Originally posted on Goonersphere
Last seasons excellent run of form coincided with the emergence of a certain Francis Coquelin. The much-travelled Gaul evidenced every asset that fans and indeed the team – were crying out for. Prior to his surprise inclusion we had looked similar to previous seasons efforts – pleasing on the eye, capable of running rings around any team, but brittle in the heat of battle.
The ‘Coq Block’ proved to be ridiculously effective. Those that are interested in stats marvelled at his numbers as he repelled wave after wave of attack with bared teeth and trademark grimace. The fact he had been one of our recruits for a number of years and not a £25million superstar holding midfielder was a stumbling block for a lot of Gooners but week after week, his performances were so complete that he convinced the majority that he was the answer to the conundrum which had plagued Arsenal for some time. He was the midfielder we had been lacking. That’s not to say he could do with a little help perhaps…..
We were close to the complete team. Now all we needed was an accomplished goalkeeper…..
This may be an injustice to our current glove incumbents – David Ospina and Wojicech Szczesny. A lot of thought from fans has been devoted to this issue and rightly so – a subject a previous article has also covered.
Wojicech two seasons ago shared the Golden Gloves award with our new stellar signing — Petr Cech. Despite his age he showed that his talent could take him to the very zenith of the game. Shame then, when we discovered he still lacked the other mandatory part required to make a top class sportsman – common sense. The Pole instilled doubt where before there was only affection at his obvious love for our club and his instinctive shot-stopping.
Cue David Ospina. Fresh from a sparkling World Cup 2014 with Colombia, his bargain acquisition should have been the answer to our problems. He was purchased to provide competition to an occasionally over-cocky Szczesny. The Colombian was to take over as our first choice keeper after some dismal displays and a smoky indiscretion in the club showers and there he would stay for the duration of the season, racking up clean sheets with ease.
Yet, he never quite acquired the full trust of fans. His amount of clean sheets were impressive, but, was that down to our defence tightening up and becoming a little more tactically astut
e? Could full credit go to David?
Fast forward to the present day and the two week saga regarding Petr Cech is over. We have bought the standout ‘man between the sticks’ of the Premier League for the last ten seasons. There can be no doubt that he is the finest keeper we have had since Jens Lehmann and David Seaman. That
leaves Ospina and Szczesny in a pickle.
Both believe they deserve to be Number 1. The simple fact of the matter is that Petr Cech is a mile ahead of both of them in terms of the final product. He offers our defence an assured head in times of pressure that David and Wojicech cannot and his record cannot be ignored.
Wojicech’s love for the club and an opportunity to learn from one of the best goalkeepers of his generation should see him sated enough to be seated on the bench as back-up. David Ospina will not want to be demoted however.
If he is to move on, then his one season sojourn to North London has served both parties well. We received a keeper who slotted in seamlessly and performed well enough to see us to 3rd position and to retain the F.A Cup. Ospina in turn took a golden chance to escape mediocrity in Nice and raise his profile to such a degree that his next move will see him stay in the limelight with another top club. Europe will be his oyster and he will have no shortage of takers.
Petr Cech has arrived at the optimum time. The return of Jose Mourinho has seen tensions rise again between our two clubs. The fact we have snapped up such a talent from them when only two seasons ago we were snubbed in our advances toward their oft-benched striker Demba Ba shows that we have progressed.
He boasts 168 clean sheets in 333 Premier League appearances! That is an absolutely startling stat and shows that he can give us consistency, which very few goalkeepers in the League were capable of. He can be the final piece in the spine of our side.
Petr Cech in goal. Koscielny at centre back. Coquelin providing the shield. Ozil loading the bullets with Theo, Sanchez and Giroud firing the gun. When you throw into the mix Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere, Gabriel, Bellerin, Debuchy, Monreal, Mertesacker etc you have a team with no excuses for failure.
We lacked a defensive midfielder. We now have one. We were sorely missing a consistent goalkeeper. We now have Petr bloody Cech. Some may say we lack a striker, but with the glut of options we have up front in Sanchez, Giroud and Theo who can all provide 15-20 goals a season, then a high profile striker would only see a disjointed attack for a period in the season. A season in which we can genuinely look forward to a battle at the summit of the League.
Cech was the final piece we were rummaging around for. Wenger has assembled quite a team whilst the mist of doubt shrouded him. Let us now see wh
ether they can produce when it matters.