Arsenal fans may remain divided on Petr Cech, but manager Unai Emery is keeping the faith with the shot-stopper and has confirmed he’ll start the Czech veteran for Saturday’s trip to Chelsea in the Premier League.
Cech looked extremely uncomfortable with the new manager’s ideology of playing out from the back and very nearly scored an own goal in the Gunners’ 2018/19 Premier League opener against Manchester City on the weekend.
He did redeem himself with some important stops, but was eventually powerless to prevent a rampant Sky Blues side coming away from their trip to the Emirates with a 2-0 win.
And Emery was asked, at his pre-match press conference, if he had decided to make a change between the sticks, to which the Spanish tactician responded, “I am very happy with his (Cech’s) performance. He has experience, he has quality, he has the capacity.”
Emery stopped short of declaring Cech was his undisputed first-choice custodian as he left the door open for Bern Leno to perhaps to start his first competitive game in the near future.
“Also, with Bernd Leno (it’s the same). They are two goalkeepers who are important for us. They have different qualities but for us in the way we want to play, they can (both) play. ”
Leno was acquired in the summer from Bayer Leverkusen, prompting speculation that Cech’s time as the starting Arsenal goalkeeper was over.
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So far, however, the veteran has kept his starting spot but if he continues to struggle with playing out from the back, Emery may be forced to drop him in favour of the younger Leno.
“For Saturday, the decision for me is easy. Petr Cech can continue to start the match, I believe in him. (But) If Bernd starts, I believe in him also,” the Arsenal boss added.
For the past few seasons, Arsene Wenger utilised Petr Cech chiefly in the Premier League while the second keeper (David Opsina) was utilised in cup competitions like the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup.
But, considering Leno’s proven quality, it’s unlikely that the German will be content with playing second fiddle and there’s a high probability that he’ll get his chance in the Premier League, sooner rather than later.