Carlo Cudicini insists he has no doubts that Petr Cech will remain professional for the Europa League final on Wednesday, despite the emotional attachment the 37-year-old has to Arsenal’s opponents Chelsea.
Objectively speaking, it is poetic that Cech’s last game will give him the chance to win a trophy against the club where he spent most of his career. The draw fell perfectly to keep the two sides apart until the showpiece final in Baku, after the goalkeeper had already announced his plan to retire at the end of the season.
The problem is that Arsenal fans don’t share that sentimental attachment to Chelsea. Most of them would’ve rather seen the Blues exit the competition in the group stage, and the supporters care much more about Champions League qualification and a European trophy than a fairytale end for one individual member of the team.
As a result, whether Cech should be involved in the final has become a major talking point. Former Chelsea goalkeeper Cudicini thinks Cech won’t have any trouble remaining professional on the day though.
“It’s a huge, huge match for Petr but he is a professional and he is intelligent,” Cudicini said. “For sure all of these things will play an emotional part for him but once you are on the pitch, you forget everything and you play to win the trophy – Petr will do that.
“For us (Chelsea) he is obviously an enemy for 90 or 120 minutes, for however long we are on the pitch.”
Cech has kept six clean sheets in his 10 Europa League games this season, which is certainly a good record. On the other hand, he couldn’t keep one in either leg of the semi-final, and he looked particularly shaky for Valencia’s second goal at the Mestalla Stadium, where Kevin Gameiro pretty much walked the ball in.
If Cech can play as he has for the rest of the tournament, making a number of important saves along the way, it won’t be a problem if he starts.