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

Emery Fears Cech Will Be Out For Three Weeks

Inured Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech (C) receives attention before being substituted during the English Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at the Emirates Stadium on September 29, 2018. Photo: Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

 Unai Emery expects Petr Cech to be sidelined for up to three weeks after the Arsenal goalkeeper limped off during Saturday’s 2-0 win over Watford.

Cech suffered a hamstring injury in the first half at the Emirates Stadium and Arsenal manager Emery fears the former Chelsea star will be sidelined for several weeks.

The 36-year-old will be assessed by Arsenal’s medical team on Sunday.

“I think it’s a hamstring. Maybe he will miss two or three weeks. I hope not more. We will see tomorrow,” Emery said.

If Cech’s injury absence is confirmed, Emery can at least rely on Bernd Leno to prove an able deputy judging by the German’s impressive display against Watford.

With Arsenal under the cosh in the second half, Leno made a fine save to deny Troy Deeney and coped well under the Watford bombardment.

It was Leno’s first taste of the Premier League after his only other appearances came in the Europa League and League Cup.

Emery called on the pre-season signing from Bayer Leverkusen to seize his chance, saying: “I’m very happy with Leno.

“I think he was content to wait for this moment and now it is arriving. His performance was the best for us today.”

Unai Emery AFP Photo

 

Arsenal’s fifth successive Premier League win, and seventh in all competitions, was harsh on Watford, who bossed the game for long spells before Craig Cathcart’s 81st-minute own goal.

Mesut Ozil’s strike two minutes later put a flattering gloss on the scoreline for Arsenal, who are up to fifth place.

Emery conceded Arsenal had laboured at times, but he was pleased with the way they kept fighting.

“We knew it would be a difficult match. The ball was near our box a lot. The rhythm of the match was not what we wanted,” he said.

“In the first half we were a little nervous. We had to improve with our positioning, then our moments were arriving and we found our efficiency to score.

“We need players being hungry, to come in and help the team. Today we had Leno, who came on for Cech, then also Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi. They showed their quality.

“Each match is very important to win to help our confidence.

“We need the whole 90 minutes to have this control. We need more control, with the possession and the positioning.”

Frustrated Ramsey

Emery also needs to resolve the tricky issue of Aaron Ramsey’s future.

Ramsey is out of contract at the end of the season and negotiations over a new deal are reported to have broken down.

The Wales midfielder, who has attracted interest from Chelsea and Manchester United, was a subdued figure against Watford before being hauled off early in the second half.

Ramsey responded with a shake of his head and appeared to ignore Emery when he took his seat on the bench.

Emery wasn’t fazed, saying: “When the player wants to play every moment, I want these characters. They can help the team.”

Watford have now gone three league games without a win, spoiling their flying start to the season.

But Hornets boss Javi Gracia rightly felt his side had been unlucky not to emerge with at least a draw.

“What can I say? I’m very upset for my players. They deserved a better result,” he said.

“We had a very good performance, with a lot of clear chances to score. Arsenal had some amazing saves and if you don’t score you can lose.

“It’s frustrating. In the last few games we feel we deserved more.”

AFP

Emery Needs Time To Rebuild Arsenal – Cech

Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Unai Emery gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 12, 2018. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech pleaded for patience after Unai Emery’s first match as Arsene Wenger’s successor ended in a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City.

The Gunners were largely outclassed by the Premier League champions on Sunday and struggled to implement some obvious changes demanded by Emery in the offseason.

Cech nearly scored an embarrassing own goal and looked uncomfortable in trying to play out from the back as City pressed high.

After a series of risky passes, a long clearance by Cech was met with huge cheers from the Arsenal fans, but the veteran called for Emery’s methods to be given time.

“I think they have to understand that when you start building a new team with a new manager and a completely new way it may take time,” said Cech, who kept his place in goal ahead of new signing Bernd Leno.

A tough start for the Spanish coach continues next weekend against Cech’s old club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s new boss Maurizio Sarri did get off to a winning start in his Premier League debut at Huddersfield.

But Cech believes Arsenal can take heart from Chelsea’s own struggles to cope with City in losing the Community Shield 2-0 last weekend.

“Next week we have another big game but we will be better prepared because we have this game behind us. I believe we pushed them more than Chelsea did in the Community Shield,” he added.

Many of the concepts Emery wants to implement at Arsenal are similar to what Pep Guardiola has mastered in raising the bar at City.

And the difference between a project now into its third season under Guardiola and Emery’s early days was obvious on the opening weekend of the season.

“We try and build the team and create our own way of playing,” said Cech.

“Obviously we have been doing that for five weeks, they have been doing that for three years now so obviously they have a big advantage.”

AFP

Petr Cech Refuses To Abandon Title Hope

Arsenal’s Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech dices to make a save from a shot by Tottenham Hotspur’s English defender Eric Dier (unseen) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on November 18, 2017. Photo: Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

Petr Cech believes Arsenal could be in contention for the Premier League title come the end of the season despite trailing leaders Manchester City by 12 points going into Wednesday’s match with Huddersfield.

A win would probably still leave the Gunners well adrift of record-breaking City, with Pep Guardiola’s unbeaten side hosting Southampton, but Cech — a four-time Premier League champion with Chelsea — is looking long-term.

“You have to play game by game, not think too much about what’s going on around you because if you win your game then you give yourself a chance,” he said.

“Let’s win our game and see how the others are doing. If the other teams at this moment above us keep going, keep winning, then you can’t catch them.

“First you need to win your games and keep putting pressure on them.”

Though City have left their rivals in the starting blocks, Cech believes there is still time for the situation to change drastically.

“It’s only 13 games in,” he said. “That’s the most important thing and there’s so many points to be won. You need to carry on for 38 games and show consistency.

“There can be plenty of twists in the table and you see yourselves climb after two wins then have a draw and fall out of the top four pretty quick.

“It’s packed in there and I think it will be until the end of the season.”

Arsenal broke into the top four with a 1-0 win at Burnley on Sunday, although that required a controversial stoppage-time penalty that was converted by Alexis Sanchez.

– Wilshere in wings –

Mesut Ozil missed that match because of illness and may not be risked against the Terriers, with Manchester United visiting the Emirates at the weekend.

That could open the door for Jack Wilshere to make his first Premier League start of the season.

The England midfielder, whose career has been hit hard by a series of injuries, has been used from the beginning in cup matches this term and came on in the 67th minute at Turf Moor for Alex Iwobi.

Wilshere is in the final year of his current contract, but has been reassured by manager Wenger that he is likely to get more action if he remains patient.

Huddersfield head to London having given Manchester City a hard time on Sunday, taking the lead but eventually losing 2-1 after Raheem Sterling netted a fortuitous late winner.

Defender Mathias Jorgensen — who wears the nickname ‘Zanka’ on his shirt — reckons the Terriers could use that disappointment to their advantage.

“We can learn that you don’t even have to make mistakes for them to punish you,” he said.

“Although the second goal is lucky, we have to remember how much quality is in their team. It’s on a different level to what you can imagine.

“It will be a great test for us and a big one especially going to play at somewhere like the Emirates, but realistically every game is a big game for us in this division.

“We all know that it’s a long season, but going into this busy period we want to be picking up some points, so hopefully we can get something in the next few games.”

Winger Rajiv van La Parra is suspended following his red card on Sunday for a clash with City’s Leroy Sane.

AFP

Pep Guardiola Named Manager Of The Month

Pep Guardiola, Eden HazardPep Guardiola has won the Premier League Manager of the Month award for February.

Guardiola guided Manchester City to three straight wins last month, winning 4-0 away at West Ham, 2-1 at home against Swansea and 2-0 away at Bournemouth.

He defeated Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, Manchester United boss, Jose Mourinho and West Brom manager, Tony Pulis to win his first accolade in England.

Meanwhile, Eden Hazard clinched the Premier League Goal of the Month for February with his solo goal against Arsenal.

Hazard glided past three Arsenal players in a run that started inside his own half before beating Petr Cech in a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge on February 7.

His goal beat off competition from Danny Drinkwater’s thunderbolt for Leicester against Liverpool and Robbie Brady’s stunning free-kick on his full Burnley debut against Chelsea to pick up the award.

Arsenal Crash At Home To Watford, As Chelsea Draw At Anfield

Arsenal Crash At Home To Watford, As Chelsea Draw At AnfieldArsenal suffered a shock loss 2-1 loss to Watford at the Emirates in the English Premier League on Tuesday night.

It was Watford’s first Premier League away win at Arsenal as two goals in the first 13 minutes set up the 2-1 victory.

Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Younes Kaboul opened the scoring with a powerful drive aided by a deflection off Aaron Ramsey, who limped off with an injury.

Watford’s second came three minutes later as Troy Deeney slotted in after Petr Cech parried Etienne Capoue’s shot into his path.

But Alex Iwobi slotted in from Alexis Sanchez’s chipped cross on 54 minutes and Lucas Perez crashed an effort against the crossbar as Arsenal piled the pressure on in the second half, but Watford held on.

Chelsea and Liverpool played a 1-1 draw at Anfield as the visitors missed the chance of an 11-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Georginio Wijnaldum’s header earned Liverpool the equalizer after David Luiz’s 25th minute free-kick had put them ahead.

Chelsea could have taken all three points but Diego Costa’s penalty was saved by Mignolet.

In other matches, Crystal Palace beat Bournemouth 2-0 at the Vitality Stadium while relegation threatened Sunderland played a goalless draw with Tottenham Hotspur to ensure all top teams dropped points on the night.

Elsewhere Sam Voke’s 87th minute goal was all Burnley needed to beat Leicester City 1-0 at Turf Moor while Middleborough and West Brom played a 1-1 draw in a keenly contested encounter at the Riverside Stadium.

Swansea City defeated Southampton 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium.

Middlesbrough Scuttle Arsenal’s Six-match Winning Run

arsenalArsenal’s six-match winning run came to an end against Middlesbrough but a point was enough to move them top of the Premier League table.

Manager Arsene Wenger – celebrating his 67th birthday – watched his side dominate possession but underwhelm in the final third.

The Gunners managed five efforts on target, but only one worried Boro keeper, Victor Valdes, when he pulled off a great one-handed stop to deny Alexis Sanchez.

Aitor Karanka’s side defended brilliantly and, despite conceding much of the possession to the home side, created the better chances.

Arsenal keeper, Petr Cech, blocked Gaston Ramirez’s header, twice denied the outstanding Adama Traore and also saved from Alvaro Negredo.

With A Bit Tired Legs

The home side briefly thought they had won it in injury time but Mesut Ozil’s effort was rightly ruled out for offside.

arsene-wenger
Arsene Wenger says the energy was a bit down today

Despite remaining in 17th place, Boro should be buoyed by the display and unexpected result.

In his post-match comment, Wenger said his team had the possession but with a bit tired legs. There was not enough left in our legs today.

For him, one remarkable thing was that the team made sure they did not lose the game.

In other matches, Scott Arfield’s 90th-minute winner gave Burnley their third win of the season in a match dominated by Everton.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored twice as stoke comfortably won at hull to move out of the relegation zone.

Nigeria striker, Ahmed Musa, scored his first goal for Leicester City, as the champions stretched their unbeaten home run to 20 games.

Winston Reid scored a late winner for West Ham to extend Sunderland’s losing streak to nine games.

Euro 2016: Croatia Draw Czech Despite Crowd Violence

Euro 2016 Croatia, Czech Croatia have drawn Czech Republic 2 – 2 in the ongoing Euro 2016 championship in France, despite the violence that erupted from the Croatian end.

The crisis could be in reaction to Czech’s fightback goal, after being down by two goals to the Croatians.

This comes just as a French court jails three Russian fans for two years for their role in the violence in Marseille before the England-Russia opening match.

The watershed started in the 86th minute when some Croatians threw several flares on to the pitch after Tomas Necid replaced Jaroslav Plasil.Euro 2016 Crowd Violence

The referee, Mark Clattenburg, stopped the play when another flare was fired at an official’s direction, as fights also broke out in a section behind Petr Cech’s goal post.

The Croatians’ dream was subsequently truncated just as Clattenburg awarded a penalty in favour of Czech Republic.

Substitute Necid took advantage of the penalty to give Czech an equaliser, as they remain third in Group D while Croatia sit at the top of the group.

The crisis took place on Friday at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard in Saint-Etienne.

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.