Sunday will see Petr Čech play at the Emirates Stadium against Chelsea for the first time.
The goalkeeper spent a decade with Arsenal’s London rivals before his move to north London in the summer. He has played against his former club twice since that transfer, but Sunday marks his first head-to-head clash with Chelsea at his new home.
Manager Arsène Wenger believes Čech has settled into life at Arsenal incredibly well, which is testament to his character.
“I consider him now as a real Arsenal player,” Wenger said on Thursday. “It looks to me he’s been here forever because he’s adapted so well. He’s integrated in the team spirit that I feel he has been here a very long time.”
The 33-year-old goalkeeper has been in superb form all season and picked up the man of the match award last weekend as he earned Arsenal a point away at Stoke City.
Having won the Champions League once and the Premier League four times during his time at Stamford Bridge, the goalkeeper has plenty of experience and knows all about performing when it counts. In previous years the Gunners have been accused of having a soft underbelly and struggling under pressure, but that’s no longer the case.
“We have certainly improved our battling potential for big solidarity, for big togetherness because we are more ambitious, we have more experience than the past in the team,” explained Wenger. “They – the experienced players – know sometimes it’s about battling and not only about playing well.”
Čech is one of those experience players, and he will hope to deliver once again this weekend.