Bernd Leno or Petr Cech – Who would you pick for the Europa League final?

It is probable that Unai Emery will select Petr Cech as the Arsenal starting goalkeeper against Chelsea in the Europa League final in ten days time in Baku, Azerbaijan but is it the right decision?

I do not think it is, I am of the opinion that you choose your best possible team in a match that is as critical as they come.

Let’s look at what is at stake here.

If Arsenal wins they pick up their first major European trophy since 1994.
Arsenal qualify for next season’s Champions League
Arsenal get to play the Champions League winners in the European super cup
Arsenal get a bigger transfer budget
Arsenal can attract better signings

But a loss means

Arsenal play in next season’s Europa League again
Arsenal lose tens of millions in Champions League prize money
Arsenal get a lower transfer budget
Arsenal is not such an attractive option for ambitious players
Arsenal risk losing some of their better players

So, without a doubt, this is a huge game with massive consequences.

Now, why would Cech be selected?

Because he has played every Europa League game this season, because it is his last top class professional match ever and because he will be playing against his former club and therefore will be highly motivated.

That is the argument for selecting Cech but I have to ask myself if he was our best keeper why is he not our number one choice in the Premier League?

The reason is simple, he is not our best keeper, Leno is, no manager with credibility chooses their number two in the Premier League, they select their number one choice it is as simple as that.

So, picking your number two in the clubs biggest game in years makes no sense to me, this is not the time for sentimentality, this is not the time to stay loyal, this is the time to pick your best possible option, no ifs no buts.

The Europa League final is just too important to Arsenal to take chances, a loss could in effect set us back years, a win could kick start a new era and to risk that out of some sense of doing the right thing is in fact, doing the wrong thing.

To me there is no debate, Leno is the more reliable, more agile, sharper keeper, he comes out of the area better and while he may not be as physical as Cech he is faster and simply the better goalie.

I have yet to hear an argument that makes a case for Cech given preference over Leno and I believe that is because there is not one.


  1. I beg to differ, I’ve read and seen people said this stuff time and time again, Leno is obviously our number one, it’s the reason we brought him in, to replace Cech.
    But it doesn’t make Cech as useless as most of you try to paint him.
    He’s been the keeper for the Europa league all through and now it’s the finals you’ll have to drop him which is basically telling him “Hey Cech I trusted you to handle all our Europa games down to the semi final, but I don’t trust you for this final”. Who does that?
    I mean is Cech that useless now? is he that bad? Yes he’s not who he was seasons ago but please you guys should cut the crap, come may 29, Cech is staying in post, get behind the team.
    You make it sound as if Cech keeping means losing the game, is there any assurance that if Leno stays in post we won’t concede a goal?
    we should be worried about which of our defense will turn up, but no you guys constantly say stuffs to drop Cech as if he’s the worse player we in have our team.
    Need I remind how old he is? Do you think he’d be rushing into retirement if our defense isn’t this worse?
    You don’t think Iker Casillas and Buffon would’ve retired years ago if they were with us?
    Do you know how bad our defense normally leaves our goalkeeper?
    Let the defense do their job, Cech will do his job, he’s a professional and an experience human, you guys should drop the agenda please. I’m not being sentimental, but are you seriously telling me Cech is really really a bad goalkeeper now?

    1. ???
      On the other hand, that kind of dramatic change will likely backfire big time leaving everyone saying “had I know.”
      Cech’s contract is up after this season, even though I prefer Leno to him, I would still have Cech finish the good work he has been doing in the EUROPA.

      1. I would rather have Leno in goal.


        1. So TH14-you never got back to the question I asked yesterday (big suprise).
          So here it is again
          Who would YOU prefer to see in an Arsenal shirt?
          Wilfred Zaha?
          Alex Iwobi?
          This is a very simple question that you seem very keen to avoid giving an answer to.
          No CAM
          No FREE ROLE
          ZAHA or IWOBI

          1. Hmmm! This is a very difficult decision (NOT)

            Well I don’t think anyone is going to be surprised by my choice. I go for… wait for it…


              1. TH14-tell me honestly
                Do you seriously believe Iwobi is a better player than Zaha?And why would you think this ?Juist some facts to back this up.

      2. Sentimental bullshit Eddie, play Cech and it will cost us, Chelsea know his faults, that’s why they got rid of him. This is a final for crying out loud, silverware at stake, Champions League qualification, and you want to play our reserve goalkeeper. Mind boggling stupid.

  2. Go with the keeper who got us here. Leno is better, and maybe I am being sentimental, but I just don’t like the message it sends. Also, Cech in a european final is a known quality. He won’t make any big mistakes like a certain German did last season in Europe.

    1. Yes, it is not ethical to dump Cech after he worked hard to bring Arsenal to the final

      Emery would most likely select him anyway, so this article is pointless

      1. Picking Leno would put massive stress on his shoulders while Picking Cech would be a huge motivation to close his fantastic career.

    2. In one of the previous meetings during Wengers era Cech threw the ball directly to Blues Cec Fabregas and from that he scored against Arsenal. Blues went on to win. A few minutes before this Cech tried to let the ball in through his gloves. Is he reliable? Sorry I can’t remember the date of the game.

  3. We can only pray Emery drops Cech, but I cannot see it happening. Not only is Leno our best keeper, he’s our player of the season for me. It’s a final, and one should pick the strongest team possible.

    There is one positive with Cech though, and I really noticed it in the 2nd leg against Valencia. Our first goal came from a Cech long ball. Laca won the second ball, which assisted Auba’s goal. There has been many other occasions in others games, that a Cech long ball has caused problems from us winning the second ball. With Leno, it’s always played short (which I prefer), but can cause us problems sometimes. Cech’s so bad with his feet, he just lumps it down the other end, which has been surprisingly effective. Even if we don’t win the second ball, at least the ball is usually in the oppositions final third. Sometimes the direct approach is the better one.

    Of course I am clutching at straws, but at least there’s one positive to think of. I just hope Chelsea don’t still have Cech on a retainer.

    1. I believe he’s joining them after the final as goalkeeper coach, probably be at the front of the bus when they celebrate.

  4. I would pick Leno! If the score allows say 3-1 to Arsenal with 10 mins left I would change Leno for Chech to use up time and give Chech his final medal as he deserves it.

  5. It’s a tricky one… I wonder if the Watford fans yesterday would rather have had Foster in goal… I’m not saying he would have prevented that annihilation and they’d have won, but he’s much better than Gomes!
    Cech obviously holds Chelsea close to his heart & they are our opponents.. I believe he’s going to be a coach for them, once he retires? Having said that, he is a professional & has a job to do & knows what is at stake… plus it will be his last game for us!
    But I am swaying towards Leno… but I’m not UE, his decision is final & I think Cech will be between the sticks… 10 days to go COYG

  6. Watford went with their ‘cup keeper’…that went well. Citeh went with their first choice keeper. Cech is retiring, his distribution in general is poor, his playing out from the back gives me palpitations…travelling to Baku to watch Cech retirement party / welcome back to Chelsea jolly? No thanks, please put in Leno*

    *Cech will no doubt be picked, and I hope he proves me wrong…

  7. PS another question, if it looks like penalties would you substitute Cech for Leno (or Gunnersaurus)?

  8. In as much as I would Leno to start, every fact is almost pointing towards Cech starting

  9. In as much as I would love Leno to start, every fact is almost pointing towards Cech starting

  10. My mind would be rest assured if Leno is in post at least seeing the ball in our own half still gives me confidence compare to Cech… Either way who ever is in Goal win or lose I believe is a good decision from Emery… But I prefer Leno for my peace of mind… COYG…

  11. Cech seems to be popular with his teammates so perhaps they give an extra 5% if he starts. The players shouldn’t need extra motivation but who knows what motivates the modern footballer.

  12. CECH
    1. Experience of being in many Finals. Experience is invaluable
    2. He has brought us to the Final
    3. Would be awesome ending to a glorious career
    4. I don’t think there is much separating Leno from Cech. I don’t rate Leno as highly as others do

    That said I wouldn’t be opposed to putting Leno in if it goes to extra-time and/or penalties. To put in a fresh keeper like Louis Van Gaal did a few years back

  13. I’d go with Cech- would be one of the harshest things I’ve ever seen in football, if not- even with even with so much at stake. Leno has better shot-stopping and playing out from the back but Cech commands his area better & should take the cup final in his stride- so let’s roll the dice…. it’s unlikely it will decide the game.

  14. we should go with Leno – cech has etched his name amongst the legendary epl keepers however he’s a chelsea legend we need to give confidence to “our” prospects and we do so by picking leno for the final at Baku. In the event he should make any costly mistake – on the day – at least he will prove young enough and of a character to learn from them.

    Meanwhile cech has already voted with his feet having once again opt to go to the opposite side.

  15. I would pick Leno. Nothing against Cech but we need every advantage we can get against Chelsea and playing out of the back is key for the way we want to play and Leno is better at that.

    You can’t risk our chances of CL just because we don’t want to disappoint Cech. We need to play our best available 11. Too much riding on this.

    If we wanted to make a gesture to Cech we should have played him in our last PL game.

  16. I have read Cech is working with Chelsea next season. For that reason alone he has to be dropped from the final.

    There is no way on earth he should be playing. Our season is this game, this decides if we come out with something or nothing.

    Cech is going into goalkeeping coaching with Chelsea next season, they also know his strengths and weakness. Under no circumstances should he be playing in the final- I don’t care if he is a professional or not.

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