Hector Bellerin and Bernd Leno both went to see Slavia Prague’s goalkeeper before the first match at the Emirates to check how his facial injury was before reassuring him that ‘you’re safe from us’, a kind gesture that turned out to be true in a number of ways.
Speaking to MF DNES, Slavia Prague’s keeper, Ondřej Kolář, has added more detail to the story that emerged earlier this week, as told by Slavia Prague’s chairman, Jaroslav Tvrdik.
Tvrdik had said, “I was totally blown away by a situation Ondřej Kolář told me about. It rebuilds my trust in English football. In Fair Play.
“Both Arsenal captain (Bellerin) and goalkeeper (Leno) came to him before our game to assure him that he didn’t have to worry about anything after his injury. This is the true value of football.”
Ahead of the return leg, Kolář was asked if ‘the stars from Arsenal behaved differently last week? and he replied, “That excited me. Before the match, captain Bellerín and goalkeeper Leno came to see me, even though the referee did not want to let them go for safety reasons. Leno shook my hand, asked me how I was, and said: Don’t worry, you’re safe from us.”
The journalist then followed up by asking if that was true during the game and Kolář answered, “Hundred percent. When I went for a high ball, no one poked at me, they didn’t try to throw me or hit me. They showed that they are professionals.”
We all know that Arsenal didn’t trouble Kolář in the first leg, either aerially or with shots. They got 11 shots off but only two were on target and the Slavia Keeper was only required to make one save.
With the tie delicately poised, Arsenal know they have to score if they want to avoid going out on away goals so they may have to be a little less nice this time around.