by Nia Griffiths
Petr Cech believes the top of the Premier League is going to be incredibly competitive next season, with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and, of course, Arsenal all vying for space.
The goalkeeper, who spent 11 years at London rivals, Chelsea, has spoken about the strength of our squad and needing everyone to keep fit in order to truly compete.
Arsenal have had trouble with keeping players fit in the past, with numerous key players sometimes being sidelined for months at a time. This has often resulted in us fielding weakened teams and dropping points.
The 33-year-old also spoke about the spirit in the team, which is apparently high, as well as the decision to leave his former team.
“I’ve found the team spirit quite extraordinary, I have to say,” said Cech. “Everybody pulls in the same direction, which is why I believe we will have a successful season. You need to have that connection between players to work towards the same targets to be successful.”
He continued, “I’ve only been here a short while, but I can feel the team is together. We have a good balance in the squad. We have players with a lot of experience who have won the World Cup, for example, and young players who want to prove their point and play as much as possible.”
The spirit in the changing room has always been something that players, past and present, have brought up. Feeling as if you’re truly part of a team encourages the players to not only perform for themselves, but for the people around them, which can make them formidable opposition.
Cech elaborated on this, saying, “We have experienced players and hungry players so that balance gives us an advantage. And there are a lot of talented players. But the real strength lies in our numbers. This squad has a number of players ready to compete for every position, and we will need them all during the course of the season.”
Drawing on his personal experience with the Blues, the goalkeeper compared the hunger of both teams, suggesting that really we’re not so dissimilar.
“There are a lot of things in common,” he said. “Nobody wants to lose games, everybody wants to win. We are all focusing on getting ready for the season. We want a successful season which means we have to be prepared, as there are a lot of opponents in the pack who will have the same targets.”
Leading on from this, the Czech international then spoke about how tight the title race will be next season, saying, “Chelsea will want to win the Premier League, Manchester United will want to win it and are buying players to make their squad really strong. Man City already have the players to compete and Liverpool, Tottenham and others will want to join us at the top. It will be a tough season, but we hope we can get there.”
However, ultimately, Cech’s goals are pretty straight forward.
“I hope to be on the winning side again, simple as that. I play football to win and I will be facing Chelsea soon. If you have a game with two big teams it’s decided by the little details. In all those games when Chelsea were on top we managed the little details better.”
While at Chelsea, Cech won 13 trophies but when he got benched, he knew it was time to call it a day.
“Sometimes life brings difficult moments and situations where you need to forget about feelings and emotions, and you need to decide what is right.”
He continued, “I did what I thought was the right thing for me to do, as I’m full of motivation and ambition to continue to compete at the highest level. Mourinho made his decision to play Thibaut instead of me and I had to accept it. He’s the boss and can choose who he likes to play. He made his decision, which gave me a decision to make, which is why I’ve come to Arsenal.”
Last season, experienced Cech was dropped for the younger Thibaut Courtois and eventually only featured in 16 matches for the Blues, with only seven being in the Premier League – the league he loves.
“It’s not the time for me to be happy in a back-up role just yet,” he said. “Anything can happen here, but I now have a fresh start to compete for my place. It’s up to me how well I do. I’ve never asked for my (No 1) position to be clear. The way I work is that I do my best every day to make sure that the boss has no other option but to put me in the team.”
Adding, “The way he will do it will be his choice, it’s not my choice.”