In news that might not be welcomed by most supporters, Petr Cech has said that Arsenal have improved from last season.
Having finished outside the Champions League places for the first time in two decades whilst seeing their title aspirations crash and burn after a sluggish start to 2017, it’s not exactly the best thing to say following the 3-1 win over Everton on Sunday afternoon.
However, the 35-year-old does have a point. He said, “If you have a one off year in 20 years it is not a problem. The club have a strong foundation and organisation to be one year out and to come back straight in.
“We had four more points than last season [when Arsenal finished second] so we improved but the others had a great season. It is a bitter-sweet feeling,” Cech continued.
The former Chelsea man is Arsenal’s oldest senior player and has remained upbeat about the side’s chances next season despite failing to secure Champions League qualification.
He admits that the Gunners collectively let themselves down at a crucial stage during the season, losing four in five league matches whilst crashing out of the Champions League in the last-16 once again despite winning Group A, with an embarrassing 10-2 aggregate score against Bayern Munich.
“Obviously February-March was the period when we dropped points unnecessarily. In the big games last season we got the most from games against the top four and this season we have not done so well,” Cech continued.
“So that was it. When you look around and make one or two bad results around it is disappointing. When you lose games, you make too many mistakes. It is disappointing.”
Despite the club being ridiculed by rival supporters, Cech has also insisted it’s important for Arsenal to avoid complacency when competing on Thursday nights.
“We have to respect competition because a European trophy is a European trophy,” he said. “It will give everyone confidence and experience, especially the young players if they feature.
“If you treat everything with respect you can benefit from it. I hope the team stays together. We can look forward to the FA Cup Final and finish the season on a high.”
Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil have a year remaining on their respective contract deals with the Gunners, and news about their futures has dominated headlines throughout the season. Cech also stressed the importance of retaining the key duo, as it’ll help the club moving forward.
“Alexis and Mesut are both exceptional players and you want to keep exceptional players with you.“