Arsenal spent a reported fee of £11M on Petr Čech this summer, and he showed why on Monday night.
With the Gunners under huge pressure against Liverpool, Čech came up with two stunning saves to keep the game at 0-0. The Czech had a relatively inexperienced central defensive partnership ahead of him with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny both missing, making his experience and ability vital.
With Christian Beneteke up front for the visitors the way Čech commanded his box, proactively snuffing out crosses, was important, as was his claiming influence and decision to bypass the defence with a more direct style when they had repeatedly played themselves into trouble.
What everyone will remember, though, are his two saves before the break.
“Petr Čech saved us two or three times in the first half,” Arsène Wenger confessed after the game. “During that period, yes he was outstanding.”
Firstly Čech showed incredible reflexes as he managed to get low to tip Christian Benteke’s close range effort around the post, to gasps of amazement from the home crowd.
Minutes later he made what was arguably an even better save. Philippe Coutinho unleashed a driving effort after beating Héctor Bellerín, but the Arsenal goalkeeper somehow got the slightest of fingertips to the shot, which he diverted onto the post.
The former Chelsea man had a debut to forget against West Ham United just over a fortnight ago, and this was just the sort of performance he needed to gain the faith of the Arsenal fans.