In football, it’s always tempting to look ahead, to try and interpret out a few moves or steps that will be made. Especially with a club like Arsenal, in the midst of transition, when even the slightest happening and detail is grasped at the moment when a certain stage ends and the next chapter blossoms.
At this moment, it’s tough to announce any move by Unai Emery as definitive. The process of transition is inevitable, and if it happens, it can be difficult or easy at times, but ultimately it occurs through a gradual process and development. A slow emergence over time just like when seasons change. One of the most affected people due to the tactical transition in this Emery era is Petr Cech.
Cech has endured jitters at the beginning of this season after making numerous errors. All this stems from the fact that Emery’s style of play dictates that play starts from the back, as we have seen very hard for Cech.
Emery’s style seeks to impose a high pressing game where the goalkeeper is required to start to play in a certain way. The goalkeeper builds play from the back. However, Cech has demonstrated anxiety in the early season games against Manchester City as well as Chelsea. Additionally, he was nearly caught off guard in the games against Cardiff.
Cech, however, suffered a hamstring injury at home against Everton, and ultimately he was replaced by Summer acquisition, £19.2m Leverkusen shot-stopper Bernd Leno.
Ball Playing Goalkeeper
Since his arrival, many Arsenal fans were waiting to see what they had signed and what he had brought to the team. Leno, who is known for his ball playing capabilities has been on the sidelines patiently waiting for his opportunity to come, and inevitably it came albeit the injury of Cech.
So far he has been exceptional in all the games that he has played. With the imminent return of Cech, it’s really hard to know who will be the number one.
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Leno made his first Premier League start in goal away to Fulham, and he had a fairly good game. The passing move in Arsenal’s third which was often awkward suddenly experienced a transformation and looked smoother than before.
It was more impressive that Arsenal played very well. They controlled the game with all the running and aggression, and this saw them humble Fulham by five goals to one in their own backyard.
Bernd Leno has certainly done nothing wrong to warrant being removed from the number one spot up to now. However, hard choices have to be made, and as things stand, it will be very difficult to see Cech getting back to that team. Leno is a young, ambitious and ready to fight for the number one spot and has all the qualities that Emery demands from his goalkeeper.
With Cech’s age also catching up, we may just be seeing the end of an era. Even though he has a lot to offer and has been fairly brilliant as seen in the last couple of days, we have to accept that new blood has to be injected into the Arsenal team.
Of course, Cech has more to offer. He is the perfect mentor to Leno, and with all the experience under his belt, Arsenal will have solved a problem at the back that has not been completely achieved for some time now.