February 8, 2018 / 10:01 AM / 3 months ago

Soccer-Wenger delays keeper decision for Spurs game

LONDON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will decide on Friday whether to play Petr Cech or Daniel Ospina in goal for Saturday’s north London Premier League derby against Tottenham Hotspur.

Cech suffered a calf injury in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Everton and was substituted by Ospina after 71 minutes.

But he has recovered well and is in line for a recall.

“Cech or Ospina, I will make that decision tomorrow,” said Wenger. “Petr Cech has not practised but I will not take any risk if he is not 100 percent fit.”

Wenger also hopes to have Nacho Monreal and Danny Welbeck available for the game.

The game is the first time Wenger has taken Arsenal to play Spurs at Wembley, a ground where the Gunners traditionally thrive, winning the FA Cup final in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

“We feel we have a good level of performance at Wembley, but it will all come down to the day,” said Wenger.

“What Wembley gives you is a good pitch to allow you to play the way you want to play.”

Arsenal go into the game in sixth place, four points behind Spurs and five off a Champions League qualifying spot.

“I know the importance of this game and it is a chance to close in on a Champions League spot. We are behind in the table and have to catch up,” said Wenger, who will face Spurs for the 52nd time in his 22 years as Arsenal manager.

“There is always huge passion. I worked with Pat Rice for many years and he quickly got me on that territory.

“It is always a game more charged emotionally for everyone but this season for us it is a very important game in terms of the table.

“The players know how important it is and you have to find a balance between being rational and emotional.” (Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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