Ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League trip to Chelsea on Saturday, many have questioned Unai Emery’s selection conundrums ahead of the crunch encounter, and though Petr Cech’s potential inclusion has been queried in particular, the Spanish tactician confirmed the ‘easy’ decision to keep faith in the veteran goalkeeper, who will ultimately start between the sticks against his former employers.
The north-Londoners fell victim to a frustrating 2-0 defeat on the opening day of the 2018-19 campaign at the hands of Manchester City and Cech, who very nearly swept the ball into his own net with a wild attempted pass to the right flank, has since suffered a barrage of criticisms over his concentration and motivation, but Emery insists that the 35-year-old is the necessary option to thwart Chelsea’s advancements at Stamford Bridge, rather than £20m summer signing Bernd Leno.
Speaking to the media, the former Sevilla FC and Paris Saint-Germain commander conveyed his belief in Cech’s studied services, whilst expressing his confidence in Leno, who he lured from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen to fundamentally challenge the Czech international for supremacy in the weekly starting XI at the Emirates and beyond.
“I am very happy with his performance,” he said. “He has experience, he has quality, he has the capacity.
“Also, with Bernd Leno – they are two goalkeepers who are important for us.For Saturday, the decision for me is easy. Petr Cech can continue to start the match, I believe in him. But if (in future) Bernd starts, I believe in him also.”
Emery wants his set-up to approach every fixture with tenacity in all departments for the duration of the tie, an inexhaustible ethic that will presumably make them a formidable force once the fold has adapted to his rigorous expectations, and though his expansive strategy failed to fool Pep Guardiola’s demonstrative City, the wily Gunners boss added:
“We are going to play away but we need to keep our personality, keep our mentality,
“I think on Sunday against Manchester City, the team kept their ideas, kept their spirit in the game for the full 90 minutes, even when we were losing, and didn’t let their heads go down.
“We want a good preparation before and a good response on the pitch to that preparation.”