Less than three weeks after stopping Alvaro Morata’s penalty in the friendly shootout in Dublin, and after being briefly linked with a return to the Bridge to replace Thibaut Courtois, Petr Cech will face his old team once again. This time, the stakes will be quite a bit higher than some random friendly.
For Chelsea, it’s a chance to end the Arsenal hoodoo of recent seasons and continue Maurizio Sarri’s good start after last weekend’s 3-0 win at Huddersfield. For Arsenal, it will be a chance to start the season for real, after an opening day 2-0 loss at home to Manchester City that made no one in red look good, especially Cech himself. There’s no shame in losing to City (they have in fact already beat Chelsea by a 2-0 scoreline as well, in the Community Shield), but Arsenal did it in an even more disappointing fashion that Chelsea (and at home rather than in a glorified friendly).
Petr #Cech misses an open goal. #Arsenal #ManCity pic.twitter.com/W8tHKLqv1K— Sausage Soda (@sausage_soda) August 12, 2018
Cech himself came under the most criticism as he seems ill-suited to Emery’s tactics, despite the new manager preferring him to big-money signing Bernd Leno. Most expect Emery to drop the legendary goalkeeper in favor of the man a decade his junior, but the Arsenal coach appears defiant in keeping his faith in the veteran.
“I am very happy with his performance. I think he has experience, quality, capacity like a first goalkeeper with us - and also Bernd Leno. They are two important goalkeepers for us. Different qualities but for us, like we want to play, the two goalkeepers can play.
”Saturday the decision is easy, Petr Cech will continue to start the match, I believe in him. If he starts bad, I believe in him also.”
-Unai Emery; source: Sky
Since leaving Chelsea, Cech has faced his old team 6 times in the Premier League, winning just once and losing three. Let’s make that four.
Getting ready for Arsenal! pic.twitter.com/FQluwEFAyW— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 16, 2018