Wenger shouldn’t just be playing Ospina over Cech in the Champions League

Daniel Blazer
Daniel Blazer
Daniel Blazer
Managing Editor

Let’s get one thing clear, this isn’t an overreaction from Arsenal’s poor form of late, where a few raised eyebrows would’ve been thrown Petr Cech’s way, following defeats to Chelsea and Watford. It’s been a continuing theme since that loss away at the Etihad to Manchester City. 

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Although the former Chelsea shot-stopper had an excuse reason for being beaten at his near post:

“There were players in front of the ball so I couldn’t see Sterling’s shot. I don’t know if Silva was one”

Petr Cech

One thing you can’t ever criticise the big Czech goalkeeper for is his failure to front up and face the music. Can’t name too many goalies – or players, in general – who would come out into the cauldron of hate that engulfs the footballing world, after such mistakes.

Ultimately, though, Cech being a decent bloke doesn’t cover up the fact the former Rennes player is far and away from being the man between the sticks that the Gunners need; Cech is just seeing out his career in London, and Arsenal are paying the price. Sure, Cech won the Golden Glove award last season with the Gunners. However, only two of those clean sheets came against one of the ‘big boys’ in the Premier League, last season – 0-0 vs Liverpool, 3-0 vs Manchester United.

When was the last time Cech won Arsenal a game? The last time Cech pulled off a world-class performance in London was with Chelsea.

This season, the likes of Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford and Burnley’s Tom Heaton have turned in back page worthy performances. Sure, they play for clubs you’d expect to be facing more than most in the way of shots, however, Cech still only has two more league clean sheets than Heaton – he’s played two more games than him, too.

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Cech’s past exploits at Stamford Bridge often see him in the conversation for best goalkeepers in the Premier League discussions down the pub. However, if you compare the retired Czech Republic international to his fellow top level counterparts, he fails.

Cech’s all-round game has dwindled, with his poor distribution and kicking, summed up perfectly when he gave the ball to Cesc Fabregas during that Chelsea loss. Cech has 62% distribution accuracy, whereas David de Gea has 66%, Thibaut Courtois checks in at 68% with Hugo Lloris a hugely impressive 74%.

But if you want to look at the more conventional ways of judging goalkeepers then Cech’s 2.19-saves-per-goal is embarrassingly short of Courtois’ 2.47 and Lloris’ 2.56 to date.

If you then analyse the internal stats at the Emirates, where the Gunners select David Ospina over Cech for Champions League fixtures; the Colombian has a 72% distribution accuracy. Sure, there’s more margin for error playing less games, but the Gunner No. 2 has also made 20 catches in 54o minutes. Cech on the other hand, has made just 56 in 2250 minutes. It would suggest that Ospina is more reliable from set-pieces, and from crosses coming into the box due to a far stronger ratio of catches to minutes.

The issues with Cech have been there since the Chelsea legend’s debut performance for Wenger’s side…

…and the sooner Le Professeur accepts Chelsea – and Mourinho – have again stitched him right up, the better.

Who joins Cech in the sort of Premier League player you’d trust with your girlfriend… 

 

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