Is Keown right to back Cech and blame Arsenal defenders?

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?

Tags Koscielny Mertesacker


  1. davidnz says:

    Both goals were avoidable
    but to be fair West Ham
    had about 6 clear chances
    so some will go in eventually.

  2. French says:

    I expect our defense and Cech to bounce back against Palace. Its up to our attackers and midfield to be a bit more clinical to put away they chances they create. Despite our defensive errors against West Ham, we could’ve gotten a point out of that game.

    1. KickAssFan says:

      Sometimes it’s not about defending well to win, it’s about scoring more, more than the opponent—and Giroud is our front man…

      1. Champagne Charlie says:

        Look we all realize Giroud is no Benzema or Lewandowski, but you’re being ridiculous to sit and suggest our inability to score falls squarely on Giroud. For the life of me I can barely remember a chance he had other than the one he was flagged offside for.

        Giroud was bought for 10mil, how about you aim a little of the blame/expectation the way of our 42.5mil “best #10 on the planet”, or our 140k a week ST dynamo who played over half an hour and wasn’t spotted, or at our entire midfield dynamic whose job it is to create chances for our ST to finish off. This Giroud bashing is getting pathetic.

        1. SUNNY13 says:

          Exactly Charlie, people keep on pointing Giroud, but why we are not looking at Ozil.
          42 mill man instead of dominating is being dominated by a 16 yr old kid. That is the problem for us. Ozil can not be average but rather destroy opposition. How many games he has won man of the match award? If he does not improve, I would rather drop hima and have Cazorla at no 10 and Ramsey besides Couqulan .
          Ozil needs to produce goal scoring chances which he is not.
          Look at what Silva is doing


          1. Champagne Charlie says:

            I agree.

            Cazorla’s debut season with us at CAM saw 12 goals and 11 assists.
            Ozil’s debut season with us at CAM saw 5 goals and 9 assists.

            Last season Ozil got 4 goals and 5 assists as a CAM whilst Cazorla got 7 goals and 11 assists from next to Coquelin. You tell me who the 40mil player is there…

        2. arsenalvienna says:

          the problem with giroud is, that he slows down our play.he is not up to it when it comes to pace and technics. it would only make sense to use a type of ST like giroud,
          when he is a goal machine. but og clearly isn’t.

          1. Champagne Charlie says:

            So what’s the excuse when Walcott is leading the line? He was vs Chelsea and we didn’t get a sniff, he came on against West Ham and played over half an hour….at least that’s what people tell me as he was nowhere to be seen.

            When are you lot going to ditch the Giroud excuse and put the blame on others who are far more deserving?

            Ozil is skating by on reputation and moments of magic rather than consistent high level performances, Rambo & Coquelin are collaborating in an effort to destroy our ability to play effective attacking football by spraying hollywood passes and thinking themselves Lampard and Pirlo respectively.

  3. Mick The Gooner says:

    Let’s leave Cech’s mistakes aside for a minute. The defending was shocking. Absolutely awful.

    First goal: Kouyate had a completely free header in our box from a set piece. Unchallenged. What is he? 6’3? 6’4? And we’re leaving him unchallenged at a set piece? We deserved to concede. Main culprit? Koscielny. Didn’t even track his man. Wasn’t paying any attention to where Kouyate was. Kosc was just looking at the ball and was left. Poor communication from Monreal too.

    Second goal: Catalogue of basic errors. Where do I even start? Ox made the tackle, fair enough. Coquelin, why are you going to ground when there’s no need? Blocking Ox who then had to turn and panicked. Ox, why are you dribbling it out? If you’re unsure, put your laces through the ball and send it as far from our goal as you can. Payet recieved the ball, why isn’t he being closed down? Koscielny tried to block the shot by standing still (and blocking Cech’s view), why didn’t he rush closer and try and tackle? By getting closer you’re more likely to block the shot, and at least put the guy under more pressure so he might miskick it. Mertesacker, why’re you standing still waiting for him to shoot? It wasn’t your man but if no one else is going to do it and you’re close enough, show some leadership and go and do it yourself. Ox, if you gave it away and you’re close, why aren’t you even trying to get it back? Just walked away and let the defence try and deal with it. Coq, if you hadn’t committed earlier you’d have been there to stop the shot. I hope Steve Bould gave them all a right earfull for that goal.

    As for Cech. There’s off days and there’s what happened on Sunday. The first one. Well it can happen from time to time I guess, if I’m being generous. Didn’t really look like he wanted to save the second one – didn’t even fully stretch his right arm to get near to the ball. I won’t jump to a conclusion seeing as it’s his first game, but I’ll just say that in 11 years, I’ve never seen him have a game that bad for Chelsea.

    And a word for our attacking players. Well, two actually. Do better.

  4. arsenalian says:

    These were exactly my thoughts. On both goals Cech was totally exposed – a free header from 7 yards and an unpressured shot from 18 with a defender blocking his view. Kos should at least have run at the shooter!

  5. leo says:

    Pavel Paska (agent to Tomáš Rosický) and Sparta Prague Chairman Daniel Křetínský have been in with Wenger this week
    Mikel Arteta has spent more time with Steve Bould lately than with the other players interesting probably working on getting his coaching badges

  6. leo says:

    Francis Cagigao has been in constant contact with Arsène Wenger since Tuesday when he watched Sevilla and Barcelona in Tbilisi Cagigao has been spending the majority of his time discussing Sevilla’s midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak

  7. leo says:

    keown is right we need a new cb kos/per are good but someone like ottamendi/abdenour would be an upgrade on them + key will be signing of a big physical cdm like kyrchowiak

  8. TushFemi says:

    I don’t understand why everyone is blaming Cech for the two goals. The Defenders were horrible on that match day. The way Arsenal defend corners and set pieces is not good. Cech is not used to that.
    And for the second goal, no one is talking about Chamberlain, who gave the ball away in front of the box and stood there like a statue, while Zarate hit the ball with Cech blocked by the other Defenders. He (Chamberlain) loses concentration sometimes when he has the ball. He did the same thing against Monaco that resulted in the third goal and that single goal condemned us and knocked Arsenal out of the CL.
    Please let this matter rest and leave Cech alone. He’s one of the best Goalkeepers out there!

  9. Lumpy Gravy says:

    So our defence is suddenly crap? I belive that Szcezesny would have been slaughtered if he was the one goalkeeping that day.

  10. FFFanatic says:

    Keown is right AND wrong.

    He is right because the defending was awful. Poor offside line, poor positioning, poor desire to attack the ball etc. The first and second goals are easily rectified by defending properly and not relying on your keeper to get you out of the mess.

    He is wrong because a keeper is there TO get you out of a mess. In a game, at some point, someone will usually make a defensive mistake and they will get a shot on goal. In the two instances in that game, Cech made mistakes to go along with the defensive errors.

    First goal – The ball is deep enough that Cech CAN claim it – he chose to go on the wrong side of the attacker. It’s a mistake.

    Second goal – Cech mistimes his bounce. Just as he prepares for the shot he lifts into the air and is off the floor at the wrong moment meaning he is late to dive. This wasn’t due to being unsighted – he is clear line of sight of the striker. This was just a mistake but still a goalkeeping error.

    Ultimately I think it is more important to address all these issues then say that “The defence are awful” when clearly anyone can make mistakes in the game. As I’ve said before – if Cech was on his game neither of those goals go in. That ultimately says that Cech is to blame for the goals, even if there is blame to be placed elsewhere too. Cech needs to get his head right for the next game and we need to continue to work on our defence which was clearly rusty. Nothing more to it.

    1. Gigi2 says:

      I agree. Well said.
      What I think now is that maybe defenders got a little relaxed be cuz of kur new keeper. Whereas they have to be always on top of things as if almunia was behind them.
      In any case….let’s judge them again after palace.

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