Petr Cech is definitely NOT the problem in Arsenal’s ‘playing from the back’ tactics

Why is the “Playing Out From the Back” still error-prone at Arsenal by H. Zigic

Hello Gunners, the internationals are unfortunately still on and there’s little to write about the Arsenal and we will have to wait till the weekend for the return of the EPL, but there is a fact that I want to highlight about the cause of our slow start to the season which has seen us lose two and win two in the four opening games.

Since the start of the season, Petr Cech has been one of (if not the most) criticized Arsenal player due to his perceived lack of composure to play out of the back, and “fans” have been quick to ask for his removal from the starting XI.

But are those criticisms justified? I’ll let you decide that, but check these stats for the season so far…. Petr Cech has had the Most Touches of all EPL GK at 189 and the Most Completed passes (100). His Passing accuracy is 71% (behind only three GKs) and he has already saved 19 shots (around 70% of the 27 he has faced already).

So contrary to major beliefs, I’ll say the main problem Arsenal has this season is the Back Four who haven’t provided the best shield for a GK who has already faced 27 shots in four games.

Not only did they fail to protect him, they also played a lot of poor back passes to him instead of moving the ball forward into the midfield, which has resulted in him being put under too much pressure than necessary.

Some have been pointing at Ederson or Allison and comparing him to Cech but the difference is the defenders (and even midfielders) in front of those two are not comparable to Arsenal’s, not only do they do well to protect the GK but they also move the ball quickly to the attackers and effectively evade the press of the opposition, a trait Arsenal’s defenders (especially Mustafi and Sokratis) do not possess and are yet to master.

Although, Cech can still improve but blaming him solely for the mistakes at the back is not justified and his removal (not that he’s at risk of being removed though) won’t solve the problem, and until ball playing defenders are brought in or rapid improvement from those at the club, the mistakes will not go away, and only time will tell how many chances and goals we’ll concede from them….

Harkinubee Zigic


  1. Adega Olatunji says:

    I agree with you

  2. gotanidea says:

    It’s obvious that Cech is not used to be a ball-playing GK, but the main problem is the attacker’s involvements and willingness in helping the players behind them

    A high pressing strategy like Barcelona’s requires all attackers to strive hard in retrieving ball, something like what Lacazette did in Cardiff

    This effort needs players with high stamina, mobility and motivation, which Emery has to address with the underperformers. No defense can survive if the attackers only fight half-heartedly

    1. RSH says:

      Compared to first two games, Arsenal has not pressed nearly as much. You can’t only do it against the big teams. If you’re not doing it every game you aren’t going to be able to do it efficiently against the bigger sides. LFC last season were relentless with their pressing and they started getting a handle on how to manage it within 90 minutes when the season wore on. Hope Emery gets the team working harder like we saw in the first couple of games.

  3. Geo-Gooner says:

    put Torreira alongside Guendouzi in there and I am sure things will change for good, And in contrast Victor Valdes was never an excellent keeper but he was successful as Barca system suit him, Why sign Leno and bench him? if he is not good enough to replace Cech immediately then why sign him? if he is good enough why bench him?

    1. John Ibrahim says:

      not sure why leno was signed….probably a mislintat signing….

      leno is a gamble…doesnt appear to be confident and fumbles…

  4. RSH says:

    Part of being a good GK that can pass out the back is bailing out your defenders when they make bad passe. Ederson has done this with City, Allison is doing it with LFC (though he did get cocky and concede after he played around with a bad pass). I think the way most fans see it is that Cech only has as limited amount of time left at the top level, and we’ve bought Leno who was intended to be our future. And he already has the skill that Emery is demanding from Cech. Cech has been great at shot stopping so far this season and has saved us points against West Ham, and prevented Chelsea/City losses from being worse. Since Emery has opted with Cech, I don’t think there has been enough done for him to be dropped. I do think at some point he will be dropped, which also begs the question as to why we’re waiting for Cech to mess up before calling on Leno. Arsenal are already in a hole point wise.

    1. A.ball08 says:

      Whilst chech is probably not blessed with the same skills with the ball at his feet as the other mentioned GK the defence has got to take responsibility on occasions and get rid up field. Not give him donkey back passes that puts him under pressure and puts us under pressure.
      I couldn’t see emery blooding all the new recruits at the same time as that wouldn’t make sense. A few at a time. Take a look at the hammers who have done this and they are bang in trouble .
      It’s going to take a while so patience is the key word at the moment.
      Can anyone tell me if this is cechs final contract year.

      1. Sue says:

        It says his contract ends on 30.6.19

  5. Midkemma says:

    I said from day one that Cech will be our number one. Leno isn’t such a good shot stopper as a fit Cech, Cech fitness has increased and he looks even sharper that last season which was evident from PreSeason.

    I think Sven didn’t want Leno to take over now but as he has done at BvB, getting in a potential big player for a fair fee a year or two before they become the main man. Lenos time will be next season or the one after that at the latest, at least this is my GUESS.

    1. Yossarian says:

      I agree. Arsenal are a work in progress, and all the changes are being implemented with a long-term view, so naturally it will be a while before the complete vision comes to fruition.

      This season is the beginning of the transition, but it will be a couple more years before the whole thing comes together, rather like it was for Liverpool under Klopp, Man City under Guardiola, and also Tottenham under Pochettino.

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        But not when Wenger took over, 18 months later he won the double and he was just starting. I’ve certainly popped him enough but credit when it’s due.

        1. ozziegunner says:

          Kenny, I have always appreciated what Arsene Wenger achieved at Arsenal; however the quality of the players he inherited has to be considered.
          Arsenal 2018 is a difficult project for any coach/manager!

          1. John Ibrahim says:

            Emery inherit quite a good side….especially the midfield and attack…but not defensively…

          2. ozziegunner says:

            John, agree with attack, but midfield also is lacking in physicality and ball winning ability.

          3. Midkemma says:

            I would go as far as to say that Wenger in his 1st decade trained the players better.

            It appears though that as he aged he let his confrontation issue become more of an issue, this wasn’t just on tactics/coaching but also business aspects.

            He did come in and make some big changes and he got our players to step up… He may have inherited a good team but he made them better. He was a brilliant manager then. The romantic in me wanted to see that Wenger return but what we want and what we get are two seperate things eh? 😛

  6. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Petr Cech is definitely NOT the problem? Are you kidding? Sure, there’s problems with the receivers, but Cech’s is the main man, and also the biggest culprit. His control with a football is that of a eight year old whereas. Leno, for all the faults he may have as a top keeper is brilliant when playing out from the back. Lets give him a game.

  7. Solwills says:

    If anyone has taken time to observe, you’ll see that Cech is not the main culprit here. How do you expect to move the ball up quickly with a midfielder like Xhaka who has poor control, little or no dribbling skills and poor mobility. Compare our transition play to other teams and you’ll find out where the problem lies, the midfielders who are more comfortable with the ball drop deep to help bail out the def. and gk. The new boy Guendouzi has been good if not great in doing this that’s why you see more of him in the midfield, he’s not afraid to call for or get the ball and he doesn’t hide unlike Xhaka, and if you watch carefully you will notice Xhaka hiding and the opposing team know this to be our weakest link making him a marked man. Cech as a gk is not great with the ball, and Xhaka as a cm is even worse with it, put in someone more comfortable with the ball in there (LT11) and watch the difference.

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      It won’t make no difference, as I said, Cech’s ability with ball is that of an eight year old. Anyone who’s ever played the game can see that.

  8. ozziegunner says:

    At last Arsenal has a specialist DM in Lucas Torreira; he must play to both shield the back four and provide an outlet for the goal keeper to play out from the back. Stephan Lichtsteiner at RB would also assist in providing leadership and solidity to the defense.

  9. jon fox says:

    The problem is with the while defence, including Cech. Cech , though still a decent, though not great, shot stopper, has never been good with his feet by comparison to some other keepers. This is obvious just by watching his painful struggles not to passs directly to pressing opponents. We do not need stats to show us this clear truth, just EYES! The awful defence is also complicit by passing needlessly back to him instead of forward and by not taking vup proper positions for a return pass from Cech. Simply put, they are awful and worse now even than under WENGER( which you might consider an impossible thing to “achieve”). The only true solution is to replace them all, barring maybe, Monreal, as quickly as possible. None of the regular defenders are good enough and that needs saying loud and clear. Mustafi and Sokratis are nowhere near fast or mobile enough. Neither are they tough and tall enough. Bellerin is either an out and out winger and nothing else OR he should be nowhere near an Arsenal shirt. A a so called “defender”, even after all this time, he is till a novice and it shows in every game he plays. No my fellow Gooners, we need them replaced. You cannot hope to make a silk purs3e from several sows ears but Emery is charged with that hopEless task, thanks to Scrooge Kroenke and the rubbish brought in and left behind by WENGER. WHAT A MESS!

    1. jon fox says:

      I should have made clear that Lichtsteiner, Torreira and Mavropanos are very much EXCLUDED from the above comments. I rate Torreira a great deal and also Lichsteiner who SHOULD BE our regular RB. MAVROPANOS SHOULD IMMEDIATELY REPLACE THE DREADFUL MUSTAFI, TOO!

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        Well said Jon, agree with those comments.

        1. kapaa says:

          our defence is poor and worse is Czech who always mess with the ball

    2. Midkemma says:

      There is a reason why intellectuals such Neil Degrasse Tyson says eye witness to be the “lowest form of evidence, which is sad as it is the highest form of evidence in the court of law”, that is quoted.

      What degrees do you have to make such a claim that eye witness is better than stats?

      We didn’t develop quantum knowledge based on eye witness. Sir Issac Newton didn’t proclaim gravity existed just cause he seen an apple fall, he thought about what he seen then he done tests and obtained data, that data was used to prove it mathematically using STATS.

      Eye witness was shoved to one side, all it did was raise the question, it didn’t prove anything.

      If eye witness was so great over stats then Aliens MUST exist and countless people are abducted for experiments… I mean, there are ‘eye witnesses’ for that, if you think eye witness is so great then go and ask them what Aliens are like. How about people who proclaim to see ‘god’? God must exist?

      How about people on mushrooms/acid? I guess the sky really is purple and green while slimy things drip from clouds made of sheep?

  10. dO2 says:

    My problem with Cech is simply this:
    He makes some really nice saves at times, but fumbles way too often.
    The goals he lets in are many times too cheap by his standards.
    A lot of the goals he concedes, I believe an average GK would prevent.
    I would rather have Leno making those mistakes since he’s young and his confidence will grow with more games, compared to Cech, who’s an oldie and way past it.

    Only heaven knows why Emery ain’t playing Leno, Litch and Torriera, and plays Cech, Bellerin and Xhaka in their stead. I hope he doesn’t infuriate soonest.

  11. ddkingz says:

    we should keep faith in our players and hopefully they would come true

  12. Sean Williams says:

    Then who was it giving the ball to pressed or marked players….it was Cech. Cech has been pathetic. To begin a game, from the first moments, giving the ball to pressed and marked players is crass stupidity. Teams settle in, including City, Barca and others. As some space develops the better teams play the ball out. Not when they are starting the game being pressed and marked. Stupid. Cech is not up to it. He cannot read the game. He’s a good shot stopper but distributes the ball like his mind is challenged.

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