As suggested in the title, I don’t actually think Arsenal were suffering that badly in the goalkeeping position last season. In fact I thought having two fairly good goalkeepers was great for the competition between them, driving each of them onto better things, and seeing David Ospina really coming into his own by the end of the season.
Sky Sports are reporting today that Cech is finally going to complete his £10.9 million move to Arsenal, which don’t get me wrong is probably going to be one of the best signings we’ve ever made.
BREAKING: Sky Sources: Arsenal agree £10.9m fee with Chelsea for Petr Cech. #SSNHQ
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) June 23, 2015
He is in my opinion still in the top 5 keepers in the world, but those who claim there was a crisis in the goalkeeping position are naive.
This isn’t me arguing against the purchase of Cech, simply questioning those who have been criticising our keepers all season. Have Arsenal fans so easily forgotten the years and years of complete ineptitude delivered to us by Manuel Almunia? In my eyes the worst keeper to ever pull on the Arsenal shirt.
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Despite all the odds, David Ospina was last season’s best keeper in the league going purely by stats (see above). I wouldn’t say he was by any means the most talented, and stats can often lie, but there has got to be something in the fact that he managed the most clean sheets per game, highest percentage of shots saved, and the least goals conceded per game of any goalkeeper playing more than 10 games – funnily enough, Petr Cech is the only one with a better overall performance over 5 games (via the Metro). So I question anyone saying Arsenal have particularly ‘needed’ a keeper. Especially when on the bench – despite all his issues – is a relatively young Wojciech Sczcesny, who was actually a fairly good No.1 for a couple of seasons.
Arsenal have not had a stronger group of goalkeepers at any time in the last decade, arguably even since David Seaman. Jens Lehmann was a very good keeper, but later in his career his form waned, and since him the likes of Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski, and Vito Mannone were never up to the standard of a club trying to win trophies. So now we have two international keepers on the books and I ask what crisis?
My only actual issue with the purchase of Cech will be what I believe to be the all but inevitable sale of Ospina. Sadly, given Sczcesny’s homegrown status, I believe the Columbian shot stopper is likely to be shown the door ahead of the Pole – who I would much rather see the back of in his place.
The sale of Ospina is definitely something that I think may hurt Arsenal in the long run, as even though Sczcesny is ok, I doubt he’ll ever grow into the No.1 Arsenal demand. Cech still has a few years in him, but it wont be long until Arsenal are seeking a new long term replacement, and I feel Ospina could make the No.1 sport his own – bearing in mind this guy has been in England for just one year and has already wrestled a starting spot off Szczesny. He could grow into a real cult hero, and it is rare to find a good keeper who seems to be ok fighting for the No.1 jersey. You can’t buy that, and I think the Gunners could regret it.
However, I should emphasise that the alleged purchase of Cech is sensational, and potentially a real game changer – even better when you consider that he could only cost £10.9 million (via Sky Sports). Despite all my appreciation for Ospina, obviously Petr Cech is in another league, and he probably wasn’t too far off when John Terry said that Cech is worth 15 points a year (via The Guardian). Jose Mourinho didn’t want to sell for a reason (via the Daily Mail), and this acquisition can take Arsenal to the next level.
The fact that Cech has won it all and can bring that winning attitude to an already positive dressing room is also huge. If the veteran shot-stopper can use his chance at Arsenal to get back to his best and prove to Chelsea he never lost his talent, I think he could go as far as being the key piece in the puzzle for Arsenal’s title bid… After all, this guy has been a thorn in our side for years, so it’ll be great to have him at our end of the pitch for a change.
Petr Cech may be the missing piece to Arsenal’s title challenge.