Arsenal Goalkeeper Petr Cech To Retire At End Of Season

Arsenal’s Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech gestures during the English FA Cup third round football match between Blackpool and Arsenal at Bloomfield Road in Blackpool, north-west England on January 5, 2019. PHOTO: Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech announced on Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old, who won four Premier League titles with Chelsea, revealed his decision on Twitter.

He wrote: “This is my 20th season as a professional player and it is 20 years since I signed my first professional contract, so it feels like the right time to announce that I will retire at the end of this season.”

The Czech, who arrived in the Premier League with Chelsea in 2004 and moved to Arsenal in 2015, added: “Having played 15 years in the Premier League and won every single trophy possible, I feel like I have achieved everything I set out to achieve.

“I will continue to work hard at Arsenal to hopefully win one more trophy this season, then I am looking forward to seeing what life holds for me off the pitch.”

Cech joined Arsenal in 2015 and has made 129 appearances for the Gunners after winning multiple trophies at rivals Chelsea.

Signed from Rennes by Claudio Ranieri in 2004, Cech won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the Champions League, the Europa League and three League Cups with the Blues.

Cech suffered a serious head injury in 2006 following a collision with Reading’s Stephen Hunt.

Hunt’s knee crashed into Cech’s head, leaving him with a fractured skull, but he returned to action four months later wearing what became his trademark protective headgear.

Cech became the first goalkeeper to keep 200 Premier League clean sheets in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Watford last season, during which he saved a penalty from Troy Deeney.

He is also the Czech Republic’s most capped player, making 124 appearances.

Cech is no longer first choice at Arsenal, with Bernd Leno preferred for most of this season so far, but the club were quick to pay their own tribute.

Arsenal tweeted: “For your consummate professionalism, for being the perfect role model, for the 50 clean sheets, for your honesty, your integrity and for your inspiring work with @AFC_Foundation, we want to say… Thank you, @PetrCech!”

AFP

Xhaka Looks Forward To Arsenal’s ‘Family Atmosphere’

Granit Xhaka, ArsenalGranit Xhaka says former Gunners Havard Nordtveit, Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos encouraged him to join the “family” atmosphere at Arsenal.

The 23-year-old midfielder arrived in north London as Arsène Wenger’s first signing of the summer, having spent the last four years at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Xhaka says his former Gladbach team-mate Nordtveit and Swiss compatriots Djourou and Senderos talked up the positive atmosphere at the club.

“I spoke with [Nordtveit] about Arsenal and he told me it’s a big club, a family club and it’s very important for me to come here,” Xhaka told Arsenal Player.

“Philippe played here and I play with him in the national team. Johan and Philippe have only told me positive things.

“Arsenal is Arsenal. It’s not a small club, it’s a very big club and it’s like a family. It’s very good for me because I love my family and to have another family here is very good.”

Xhaka progressed through the youth ranks of Mohamed Elneny’s former side Basel, and the 23-year-old says he is looking forward to playing with the Egyptian.

“I know him by name, but when I went to Monchengladbach he came to Basel,” he said. “My brother played with him and I had heard of him before I came here. In Switzerland we produce very good young players and many of these players have come to England. That’s very good.”

 

Wenger Hails Arsenal Character In Man City Draw

ArsenalArsenal manager, Arsene Wenger believes his side have the character to seal a top-three finish in the Barclays Premier League going by the manner in which they drew 2-2 draw at Manchester City.

The Gunners extended their unbeaten run to nine league matches as they came from behind twice through goals for Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez against City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Arsenal now need a point in their final match of the season, against relegated Aston Villa on Sunday, to guarantee third place in the table.

“We have seen again today that we just want to finish the job with the result,” Wenger said. “We have had strong concentration in recent games and our character has been questioned a few times this season.

“We gave the right response today on the pitch, but you have to say if you look we have the best results against the top-four teams. That doesn’t come without character.”

Wenger also said striker Danny Welbeck will have a scan on his knee on Monday to determine the extent of an injury that forced him off the field in the 59th minute.

“I hope that it is not bad one and a meniscus.” Wenger added. “We tried to keep him on the pitch and straight away he tried to move on and he said it was impossible. At half time, I looked at him and he was very down so he must have pain.”

Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, was remorseful that things did not end well as the result means that Manchester United will now finish above them if they win both their final league matches.

“It was not the way we wanted to finish the season, We wanted to qualify for the Champions League final and to win again today.

“But there are three years of work here, for me, three wonderful and unforgettable years so all I can say to all the fans is thanks for all of it.

“I will never forget you and, most of all, don’t change. Continue the same way because I’m sure next year that this team will need you and will be a very successful team in all the competitions.”

Losing out on Champions League qualification would prove a disaster for incoming City boss, Pep Guardiola.

Manchester United Force Leicester City To Wait For Title

Leicester CityLeicester City were held to a 1-1 draw by Manchester United at Old Trafford and will have to wait to complete their fairytale Barclays Premier League triumph.

The Foxes needed a win to be crowned champions with two matches to spare.

Claudio Ranieri’s unchanged side had a passive start and Anthony Martial capitalised by opening the scoring but captain Wes Morgan headed a 16th-minute equaliser.

Leicester will emerge as champions at home to Everton next weekend if Tottenham Hotspur fail to beat Chelsea on Monday, while any victory from City or slip-up by Spurs will complete the remarkable story that Sunday’s draw left dangling.

United, who could not capitalise on a late red card for Danny Drinkwater, lost ground on Arsenal and Manchester City in the race for a top-four spot but edged ahead of West Ham United into fifth.

 

Sunderland, Arsenal Draw Goalless As Leicester Crush Swansea

premier leagueEnglish Premier League side, Sunderland are out of the relegation zone following a goalless draw against Arsenal at the Stadium of Light.

Both sides had penalty shouts turned down in the first half, as referee Mike Dean waved away appeals from Jermain Defoe and Alex Iwobi.

Patrick Van Aanholt went closest to breaking the deadlock when his free-kick hit the post, while former Arsenal goalkeeper, Vito Mannone made several impressive saves to preserve his clean sheet.

As Sunderland pressed for a vital winner in the second half, Arsenal Petr Cech stood strong with equally impressive saves to ensure both teams shared the points.

Leicester City moved within sight of the Premier League crown after cruising to a 4-0 victory over Swansea City at the King Power Stadium also on Sunday.

Claudio Ranieri’s side were without the suspended Jamie Vardy for the game, but still cruised past the Swans to establish an eight-point lead in the Premier League.

Mahrez opened the scoring while Ulloa added a brace either side of half-time and Albrighton made it 4-0 late on.

Second-placed Tottenham face West Brom at White Hart Lane on Monday evening.

In other matches played on Saturday, Super Eagles forward Kelechi Iheanacho helped Manchester City beat Stoke City 4-0 in the day’s lunchtime kick-off.

The 19-year-old scored twice in the 64th and 74th minute adding to further strikes from Fernando and Sergio Aguero.

Iheanacho who also recorded an assist against the potters now has 5 goals in the Premier League this season.

The big win ensures that Man City has leapfrogged Arsenal to occupy the third position on goal difference.

In other games, Liverpool and Newcastle battled to a 2-2 draw in Rafael Benitez’s return to Anfield.

Chelsea beat AFC Bournemouth 4-1, while already relegated Aston Villa lost 2-4 against Southampton.

 

Petr Cech Named Czech Republic Player Of The Year

Petr CechArsenal goalkeeper, Petr Cech, has been named Czech player of the year for the eighth time.

The award was announced on Monday after votes by coaches, players and club officials. Football federation officials and journalists also participated in the poll.

Sparta Prague striker David Lafata, finished second while Hertha Berlin midfielder Vladimir Darida came third.

The 33-year-old Arsenal player has been capped 118 times since making his international debut in 2002.

Cech joined Arsenal from Premier League champions Chelsea last June after making over 400 appearances in 11 years at Stamford Bridge.

Petr Cech has helped Czech Republic qualify for Euro 2016 in France where they play Spain, Croatia and Turkey in Group D.

However, a calf muscle injury he sustained earlier in March has ruled him out of the forthcoming international matches against Scotland and Sweden.

National team coach Pavel Vrba was voted best coach for the sixth straight year.