Wenger explains Cech omission against Stoke

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed to Sky Sports that goalkeeper Petr Cech missed Sunday’s 3-0 win over Stoke City due to a groin injury picked up before the game.

With the 35-year-old absent against the Potters, David Ospina deputised and kept a clean sheet as the Gunners picked up consecutive Premier League wins and closed the gap between them and Chelsea.

Arsenal have CSKA Moscow in the Europa League quarter-final on Thursday but Wenger is confident that Cech should be back in time for the trip to Russia.

“He [Petr Cech] woke up on Saturday with a sore groin and he’s not available. I hope he will be available for Thursday but he couldn’t play,” he said.

 “Look, I picked a team who has two opportunities: one to win the game and secondly for some players who travelled a lot, played two international games to recover,”

Cech has made 32 appearances in all competitions this season, conceding 42 goals and keeping 11 clean sheets. The Czech international has only featured once in the Europa League and is likely to make way for Ospina anyway, so Arsenal only need to worry about him being fit for their next domestic outing.

The Gunners welcome Southampton to the Emirates just three days after their meeting with CSKA. Cech should be back to full fitness. His future has been uncertain due to inconsistent form and his contract entering its final year. Both Cech and Ospina are out of contract in 2019 and have yet to agree terms on an extension.

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Crippy can be found on Twitter (@CrippyCooke). He is a sports journalist who has written for the Independent, Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph among others. Crippy treats football gossip with a dash of cynicism and loves tearing apart outlandish rumours.

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