CechMate: Does Arsenal have the pieces to win the EPL next season?
Rumours have been laid to rest, as former Chelsea goalkeeper, Petr Cech completed his move to the other side of London. His open letter and the fact that he denied the move is suggestive of the conditions surrounding his departure from the EPL champions.
A topic for another day.
For the Gunners this is a very good addition to the cavalry as they would surely set their eyes on winning the league in the coming season. Finally Arsene Wenger seems to be listening to the voice of reason — that young talent is not enough to guarantee Premiership “success” .
What does the Czech bring to the team? Is this move enough for the FA Cup holders?
Looking through Petr Cech’s statistics while he was with Chelsea, exposes an impressive performance.
- Petr Cech has the second highest clean sheet games in the Premier League, second only to David James. He achieved this in 333 appearances.
- He set the club record of 220 clean sheet in all competitions
- In the 2004–05 season, he set a record for the most clean sheets kept in a single season (24), and held the record for the longest streak of clean sheets (1,025 minutes), before it was broken by Edwin van der Saar
- Cech has the highest save percentage (76.7% ) for any goalkeeper to ever play more than 50 games in the Premier League since 2004/05
Apart from his past performance, being an EPL winner a number of times and showing intent will go along way for Arsenal.
But is this enough?
At the end of the just concluded season, following Arsenal’s FA Cup victory, it was apparent what they had to fix to challenge with other teams in the top four rank for the league trophy.
Signing a goalkeeper never felt like a priority. It is certain that the circumstances around Cech’s stay in Chelsea prompted this early move. On the other hand, the sounds of revelry from the Gunners fans may well have been over the top.
The fact is Petr Cech is not enough. Arsenal has to make the following adjustments.
Devise a Plan B
Last season we saw “The Gunners” achieve some important wins away. One at the Etihad Stadium, and another at Old Trafford (although it was in the FA Cup). However, they always fell to teams that play fast counter-attacks. This happened when they played Monaco in the Champions League.
This is the edge that managers like Mourinho have. There are more than one way to win a match. A more pragmatic approach to games is what the team needs to avoid repeating mistakes of the past.
Sign a new striker
Olivier Giroud scored 18 goals in 35 games last season. A decent performance when placed side by side with the top performers in Europe. Sanchez, from all indications was a good buy, netting 25 goals all season — his first season.
Look around, and you would find no one else to match or surpass these two. Danny Welbeck is way too far.
Arsenal needs a goal-getter in the mould of Sergio Aguero or Diego Costa. This should be Wenger’s priority this summer.
Find an answer to the perennial injury issues
Whether it is as a result of bad luck, nature of training sessions, a top club like Arsenal should find a solution to this decade long malaise. No doubt this has cost them a cup or two.
Introduce a dominant midfield player
It is quite surprising how Wenger changed. The teams of 1997/98, 2001/02 and 2003/04 shared one thing — big players in the midfield. From Vieira-Petit to Vieira-Gilberto combinations in the middle, Arsenal fielded players who could muscled opponents off the ball
Things have changed. The Gunners now have diminutive playmakers splattered in the middle, who get overrun easily and afford no form of cover for the defence.
It is very simple. Consolidate on Coquelin’s presence by bringing in another “dirty job” man. The Frenchman is a human and can get injured.
In conclusion, Cech’s signing is good but not enough. It should not get into anybody’s head. Sort the team’s issue and make a run for the title next season.
FootyLogue is an online football magazine focused on providing information beyond the news through insightful analysis, alternative perspective and opinion, and serve as a platform for discussions between the lovers of the game.
Originally published at www.footylogue.com on July 1, 2015.