The noise around Petr Cech and his very real struggles to pass it out from the back are obviously taking its toll on the Czech goalkeeper. Cech is normally the picture of patience and self-restraint during any press conference but he did look a bit put out when more questions arose over his distribution.
There can be no disputing the fact that when you are put under the microscope as intensely as Cech has been, one is bound to crack at some stage. You only have to look to Old Trafford and Mourinho’s press conferences to see the effects of being questioned on an hourly basis to know that a breakdown will follow at some stage.
Firing back before the trip to St James’ Park, Cech said: ‘I had 166 passes and people only picked up on two.’ Like Mourinho, Cech is now equipping himself with an army of facts and figures before facing the media to justify that he isn’t actually doing that badly. In the same breath, Cech did concede that it ‘wasn’t a great thing when you pass the ball in a dangerous area like I did when I gave it to Harry Arter.’
🗣 Petr Cech on playing out from the back: “I had 166 passes in the first four games which is a huge amount and everybody picked up on only two.” [Standard] pic.twitter.com/DDjN2H40iu— AFTV (@AFTVMedia) September 14, 2018
It’s encouraging to see that Cech still has enough personal insight to acknowledge his faults but how could he not given how glaring they were? When goalkeepers make mistakes they have a tendency to remain in the memory a lot longer and even if Cech’s haven’t been catastrophic yet, they won’t be forgotten too soon.
Stand By Your Man
To Unai Emery’s credit, he has stuck with Cech by deeming those mistakes not big enough to bury his career at Arsenal. Keeping the ball out of his net hasn’t been an issue for Cech when you consider he had made the most saves in the Premier League before the Cardiff game, keeping out 18 of the 24 shots on his goal. With that in mind, it’s no surprise then that Emery is still backing him.
There were always going to be some teething issues when Emery came in and as Cech alluded to these things don’t happen overnight and gave the evolution of Barcelona and Man City as an example. In Man City’s case, Guardiola didn’t even have his feet under the table before buying a new goalkeeper given the importance a competent ball-playing keeper is to that type of system.
Cech has the right to defend himself and when looking at the situation with all the facts considered, he does make a compelling argument. It seems we are in a time now where players and managers alike come out guns blazing when they feel under attack. In Mourinho’s case, he doesn’t put forward a case that is as convincing with odds on Man Utd to win league 2019 as far out as 54/1 on the Betfair exchange after only four games. Something is obviously very wrong there but the same can’t really be said for Petr Cech and Arsenal.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and it depends which side of the fence you are on when it comes to Petr Cech as to whether you believe that or not. Cech will tell you that there are 164 reasons why you should believe he is the best man for the job.