As Chelsea goalkeeper, Petr Čech is used to playing against Arsenal.
The Czech international has lined up against his current team-mates a number of times, but only now does he realise just how talented they are.
Whereas Chelsea are often functional, Arsenal attempt to play flowing football and that lends itself to hugely talented technical qualities, which Čech is now seeing as he gets to train with his new team-mates.
“There are a number of players here that you play against and you know that the player has great technique, great passing, and so on,” the summer signing said. “But then you train with them and you see them play, and you realise that some of them have really special qualities.
“If you see Santi playing in very tight places and always finding a solution, you just think, ‘Wow, how does he do that?’ because it’s one thing you didn’t know he could do.”
Mesut Özil is widely criticised for his impact on games, but Čech was also keen to talk about the German’s true abilities, giving him the highest of praise.
“People always speak about Mesut and the way he has great passing ability. He has but when you see him running, it’s not only about his passing. He’s a far more complete player than just his passing.
“You are aware of certain things when you play against players, but when you play with them you realise they are really important.”
The passing range of Özil, as displayed once again against Stoke City at the weekend, is sublime but there’s far more to him than that.
Another player who is quietly superb is his countryman Per Mertesacker. Not a thundering centre-half, Mertsacker interprets the game incredibly well. The defender makes up for his perceived lack of pace and frankly poor acceleration to cover his defensive partners superbly.
“When you play against Per, you know that he’s tall and that if you go in the air you might not have a chance to get past him, but it’s not only about his stature,” Čech insisted.
“He has fantastic reading of the game so he’s in the right places for most of the time and that’s why he’s playing at this level.
“I could go on. We would spend an hour on this because you find out other things about everybody.”
It’s fantastic to hear how highly Čech rates his new team-mates, and we can only hope he tells his former colleagues at Chelsea just how brilliant we are. Maybe, just maybe, that could offer us some sort of psychological edge ahead of Saturday’s game at Stamford Bridge.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 Daily Cannon