Thursday, December 7, 2023

Emery hails Cech after surprising decision to retire

Unai Emery admits he was surprised when Petr Cech informed him of his plans to retire.

The veteran goalkeeper made his decision in January and will hang up his gloves in the summer when his three-year contract at Arsenal comes to an end.

Having started the season as our first choice keeper it wouldn’t have been a surprise had we offered the 36-year-old a one-year extension.

Instead, Cech, who has played 725 games since making his debut in Czech football, took the matter out of the club’s hands.

It’s believed we’ve since offered him a coaching position but that he’s more likely to take up a similar position at former club Chelsea. He’s also releasing a charity single in the coming days (proceeds going to the Willow Foundation) and appears to be involved with a company designing specialist sports training equipment.

Speaking ahead of the final game of the season against Brighton, Unai Emery paid tribute to Cech and his stellar career.

“Petr Cech is a big player and a big person, his career is amazing,” he said.

“In his country, after in France, here in London with Chelsea, now with Arsenal.

“When he said to us that he’s going to finish his career, it was in January. We were surprised by his decision because we thought he could decide later.

“He’s very mature. After his big career, he said to us he wants to finish with a good moment and he wants to do something important with us, with our objectives; to be in the top four, to do something important in the Europa League.

“I think in the last match at the Emirates we can say to him, thank you for all.”

Cech is set to keep goal when we head to Valencia for the second leg of our Europa League semi-final next Thursday, and, if we make the final, will continue between the sticks in Baku.

Asked if he could also get game time on Sunday, Emery was coy. “We are going to decide tomorrow [Saturday].” he said. “But our first objective is to win.”

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Ex-Priest Tobin

If we’re facing Chelsea in the Europa League final, for the love of god please play Leno. Cech and Arsenal have always been a marriage of convenience and I’ve never trusted him. The secret agent will be going back to base once he retires – don’t let him ruin our season.

Leno me, I’ll be your friend

Winning the Europa against his old club would be a wonderful way to wrap up his highly impressive career!

The Far Post

If they make it 😉
(Not to say that we are definitely there, of course. Why tempt the gods.)


Wasn’t his first game against Chelsea in community shield? That we won?


I love Cech but it would be a weird dynamic if he stayed.

Hello Bernd, I know you kept me out the team this last year and your performances have outdone me at Arsenal. But this is how to be a really good goalie.

Never Happen

On the other hand letting in a soft goal that
let’s his old club win the Ropey League and
then joining them as a coach would be less
That will never happen


I would definitely play Leno in the final if we make it.


Completely agree. Cup keepers work fine in early rounds but for the final at the very least it should be our best eleven every time

Ray Middleton

Whho’s the best out of Cech and Leno (writing this as we play Brighton. It’s a solid defence that makes a great goalie. Look at DeGea


Agreed. Leno is the best keeper since Lehmann.


No Cech when he first came was better than Leno and is still at dealing with crosses. However he has improved greatly and hopefully he will reach the standard of Cech .


Why? He is still as good as Leno and surely he deserves a final chance to win a trophy. He has been superb in all the matches he has played


Interesting that the pattern of play changes when Cech plays – not sure if it’s his poor short distribution or a tactical play – as we see a lot more long clearances to the forwards.

I can understand the feeling for him in his last game but the trophy should come first. I’d play Leno in all the remaining games.


The pattern of play has worked better recently in the Europa league. We beat Napoli comfortably and Valencia too but we’re a disaster in the league. Different tactics which have worked better recently. Of course we must keep Cech for the Europa


If he’s good enough to take us to the final then he’s good enough to win it! It’ll be daylight robbery to deprive cech his moment

Spanish Gooner

I think Petr is a premier league legend, but he’s not an Arsenal legend and I don’t think we should be doing anything other than playing our best goalkeeper in the last two pivotal PL games and the potential Europa League final, and that goalkeeper is Bernd Leno.


He’s an Arsenal legend too. He is technically still better in some areas than Leno such as with crosses and he must be retained for the Europa League

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