By Walter Broeckx
I must say that everyone likes to be right most of the time. I am no exception to that rule. Writing on a blog of course brings the risk that what you have written at some point in time can come back to haunt you.
Now I must say that when the first rumours came above water about the possible Cech transfer to Arsenal I shrugged my shoulders. We had in my eyes two good goalkeepers in Szczesny and Ospina and a very good young third goalkeeper in Emilio Martinez. So why buy Cech was what I said then.
Not that I didn’t rate Cech. No, I really thought he was a great goalkeeper and probably one of the best goalkeepers in the last decade in the PL. But the fact that he played for Chelsea made me less appreciative of him in a way. I can’t really like a keeper who has kept us away from some wins in the past by doing his excellent job. I rated him, but didn’t really like him one could say.
Maybe the prospect of seeing one of Szczesny and Ospina go was adding to that feeling. I rather like both of them. I think Ospina is being underrated by lots of our own supporters. He did an excellent job in the second half of last season and I found it would be harsh on him to being removed from his place. And Szczesny.. well what can you say. He likes Arsenal and he knows how to show it on the internet on social media.
Yes both have made mistakes but well… Cech proved that no goalkeeper is free from mistakes in the first PL match of the season himself.
So yes I wasn’t very impressed with the rumours. But I also have the habit that once a player signs for Arsenal I will welcome him with both arms and support him. No matter from which team he comes. In fact I silently enjoyed the fact that Abramovitch sold him to Arsenal against the will of Mourinho. That was the fun part of the transfer.
What I didn’t like at first was his first PL match for Arsenal. You have seen this keeper almost never making any mistake when playing Arsenal and then in his first match he didn’t had the best day. I admit having thought in the heat of the moment: why did we have to bring this keeper and send one of our keepers (or two in fact) out on loan.
But the more I have seen from him since that opening day, the more he has started to impress me. From just rating him I do admit that now I do like him.
He really is a great goalkeeper. And now he is showing it and doing it for us. With Cech having equalled the record of David James with 169 clean sheets in the PL in the match against Aston Villa he surely will be in the record books in the PL for a long, long time. What is amazing is that he only needed 349 matches to reach this number and James needed 572 matches to get at there.
Now I know most of this matches were when playing for Chelsea who had a rather good organised bus service in front of him on more than one occasion. But the funny thing is that as he has broken the record while being an Arsenal player he and we will be remembered for this.
The picture of Cech equalling the record sees him in an Arsenal shirt. And when he will break the record and become the one with 170 clean sheets he will be wearing an Arsenal shirt.
I do hope that he will break that record next Monday of course. That would be a great moment to break the record.
As we do some facts I want to give you some numbers about Cech at Arsenal this season.
In the Community Shield he kept a clean sheet. So that is 1/1. In the CL he kept 3 clean sheets in the 4 matches that he played. A score of 75% clean sheets.
And in the PL he kept 7 clean sheets in 16 matches. That is a clean sheet record of 43%.
If we take all the matches that had something at stake in account he has managed 11 clean sheets in 21 matches or 52% clean sheets in total.
If Cech could keep up his numbers in the PL for the rest of the season we will end up with around 16-17 clean sheets this season. And that surely would be a nice number of clean sheets. It would be the same number as when he won it in 2014. That year he had to share the award with Szczesny by the way. Who could have won it with 17 if Wenger had played him in the last match at Norwich that we won 0-2 and would have given Wojciech a 17th clean sheet.
The fact is that Cech has won me over completely. I know the odd mistake will happen as it happens with every keeper from time to time. But I do admit that from being not really a lover at first sight he did won me over.
And not in the least because in general he does seems to behave in the right Arsenal way. Other players describe him as a real leader in the dressing room. And with his experience and all that he has gone through this is something one can expect from a player like him.
In fact I do have to admit that I didn’t really understood Wenger with this transfer at first. But then again in the end of the day it all comes down to this… Wengers Knows Best!