so called Scszny who’s developing to smoking cigarette other than his main responsibility, he shuld be allowed to try his luck elsewhere in other learn. I don’t actually condemn his potential bt his inability to grow in arsenal shirts despite having 5 years of experience at the emirate. I urge Sesz to seek experience elsewhere, his dad’s comments atimes seen as a bad influence on the player. the arrival of Cech will determine where they will be (Arsenal included). so cruxification of Ospina at this point in time not justified.

  4. james101b June 24, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

    Great article again Alex, I too feel sad that we have let down a good player and some fans are turning against him. However, I think you missed out the obvious reason why some fans are very critical of Ospina and appearing happy for him to leave. To be a fan is an emotional attachment to the squad and club. Just as a divorcing couple find and actively look for reasons to hate rather than love their partner, some fans feel less guilty at letting a player go if they look at his negative aspects rather than his positive contribution to the team. Also, remember its not a majority that thinks like this, just a vocal minority who sound louder as we all feel the guilt.

    • Alex June 24, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

      I haven’t thought about it. Sounds logical. And I really hope the fans who are calling for Ospina’s head are in the minority. Sometimes good players go – that’s the harsh reality, but you are absolutely right: we shouldn’t condemn them. We should thank them for the contribution, admit that sometimes good players leave and move on. Thanks for the comment!

  5. sizz June 24, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

    What most of you just fail to understand is
    Ospina came at a time our defence became
    settled with coq in instead of flamini, koscielny
    back and also bellerin instead of chambers..Ospin
    a isnt really has good as some of you make him
    and has allowed shit balls in like
    against monaco, spurs, west brom and
    swansea…szczesny is waay better, he had to
    play with monreal at CB, chambers at RB and the
    reckless flamini at CDM, that should surely result
    in poor form…he had one bad game
    against soton and all of you slated him totally
    forgetting that he was our saviour against west
    ham just a week before and also saved us from
    embarassment against dortmund, a game we
    should have conceded at least 5goals…smh..s
    ome of you also forget he won the golden glove
    award the season before..smh…I will rather have
    szczesny anyday as back up to cech than ospina,
    cos even with a settled back four he still looked
    shaky alot of times, his postioning is very
    questionable and his height makes it hard for him
    to come out to get crosses(resulting in the west
    brom goal) and save high balls (david luiz’s
    freekick in the WC)… even in
    colombia’s first game at the copa vs Venezuela
    he conceded a very cheap goal which resulted to
    be the only goal of the game…smh I think he is
    good enough for
    a mid table team not arsenal…..try to see beyond
    your love for his chant and you would be able to

    • Alex June 24, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

      I don’t deny I have an affection for the man. I also don’t deny he had the benefit of playing behind a settled back four and Coquelin (I believe I mentioned it above). Yes, he conceded some cheap goals, but, as I said, he had a calming influence on the defense. We don’t know whether Szczesny would have done better with a settled back four, however, I believe Ospina contributed to this defense’s overall success with his calming presence and professional attitude. Szczesny lacks both of these qualities. I don’t deny he bailed us out of trouble even this season, I remeber he was very good against West Ham and I certainly was very happy for him when he got the Golden Glove: I believed he was finally fulfilling his potential. However, it doesn’t look to be the case this season. He looks to have made a step back, both on and off the pitch. Southampton isn’t the sole reason I prefer Ospina to him. It’s his overall attitude, which is not acceptable for a top-tier goalkeeper. I’d certainly much rather have a calm and professional Ospina on the bench to an inconsistent and cocky Szczesny who has frequent rushes if blood that prove costly more often than Ospina’s height or play on crosses

    • LGM June 25, 2015 at 2:45 am #

      Sizz, I invite you te review and watch the Copa America Colombia vs Venezuela game in its entirety. Venezuela’s goal wasn’t the greatest however, it wasn’t cheap nor it was Ospina’s fault. As a matter of fact, if you watch the first half of this game, Ospina had 3 crucial saves. Colombia did not play well and that is why they lost. Mind you, I am not a fan but, I believe Arsenal fans are being unfair and over-critical. If you review the performance of the team before and after Ospina took over the #1 spot, you’ll noticed a very dramatic and positive change on Arsenal’s performance. Did he make mistakes? Yes he did but, his good games overshadow his few errors. At this point, you and the rest of the arsenal fans are getting what you wished for so good luck, be safe, and looking forward to beginning of the season. FYI, no GK in the world would have been able to stop David Luis’ goal in the world cup.

  6. Tathy June 24, 2015 at 11:44 pm #

    I agree with you, he is a good keeper and great person, but I think the reason they are selling him and no Woj, i because there is a team that really wants Ospina (they want him before ans he choose Arsenal) and I have not heard any team asking for Szczesny, so they will sell Ospina for more money than what he costed so is a business win, but I think is unfair he was very happy at arsenal ans he is loyal, at least he waz at Nice.

  7. Nick Birch June 26, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    My opinion of Ospina has remained the same from the first time I saw him, I haven’t suddenly turned against him simply because of our interest in Cech.

    The defence did seem to be more confident in front of Ospina than Szczesny at times but because of the influence and improvement Coquelin has had on the shape and balance of our side it’s difficult to truly compare the two and it would have been interesting to see what Ospina’s performances would have been like playing in the side before Coquelin’s emergence and a defence with Chambers at full back and Monreal in the middle.

    I think Ospina has been incredibly lucky that only a handful of his errors have led directly to goals, I blame him for more than one goal however, I just think some people have got so caught up in thinking it’s only Szczesny who makes mistakes and this has blinded them to Ospina’s limitations.

    If Szczesny had made some of the errors Ospina has there’s no doubt in my mind that they would have been highlighted and put under more scrutiny, people have short memories and forget Szczesny’s man of the match performance away at West Ham where he dominated his area in a way that Ospina simply isn’t capable.

    As already mentioned, Ospina has made very few mistakes that have led directly to goals but some of his attempted punches have been pathetic, he’s a decent shot stopper when shots are within a yard of his body as his reflexes in those circumstances are rapid, sadly he’s slow getting down when the ball is further away from him as demonstrated against Swansea and for Columbia recently, he’s also never put in a performance that has won us points like the very best goalkeepers do.

    Arsenal supporters and Wenger need to lose this mentality that a player doesn’t deserve to be replaced because he’s ‘done alright’ for us, if you want to improve and a player becomes available who’s a class above who we currently have in that position then there’s no time for sentiment I’m afraid.

    If we were offered Suarez and it meant losing Giroud then I’m sure every single one of us would say yes, to me this is the goalkeeping equivalent so I’m confused what the problem is?

    If Ospina is top class then why isn’t there a queue of top clubs chasing his signature…..


  1. Cech’s signing speaks not only about Arsene’s intentions, it also shows he has rediscovered his ruthless touch | Gunners Town - July 1, 2015

    […] However, I’ve come to treat stats with caution. For example, David Ospina’s save percentage over his last two seasons is 83-84% (that includes his season with Nice, Arsenal and two international tournaments), yet few are convinced he is the long-term answer. As we can see, even Arsene is unconvinced, so much so he went out and bought Cech. It probably signals the end to Ospina’s career, unless the Colombian suddenly changes his mind and decides he wants to play back-up to Cech. Seems unlikely to me, so farewell David Ospina. You can read my tribute to him here. […]

  2. Cech’s signing speaks not only about Arsene’s intentions, it also shows he has rediscovered his ruthless touch | ArsFeed - July 2, 2015

    […] However, I’ve come to treat stats with caution. For example, David Ospina’s save percentage over his last two seasons is 83-84% (that includes his season with Nice, Arsenal and two international tournaments), yet few are convinced he is the long-term answer. As we can see, even Arsene is unconvinced, so much so he went out and bought Cech. It probably signals the end to Ospina’s career, unless the Colombian suddenly changes his mind and decides he wants to play back-up to Cech. Seems unlikely to me, so farewell David Ospina. You can read my tribute to him here. […]

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