Arsenal Fans Should be Patient with Petr Cech
When Arsenal fans heard the rumors of Chelsea veteran, Petr Cech, joining the club, there was a lot of excitement in the air. The Czech legendary goalie had lost his place in the Chelsea XI for the younger Thibaut Courtois and he believed so much in his ability that he wasn’t going to settle for a place in the Chelsea dugout while Courtois does the business on the pitch.
Rumors became a reality and Arsenal got their man. Gooners were happy, Rent Boys were concerned and the goalie was swiftly replaced by Asmir Begovic. With Arsenal having three goalkeepers, Wenger made a huge decision that saw Wojciech Szczesny leave the club, albeit temporarily, to AS Roma and one wonders what the future holds for the Pole.
Cech played four preseason matches, kept three clean sheets (including one against his former team, the Rent Boys, and all was good in the world of Arsenal. We were elated that we’ve finally gotten a true custodian between the sticks. David Ospina wasn’t a bad goalie but Cech was an upgrade on him.
The wait was over as West Ham visited the Emirates in a sunny bright afternoon – then the unthinkable happened. Petr Cech, of all people, got invoked by the collective spirits of Stuart Taylor, Rami Shaaban, Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski in his Flappy Handski days to put up a shitefest in his first competitive game for his new team. His decision to come out for the ball only to miss out to Cheick Kouyate was schoolboy at its best and he could have done better from Mauro Zarate’s strike.
If it was Szczesny, or even David Ospina, that made such glaring errors, the fans would have requested for their heads on a plate, but hey, it’s Petr Cech, the Cech we thought we signed! The trolling began and all sorts of memes surfaced from the web and I was certainly wondering what was going through Arsene Wenger’s mind – should he bench him for Ospina against Crystal Palace or give the goalie another chance to redeem himself against Crystal Palace? Wenger opted for the latter.
When Olivier Giroud scored that lovely acrobatic finish in Selhurst Park, there was a potential for the lads to lose their concentration and that moment arrived when Joel Ward had a chance at goal on the edge of the area. For some strange reason, Laurent Koscielny chose not to close the defender down and he rifled a shot that was heading towards the Gunners net. At first glance, it didn’t look as if it was far from Cech’s range but his attempt to make a save was as feeble as they come and the Eagles got their equalizer. Arsenal went on to win the game thanks to Alexis Sanchez’s determination but there was an underlying question – can we continue to use Petr Cech in goal with his current struggles?
David Ospina is currently Cech’s backup and we know how he excelled in his run at the team last season. 10 clean sheets in 20 games was not a bad return for Ospina and many Arsenal fans were discrediting the Colombian’s success in goal, attributing it to the return of Coquelin and a more ‘balanced’ defense. Cech has been behind this same ‘balanced’ defense and he has conceded three goals in his first two games for the club. Arsenal plays Liverpool next and if Cech doesn’t bring his A-team against the Scousers, there would be a real cause for concern.
I like Petr Cech, I think he’s going to be a fantastic signing, but his recent shortcomings goes to show that even the most experienced of lads also need some time to settle in a new club. I can’t say new surroundings, because he has been in London for the best part of 11 years. Hell, that’s even the reason he plays for us in the first place.
Per Mertesacker has come out in defense of his goalkeeper, stating that the team is still getting used to Cech,
“Sometimes it takes longer than you think to get to know a new goalkeeper. The interaction between the goalkeeper and the back four has to be at the top level to compete in the Premier League. Petr came in and I had an understanding from the start: we both communicate well and understand each other, but we keep working at it. He is someone who has to talk [to his centre-halves] and is really responsible. We match our ambitions on the pitch and so it is great to communicate with him.
“He is very experienced. You can feel that – he has a lot of things to say and, in the dressing room, gives us a great lift. Even when we lose a game, he has some good ideas on and off the pitch, which shows how important he can be for us. He is experienced enough to know what went wrong [against West Ham], so you don’t have to tell him. Mistakes will happen, but my feeling is he comes back even stronger.”
Mertesacker couldn’t have said it any better.
Arsenal fans have to be patient with Cech and I’m confident that things would get better with the Czech in goal, starting with Monday night against Liverpool.
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