With Petr Cech’s move to Arsenal being finalized, Arsenal can hope benefit greatly from the world-class goal keeper. After spending years with mediocre quality keepers, it is indeed a move that will transform the Gunners as far as the goalkeeping is concerned. It will also instill a sense of confidence among the players, as they’ll know that they have a solid goalkeeper to rely on.
Arsenal have faced issues with their goalkeeping for a long time now. After David Seaman, Jens Leahmann was the closest that Wenger had come to finding a suitable goalie, but his magic faded away after playing a vital role in the 2003-04 ‘Invincibles’. His performances started faltering and his attitude became very unpredictable and he was left out of the squad for the 2007-08 season.
Since then, Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny have all tried, but they couldn’t quite cement their position in the team. Meanwhile doubts still remain over the Colombian David Ospina. Although Arsene Wenger is considered to be one of the most observant talent-scouts, he seems to have been unlucky as far as the goalkeeper’s position is concerned. And after his disastrous £6million move sign Richard Wright from Ipswich Town in 2001, Wenger has been a little wary when it comes to splurging on goalkeepers.
However, it is a reason that has affected Arsenal’s title claim in recent years. Sir Alex Ferguson once said that an elite-level goalkeeper is worth 15 points over the course of the season, and the immensely experienced Cech can prove to be that man for the Gunners. Indeed, adding up those points to Arsenal’s points from last season would put them three points ahead of champions Chelsea.
Cech comes with a big 10 million euros price tag. Thus, it is not an easy road for Arsenal, but there is no denying the fact that he would be a major asset to the team. The 33 year old was replaced by Thibaut Courtois, but his lasting impact on Chelsea and its fans are rightfully his, and Mourinho is rather aware of the sort of threat he could pose to be by joining a rival club.
Cech only featured in seven Premier League games in 2014/15, but despite being at least seven years older than Arsenal’s goalkeepers, the statistics indicate he has lost none of his sharpness. The Czech Republic international saved 88.9 per cent of the shots he faced over the course of last season compared to Ospina’s 80.7 per cent and Szczesny’s 67.2 per cent – the highest ratio of any Premier League goalkeeper.He also kept four clean sheets in seven games, giving him a far superior shut-out ratio to his Arsenal counterparts, who kept 11 clean sheets in 35 appearances between them. Cech is also commanding in the air and didn’t make a single error leading to an opposition shot last season. An even more revealing statistic is that over the last three years, Cech’s saves to shots ratio of 78 per cent is the best of any Premier League goalkeeper.
According to Manchester United legend Gary Neville, “You could argue they have struggled for a goalkeeper since Jens Lehmann and David Seaman. It’s a struggle to win a title without a great goalkeeper, a massive struggle.Ospina is obviously a good goalkeeper and he has done well, but he is not a No 1 and they need a top goalkeeper. They need someone who is going to save his team points.”
Since David Seaman’s departure, Arsenal have lacked a top-class goalkeeper, but it looks like after a long time, they will finally get a goalkeeper who will help them get a step closer to winning the title.