Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina has told IBTimes UK that he is relishing the battle with Wojciech Szczesny for the club’s number one spot.
Ospina, 26, was signed from French club Nice in the summer for £3 million following his starring World Cup performances, but began the season as the backup to his Polish counterpart, before missing several weeks with a thigh problem.
However, the Colombia international has since started the past four league games after Szczesny was reportedly disciplined for smoking in the showers following the New Year’s Day defeat to Southampton, proving his worth with clean sheets in victories against Stoke, Manchester City and Aston Villa, respectively.
A disappointing 2-1 defeat to north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend served as somewhat of a setback, but the 49-times capped shot-stopper is not letting the result affect his mindset amid the fight for the starting job.
“I have to keep proving myself in every game and unfortunately [against Tottenham] I couldn't secure a clean sheet,” he said. “But I have to keep working. There is a very healthy competition [with Szczesny] and we have to be at 100% [to keep the role].
"I have to keep working in every game and in every training session to keep taking advantage of the opportunity.
"Tottenham did the right things. They pressed well and scored two goals to overcome the result. We tried to play our game but they got the victory."
Szczesny’s questionable performances prior to being dropped should leave Ospina confident of keeping the role long-term if he can maintain his recent form, although manager Arsene Wenger declared last week that he is still not the first-choice at this point.
“David Ospina has had some time to settle because he was injured when he arrived here,” the Frenchman told Standard Sport.
“During that time we could see his dedication, his focus and his quality. He's in a fight with Wojciech Szczęsny to start at the moment. Wojciech is the No1 but David has played recently.
"Can he retain the shirt in the coming games? We'll decide that. I don't forget Emiliano Martinez either, who I rate highly. We have three top goalkeepers and the fight for who starts is going on."