Former Arsenal star Charlie Nicholas believes Petr Cech will be hugely important against Barcelona this Tuesday night, and highlighted just how key the Czech international will be to our Champions League aspirations, as reported by the Daily Star.
The Sky pundit believes several players will play huge roles against the La Liga giants, with Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Özil, and Cech all likely to be game changers.
“Olivier Giroud has to have a right go at Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano, Alexis Sanchez will be up for playing his old club and it’s another chance for Mesut Özil to show he can shine among the stars,” he said.
“However, it’s Petr Cech that I’m really hoping will show just how important he is.”
Cech has an excellent record against Barcelona and Lionel Messi, and if he faces the number of shots we expect him to he will certainly prove key. Keeping a clean sheet is unquestionably the most important thing, as handing Barcelona any number of away goals will give us a massive mountain to climb. Scoring a goal or two would obviously help too though, giving us a cushion heading to the Nou Camp.
When on form Giroud is capable of great things, and although he has plenty of critics, he’s scored against the likes of Bayern Munich and Manchester City this season, showing he’s able to perform on the big stages. We’ll need all our attacking stars to be on form, but Giroud will be the spearhead and the one that links it all together.
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“I’ll be a nervous wreck in the studio every time either Lionel Messi, Neymar or Luis Suarez get the ball and the fans at the Emirates will feel the same,” he continued.
“They are probably the best three in the world. I include Cristiano Ronaldo in that and I genuinely think they’ll be the three competing for the Ballon d’Or next season, they’ve been that good.
“You get to the stage where you wonder how on earth you even begin to plan to stop them. Do you put two holding midfielders in?
“Well that means you’re never going to attack and the one thing we know is that Barca do leak goals.
“I think Arsenal know they need to take a risk and go for it. What would be a comfortable result to take to the Camp Nou? Is 3-0 even enough to make them favourites to go through?”
We certainly have to balance risk and reward, and make sure we get the right combination. We need to be defensively sound and attempt to keep out Suarez, Neymar, and Messi, but we’re more than capable of snatching a goal if we can hit them on the counter.
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Whether we’re on top form or not, it will be incredibly difficult to get anything from this game. Hopefully Luis Enrique’s side aren’t quite at their best, and we can capitalise and get the win.