by Lewis Ambrose
Arsenal’s new signing, Petr Čech, has arrived with very little fuss.
Aside from a few abusive Chelsea fans and a disgruntled José Mourinho the move has been almost universally accepted as a good one for Arsenal, and a good one for the goalkeeper himself. The 33 year-old has joined for a fee of around £11M but, despite his age, nobody seems to have made much about it.
As ever, though, there is one dissenting voice in the crowd.
England legend Peter Shilton – whose 125 caps is a national record – thinks Čech may struggle which is in no small part due to his age.
“He is not getting any younger. I have always rated him, he is a top quality good goalkeeper, but I’ve just thought on a few occasions that when Chelsea struggled, he struggled a bit sometimes,” Shilton told talkSPORT on Friday.
“He was playing behind a really good defence at Chelsea and that gives you confidence week in, week out but if he doesn’t get that cover we will see if he has that top quality and that confidence to perform.”
Shilton raises a great point. Čech was protected by a much more defensive side at Chelsea, and we could see him exposed more at the Emirates Stadium. Then we will see what the goalkeeper is really made of.
Arsenal have opted to use a lower block at times, especially with David Ospina in goal, but it has never been much of a preference of Arsène Wenger’s.
The one time Čech played behind a high-line – under Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea – he was left looking past his best and out of his depth.
Arsenal have a world class goalkeeper on their hands but Shilton – who played for England until he was 41 – is right, the defence has to be set up to protect their new number one.