Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has spoken about the maturity of the current Arsenal squad, claiming that the players are well equipped to deal with all kinds of pressure (via Arsenal.com). Cech was speaking to Arsenal Player ahead of tomorrow’s game against Aston Villa, and praised the team’s confidence and experience, singling out Olivier Giroud in particular.
Cech has won a large number of trophies over the course of his career, including a Champions League and multiple Premier League titles. His vast experience and world-class skills have provided us with a much more solid and durable defence, which has had clear benefits already this season. But it has not only been down to Cech; several members of our existing squad have stepped up and taken their game to a whole new level this season.
The Czech Republic international addressed this, saying, “We are ready to play under pressure. This is something that is really nice to know because we are playing for the title and that will bring the pressure on. Then when you go further in the cup competitions the play-off rounds come up so you will definitely play under pressure.
“If you want to progress and go as far as possible then you have to keep winning games. It might be that it doesn’t go well for you in one of those games and you have to chase it, so it’s good to know that we’ve been in that situation before and we can actually do it, regardless of the circumstances.
“Hopefully it will help us to progress as a team for the next phase of the league and also in the Champions League. There’s always pressure in games where the circumstances are difficult, especially when you play away from home and need to get the result. Once you’ve experienced that then it gives everybody confidence.”
With the exception of the FA Cup, Arsenal have generally struggled in big games over the past few seasons. That appears to be changing however, as over the course of the past 12 months Arsenal have picked up several wins against bigger clubs (Manchester City, Manchester United, Bayern Munich). A lot of credit goes to the manager for changing up his tactics for crucial games, but most of it is down to the players who are finally playing up to their full potential.
One such player is clearly Olivier Giroud, who is well on his way to having his best ever season for Arsenal. Cech believes the Frenchman is capable of leading the line and guiding us to victory this season, and speaking about his teammate, had this to say, “You have to give Olivier a lot of credit because for a long period of the season Theo was injured and Danny has been injured, so there’s obviously a lot of pressure on him. We rely on him but he’s shown that he’s up to the challenge and he’s kept scoring important goals.
“He’s strong, big and obviously he can score. This is what you want from your striker so all the time he is scoring goals he is very important for the team. It’s great for his confidence as well because if you ask any striker, the biggest cure for them is to score goals. We hope he will continue playing well and having chances to score goals.”
Following tomorrow’s game against the struggling Aston Villa, Arsenal will have to start preparing for a top of the table clash with Manchester City. City have had injury problems of their own this season, although not quite as widespread as ours. Beating them during the crucial holiday period will not only establish our presence at the top of the table, but also build up a buffer zone between us and the other legitimate title challengers. It will also send out the clear message that Arsenal are no longer a club that falls short at the final hurdle, and that we are here to challenge for the biggest prizes in football once more.