Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Cech: We had the balance right at end of last season

Petr Cech says Arsene Wenger’s football philosophy is completely different to Jose Mourinho’s ‘win at all costs’ attitude, however, he thinks the Gunners demonstrated an ability to balance grit with style at the tail-end of last season.

The veteran keeper played for Mourinho for four seasons, across two spells, at Stamford Bridge and came to expect an outpouring of frustration from the Portuguese if matches were not won. In contrast, Wenger prefers to put the emphasis on playing with verve.

Speaking to So Foot magazine [translated by the Evening Standard], Cech revealed: “When he [Mourinho] arrived at Chelsea from Porto, he brought with him one main thing: he came from a club where it was not acceptable to him to finish second in the championship. He brought the same spirit to Chelsea. He thinks only about victory, whatever the price.

“He hates draws. If we returned to the dressing room with a draw, we knew he would not be satisfied. On the other hand, he also wanted to be able to keep a 1-0 or beat a team 5-0 if possible. No matter how, Mourinho wants the result.

“The philosophy at Arsenal is completely opposed to this: it is not win at all costs but we want to win in a certain way. This approach is beginning to change.

“It is true that we are close to classical music, the beauty and the synchronisation of instruments,” he continued.

“It is a philosophy now anchored in the genes of the club: they refuse to play without and it is passed on from generation to generation.

“I believe that the right balance has been found last months of last season. The idea is to continue to control the match but securing more behind.”

Obviously, anybody watching the defeats at Stoke and Liverpool might argue that such ‘change’ only appears to be skin-deep. We’re guessing, but this interview may have been done before the recent setback!

Cech also touched on how the competitiveness of the Premier League has increased since he arrived in England in 2004.

“We finished [last] season fifth with 75 points. The previous season, we finished second with 71 points. We must see how the Premier League has evolved.

“When I arrived, there was Manchester United, not still really Chelsea, City did not count in the title race, Tottenham either.

“Today, the competition is crazy. Winning a match becomes more and more complicated each season.”

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I like it how he completely ignored Liverpool while counting the competitive teams. Anything getting those fans worked up is music to my ears

Kostas Greek Gooner

Unfortunately we dont have identity anymore… Apart from cracking at crucial moments and collapsing in front of bayern or Barcelona or …

The Loon Ranger

Sometimes though, it is less like classical music and more like that Morecombe and Wise sketch were Eric says ” he’s playing all the right notes, they’re just i nthe wrong order”


When are the blogs and tacticts columns coming back?? No one needs a app for football news there’s plenty websites for that.


In case you missed it this section is ‘Arseblog News’. There’s a blog section too. Stop moaning.

David C

you should cancel your subscription


Less press releases please. Let results, attitude and commitment do the talking. Thank you.

Big Dave

I think the balance changed when we sold 20 players.

Godfrey Twatsloch

The FA Cup final was incredible. Of all the three that one was particularly great.

The question is though, what do we do now?


Stop diddling with the starting lineup and put our best players on the pitch in their proper positions, hopefully.

Godfrey Twatsloch

A radical idea but I reckon that could actually work.


Haha. Thanks for the laugh. A much needed tonic!


We don’t even play the best football in the country anymore. The last season we played exciting football was the 10/11 season. The fact we could play entertaining football with eboue, bendtner, denilson, etc but we can’t now shows just how outdated Wenger has become. He can’t seem to find that balance between the physicality needed to cope in the epl and the high technical level needed to cope in the ucl. It isn’t a coincidence we’ve been so disappointing in the ucl since 2010/11. Club is in shambles…people don’t realize it just yet. It’s only a matter of time… Read more »

Dave M

This. We try to play “the beautiful game” but teams have long worked out the best strategy against it. Disciplined positional defense (aka park the bus), with quick counter attacking forwards. Draw the Arsenal midfield down the pitch, but give them no space and force the play wide (we are still a terrible crossing team). Be patient and disciplined and wait for the inevitable turn over that comes from one of the deeper midfielders pushing up. Hit with a quick counter (which is by far the most efficient scoring attack in football). Quite often 30 average or poor scoring chances… Read more »


It does go to the core of the problem ie we need players dying to win not happy if they and the team have played well without winning.

The players need to face the music not ‘be close to it’.


Win at all costs is the mentality we need at this club. Show some balls!


Balance starts with playing people in their fucking positions.

Another Sam

many of us can remember when we had both ‘verve’ and an indefatigable will to win. They are not mutually exclusive. Plenty of the really top sides subscribe to this philosophy. Not only negative Mourinho wins…
I’d also argue that we aren’t that good to watch any longer, certainly not on a consistent basis.

Laughing Stock

We got the balance right playing a bunch of teams either relegated or on the beach. With the exception of spurs who beat us at a canter. The other exception of course was the magnificent cup final performance but before we start talking about balances being right show me a solid winter, some good performances and points away from home against decent teams and some sort of title challenge. Last point, the balance wasn’t that good because as of tomorrow we’re changing the formation.


Its pretty much the same team as last season so you have to ask the question why we can’t strike a better balance.

Part of the equation is in midfield with Ramsey again pushed too far forward but the other issue is why we aren’t playing the best players for their position.

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