Scouting Report: Is David Ospina Arsenal's Solution to Goalkeeping Crisis?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJune 29, 2014

Arsenal need a top-flight backup to No. 1 Wojciech Szczesny, so will Nice's Colombian international David Ospina—a 25-year-old, 6'0", 174-pound goalkeeper—be targeted in the summer transfer window? 

This month, Ospina was linked with a move to Arsenal, per Alan Nixon at the Mirror, so here is a scouting report on Colombia's shot-stopper. 

 

Grading Ospina vs. Uruguay: A+

History will remember Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar as the undisputed star in a penalty shootout win over Chile at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Though, history will underplay Ospina's contributions to Colombia's 2-0 win over Uruguay.

Why? He was overshadowed by teammate James Rodriguez.

James played a free-roaming role and stole the headlines with two goals, thus putting himself in pole position to win the World Cup Golden Ball (most valuable player) and Golden Boot (top scorer). 

Yet, the quiet achiever was Ospina, who kept Uruguay out of the game. 

"We had to take risks to reduce the deficit, but we came up against a 'keeper who performed extraordinarily well," Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez said, per FIFA.com. "[Ospina] didn't let us back into the match."

While Ospina showed up when it counted, Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera had no answers to James' brilliance. 

 

Ospina Nice Positives

Ospina moves smoothly laterally and consistently kept Nice in games. 

He demonstrated first-rate dexterity by simultaneously saving and snatching a header from Marseille left attacking midfielder Andre Ayew.

Guingamp centre-forward Mustapha Yatabare forced Ospina into pulling off an outstanding one-handed save.

Ospina swiftly cut off Bordeaux centre-forward Jussie's shooting angle.

Anticipating the direction of Marseille central attacking midfielder Mathieu Valbuena's penalty, Ospina dived to the right to thwart the spot-kick.

Ospina can also save penalties to the left as apparent when he stopped Rennes central attacking midfielder Foued Kadir from scoring.

 

Ospina Nice Negatives

The biggest weakness in Ospina's game is overcommitting.  

Ospina whiffed on a tackle letting Lyon centre-forward Alexandre Lacazette score.

Following through on Paris Saint-Germain left-forward Ezequiel Lavezzi led to Ospina conceding a penalty and getting a red card.

Instead of winning the ball cleanly, Ospina was sent off after impeding then-Lyon (now Swansea City) centre-forward Bafetimbi Gomis to give away a penalty.

Out of position, Ospina failed to steal the ball from AC Milan's Montpellier loanee M'Baye Niang.

PSG central midfielder Javier Pastore bamboozled Ospina before playing in then-PSG (now AC Milan) deep-lying forward Jeremy Menez.

 

Bottom Line

League OnlyDavid OspinaWojciech Szczesny
   
Games Played2937
Saves108 [1]113
Saves Per Game 3.73.1
Saves Per Goal Conceded4.52.8
Clean Sheets1216
   

[1] blocks included. 

Sources: Ligue1.com and the official Premier League website.


Nice conceded 0.83 goals when Ospina played.

It inflated to 2.22 under Nice backups Lucas Veronese and Mouez Hassen, giving you an idea of how valuable Ospina was.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger does not have a viable backup to push Szczesny.

Ospina's World Cup displays reinforce the notion that he is Arsenal quality. 

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScored.com

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