Arsenal’s Petr Cech Shows Class Is Permanent


You could have forgiven a few Arsenal fans who might have thought that Jose Mourinho had cursed goalkeeper Petr Cech, after Chelsea sold him to Arsenal for £10m this summer.

The international goalie’s Premier League debut for the Gunners couldn’t have gone much worse. He was probably at fault for both goals as West Ham United came to the Emirates and recorded a 2-0 victory over Arsenal on the opening day of the season.

That wasn’t part of Arsene Wenger’s script when he signed the usually reliable number one!

An average Arsenal performance in a 2-1 away win over Crystal Palace followed.

But last night, we all saw first hand why Wenger was so keen to bring in Cech.

I still for the life of me cannot understand how the league fixture between Arsenal and Liverpool finished goalless last night. Each side had dodgy halves and shaky defences. Both sides created decent chances and both made some woeful passes. Yet neither side could make a breakthrough.

The Gunners had Cech to thank for their cleansheet.

Veteran rock Petr had a new defensive partnering of Gabriel Paulista and Calum Chambers playing in front of him.

In the first half the new centre-back pairing struggled to cope as Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino found plenty of space in and around them. Then there was big target-man Christian Benteke, who would bully past them at every opportunity.

A lack of communication at the back, along with nerves and what looked like a distinct absence of match sharpness made it seem at times as if it was Cech against the Liverpool forward line during much of the first half.

That’s a bit of a disservice to Francis Coquelin, the midfield general tried his upmost to disrupt Liverpool’s rhythm and win the ball back when he could.

But it was still thirty-three year old Cech that was Arsenal’s top player and the games man of the match.

He seemed to make save after save in the first half of the match.

The Czech Republic international produced a world class stop to prevent Benteke from giving Liverpool the lead.

Firmino put in a fast, low cross and it found its way to his Belgian striker. With the goal gapping Benteke steered the ball low towards goal at a decent pace. But Cech was on his toes and dived low to his left and clawed the ball beyond the post. Much was made of Benteke’s finish, with many suggesting he should have smashed it but in that situation with the ball coming to you at that speed you’re better keeping it low and on target.

The fact is Cech deserves your praise rather than everyone criticising the forward. Most keepers would have been left flat-footed or would’ve given up on the ball after it had reached the strikers foot, but Cech kept his nerve and was rewarded.

Then moment later, Petr was at it again. This time, Coutinho found some space in the area and curled a superb effort towards goal. Only to see Cech get the slightest of touches that saw the ball cannon off the post and away goal! It was another magical save.

Those were the match saving saves. But the keeper managed to get his body behind every other Liverpool shot and looked unbeatable. he was once again the reliable goalkeeper, that we’ve seen over the past decade.

His first-half showing seemed to galvanise those in front of him as they became more assured of themselves in the second period.. Although they couldn’t really have struggled anymore to be honest.

The keeper himself told Sky Sports after the game:

“When you start with a new club and everything goes wrong, you need to bounce back and this is what I tried to do.”

“Today was one those games where I was in the right place at the right times and helped the team overcome a difficult moment in the first half.”

The failure to convert chances and contain the opposition in the first half again highlighted a need for Wenger to spend more this transfer window. Another top-class striker has to be found for when Oliver Giroud has an off night. Plus a strong midfielder to sit in alongside Coquelin could be a good move for the bigger encounters this season.

But last night did prove that Arsene Wenger was right to bring in Petr Cech.

Unfortunately more needs to be done to improve this Gunners squad if they are truly going to be candidates for the Premier League title. Czech was brought in to change draws into victories but alas without a stronger starting eleven all he can do is stop draws becoming defeats!

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