The new Arsenal number one Petr Cech might be feeling a lot better about himself today, if he reads what the football media have been saying that is. Because the 33-year old was given the backing of two former Arsenal greats in the papers yesterday.
After our former keeper Jens Lehmann praised the keeper’s abilities and attitude and declared his confidence that the disappointing Premier League debut would not affect him too much, Cech also received the support of another member of the famous invincibles Arsenal squad, Martin Keown.
The former centre back has proved himself to be an interesting and knowledgable student of the game since hanging up his boots and in his Daily Mail column yesterday he gave a rather different take on the reasons for our defeat to West Ham.
Rather than back the keeper to bounce back, Keown actually absolved Cech of most of the blame and explained why the keeper was actually let down by the Gunners defenders. Keown claims that the first goal came about as Cech was trying to make up for the bad defensive positioning at the free kick. And he also feels that Cech was left badly exposed for the second goal.
Keown’s take on it was, “It was disappointing. From that situation you have to hold your line and keep yourself between the opponent and the goal. They always try to force you closer to the goal but if they are goalside you can’t be sure that your defensive line is keeping them offside.
“Arsenal have three very good headers of the ball in Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud. They need to be better distributed to make sure they have good options to head it away. They stayed too central near the goal.
“When we were defending wide free-kicks Tony Adams would stay near the back post and I would stay in the middle. It’s not an easy thing to do but you need to be linked and working together. You have to make it hard for players to get a run in and it was far too easy at the weekend.
“As for Petr Cech, he is new at the club and he will want to start bossing that defensive line. He saw the problem and tried to rescue the situation by coming for it. It looks glaringly obvious but I don’t think he was too much at fault.
“Even if he had stayed on his line it was likely a goal anyway – but you should not be allowing free headers like that so close to goal.
“Cech was never likely to reach that ball but he needs to communicate more to his back player and help organise them to make sure the chance doesn’t arrive in the first place.
“It was similar with the second goal – you can’t just blame the keeper because he couldn’t see the ball and his defenders didn’t do enough to close down Zarate and stop him.”
What do you think of Keown’s comments Gooners? And if he is right is that better news or more of a concern?