So, other than the fact that Henrik Mhkitaryan refuses to play in Azerbailan, the second most talked about issue is whether Petr Cech should start for Arsenal against his old club Chelsea, despite agreeing to return to Stamford Bridge when he retires after this game.
The Gunners manager Unai Emery confirmed that tonight would be Cech’s last game, so the Spaniard obviously doesn’t think it will be a problem. Yesterday Emery told Arsenal.com: “We are thinking of our final and we have a big challenge tomorrow. We have two targets, but the most important target is the possibility to win a title and enjoy a moment like that. Each title is very important for a team like Arsenal and Chelsea in England and in Europe. We want to enjoy this moment thinking of our supporters.
“As for the first XI tomorrow, I want to say it to the players first and I am going to say it tomorrow. I can speak about Petr Cech a lot, but above all he is a great man, a great professional, amazing in his behaviour with us and it will be last match tomorrow because he decided to retire. I want to do something important with him in the last moment of his career – and this has been my conversation with him, playing or not playing. We want to win for us.”
That tells me he is not worried, but the fans have other ideas, and looking at the way that the punters are piling on Chelsea to win the game, many people would start thinking about shady practices after the announcement he was joining Chelsea was made public. One takeaway is in noting how Cech would most likely have started anyway, and that his dealings with Chelsea were happening regardless. So if it came out after the game instead of before that Chelsea were hiring their former keeper as the new Sporting Director, would people accuse him of throwing the match?
Well, probably. But would he actually? His character is one that would suggest otherwise, but negative results can and will lead to people looking for excuses everywhere they can, even at the books, so it wouldn’t hurt to know what a betting parlor’s policy will be on potential “shady dealings”.
And as online betting is gaining in popularity, sites like sportsbettingdime.com do their best to review the quality sites, scuttle off the poor ones, and tie in actual content and insight as it relates to the matches. They may be recommending a bet on Chelsea and use the “Cech factor” as one of their reasons for tipping that.
If Arsenal win the game I simply can’t see there being any problem at all, but what if we lost and it was an error by Cech that caused it? What if it came down to penalties???