Getty Images

Petr Cech to retire at end of season

Leave a comment

Legendary goalkeeper Petr Cech has announced he will retire at the end of the 2018-19 season.

The current Arsenal stopper, 36, is one of the most successful goalkeepers in Premier League history as he has won trophies at Arsenal and Chelsea during his 15-year career in England’s top-flight.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Cech has the most clean sheets in PL history, holds the record for the must shutouts in a single season (24 in 2004-05) and made 494 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions.

He also won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, a UEFA Champions League trophy, a Europa League title and two Community Shields during his 11-year stay at Chelsea. Cech has also won an FA Cup and Community Shield during his four seasons at Arsenal.

Cech is the only goalkeeper in Premier League history to win the PL’s Golden Glove with two different clubs, while he was also the quickest to reach 100 clean sheets (180 games). He is also the most capped player for the Czech Republic national team with 124 outings, a huge chunk of them as captain.

He announced Tuesday that he will call time on his career at the end of the current campaign and posted the following statement.

His status as a legend of the game is secured, even if he has lost his place as a regular starter for Arsenal this season following Bernd Leno‘s arrival in the summer.

Cech arrived at Chelsea in 2004 from French side Rennes and was an immediate star for Jose Mourinho’s all-conquering Chelsea.

He has also had some tough times to get through in England, as he fractured his skull in a game against Reading in 2006 and has worn a protective helmet ever since.

Cech also lost his place at Chelsea to Thibaut Courtois in 2014 and then moved to Arsenal in the summer of 2015, even though it became clear he would have rather seen his playing days out at Stamford Bridge.

In his spare time he plays the drums, while he can also speak Czech, English, Spanish, French and German.

It is safe to say Cech is one of the greatest goalkeepers the world has ever seen and we will see him stay in the game in some capacity for many years to come.

Emery shoots down Keylor Navas rumor

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There has been lots of talk regarding Arsenal’s potential interest in Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas in the last few weeks, with the Costa Rican obviously unhappy at being replaced by Thibaut Courtois.

Madrid brought the Belgian in this summer, relegating Navas to the bench. With Navas still regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, it naturally brought about speculation regarding his potential move away from the Bernebeu. Many believed Arsenal to be a great fit, with Petr Cech benched by Unai Emery and Bernd Leno not exactly lighting up the stat sheet.

Emery brought an end to that speculation on Thursday, leaving nothing to the imagination when asked about the speculation at his pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup match against Blackpool.

“Not true,” Emery said defiantly. “We never speak about one goalkeeper because I think – and it’s true – we are very happy with the three goalkeepers we have now. We’ve never spoken about Keylor Navas.”

Emery mentions his “three goalkeepers” suggesting that even third-stringer Emiliano Martinez’s position is safe at the moment.

Leno took over for Cech in late September after Cech went down with a hamstring injury, and the German never relinquished his position between the sticks. Cech missed two matches but has returned only to a spot on the bench. Still, Arsenal has conceded 31 goals this season, far more than any of the four teams above them in the Premier League table. Much of that can be explained by the defensive struggles the team has been forced to navigate, but the goalkeepers should also naturally share some of that blame.

Still, it appears that Navas will have to find another club to rescue him from the Real Madrid bench, with Arsenal all but out of the running.

Lacazette leads Arsenal to win over Watford

Leave a comment
  • Own goal puts Gunners ahead
  • Lacazette finds Ozil for 2-0
  • Watford winless in four

Arsenal broke through late to beat Watford 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Craig Cathcart‘s 81st minute own goal was joined by Mesut Ozil’s 83rd minute strike to provide three points to the Gunners.

Arsenal sits fifth, level on points with fourth place Spurs. Watford drops into sixth, two points back of the Gunners.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Alexandre Lacazette could’ve won a penalty had he gone down under a Christian Kabasele challenge, but he wobbled forward and mishit a shot. Perhaps he should’ve anyway, by that logic, but we digress.

Watford backstop Ben Foster made a decent stop on Granit Xhaka as the half-progressed, while Arsenal’s story between the sticks was a substitution when Petr Cech was injured and gave way to Bernd Leno.

Arsenal’s second half breakthrough began when an Alex Iwobi cross became Cathcart’s own goal and escalated quickly, with Ozil making it 2-0 within three minutes.

Lacazette assisted the Ozil goal with a decent low cross.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Cech: ‘I had a lot to do’ as Arsenal praises its keeper

Nick Potts/PA via AP
Leave a comment

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are going to get a lot of love for their quickfire goals in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Everton, but they know where the Gunners’ bread was buttered on Sunday.

And that butter comes with a helmet.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 2-0 Everton ]

“I think 20 times maybe, Cech kept us in the game,” Aubameyang said after the game. “I think we are improving every day and feeling good and better, so when we win it is better for the team. It is going well and we are enjoying training at the training ground.”

And here’s this fine double entendre from Lacazette.

“A big thanks to Petr Cech because he took a lot of balls today and we won our first clean sheet.”

Cech made a save within the match’s first throes as Dominic Calvert-Lewin challenged his 18, and then denied Theo Walcott with an outstanding dart to close down his former teammate.

As for the man himself, Cech’s a drummer and knows he just had to keep the beat despite early concerns about his role as a ball handler in Unai Emery‘s system.

Also, he very subtly humble-bragged about how well he played. From the BBC:

“Everton created a lot of chances in the first half and we had to stick together and wait for our opportunity to score which made the difference. I’m delighted with the performance and the clean sheet. I had a lot to do today and I had to help the team stay in the game, and as an experienced player, you have to do your part.”

Cech is one of the best goalkeepers of his generation, but his reputation has taken a hit over the past couple seasons. He was very, very good on Sunday, and will keep antsy Bernd Leno at bay for a few more weeks.

Quick strike Arsenal tops Everton

Leave a comment
  • Scoreless at halftime
  • Lacazette smashes opener
  • Aubameyang makes it 2-0

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a pair of goals in under four minutes as Arsenal overcame a sloppy first half to beat Everton 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Petr Cech and Jordan Pickford both made fine saves in the effort, but Cech had more and Everton struggled to find much threat outside of Richarlison and Theo Walcott.

Arsenal moves sixth with 12 points. Everton is 12th with six. Flipped.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Everton had a pair of good chances go wanting, the first an ungiven penalty to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the second a ball bounding through the six.

Jordan Pickford made a palm stop on Nacho Monreal‘s bouncing shot as the hosts finally got into the match after the first 10 minutes.

Richarlison was lively in his return from a red card suspension, forcing Cech into a two-palmed save in the 21st minute.

Ex-Arsenal man Theo Walcott won a dangerous free kick with a clever dribble into the box, and Gylfi Sigurdssson hoped his 30th minute effort would punish the Gunners.

Lucas Digne took the kick instead, and Cech popped it over the goal for a corner kick. No luck.

Richarlison played Walcott through on Cech with a 38th minute pass, but the goalkeeper reacted quickly to deny Walcott.

Alexandre Lacazette took one touch too many on the doorstep before halftime.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Arsenal broke through in the second half.

Aaron Ramsey played a part in both goals, the first an assist on Lacazette’s outstanding strike in the 56th minute.

Then Aubameyang wrong-footed Pickford with an in-tight shot to the back post.

Cech made a fine save on a free kick in the 71st to deny Everton a way back into the match.