16th December 2015: Cech on clean-sheet record + Wilshere on Ozil

Welcome back. A very brief one today because I’m as short on time as Jose Mourinho is on dressing-room support at Chelsea, plus there’s not a lot going on seeing as we don’t play until Monday night.

Petr Cech, who’s enjoying an impressive, and hugely influential, first season with Arsenal, has been speaking to Arsenal Player about equaling David James’ record of 169 Premier League clean sheets. He said:

I’m not really into the records and the individual trophies. But some achievements you cannot ignore and to be in a position where I can break the all-time clean sheet record is something that I never thought I would be able to do. When I came over, people started talking about the clean sheets and the records, and I thought 169 was impossible. I would have to be here a long time, play every game and you don’t get a clean sheet in every game. The fact that I managed to come to that point is a great achievement. I’m glad that people are noticing what I try to achieve,” he added. “As a player you try to achieve something that people remember you for. Not only that you score one goal or make one good save, you want to set the example that this is not the one-season or one-game wonder. You want to make sure you compete and perform every single game, that you prepare and show the example that you can stay consistent and at the top level as long as possible. I’m really happy that these things I’ve achieved, people realise that I’ve worked to achieve it, so the recognition is great.

After a nightmare start on the opening-day of our Premier League campaign, when he was at fault for at least one of the two goals we conceded in losing 2-0  at home to West Ham, Cech has been sensational for us in my opinion. Crucial saves, a calming influence, a reassuring presence behind the defence – and that’s just when he playing. His off-pitch input at training and in the dressing has reportedly been just as important.

When he eventually hangs up his gloves, which will be a good number of years away yet hopefully, he may well be remembered as the finest keeper to ever play on these shores, particularly if he wins a title or two with us.

Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere has been speaking about Mesut Ozil’s arrival at Arsenal and called the German’s capture as being ‘massive’ for the club. Jack told Arsenal Player:

I think we knew what sort of player Mesut was. His history as a player and the clubs he has played for… to bring him in to play with us was massive. I remember watching [the TV on] transfer deadline day and seeing that Arsenal were interested in Mesut Ozil, and you almost didn’t believe it. When he arrived the players were buzzing and the fans were buzzing and I think that gave us all a massive lift. I watched him for a few years, he was another player who started off young and went to a big club like Real Madrid. I remember watching him a few times and thinking that this player really understands football. You can tell he really understands football and to play alongside him is something special.

I’m not sure precisely how many times Wilshere’s started a game alongside Ozil, but I can tell you it’s not nearly enough and that’s mainly down to Jack being injured for the vast majority of the German’s time at the club. Hopefully when our no 10 eventually returns we’ll get to see the two left-footers form an immediate understanding and who knows, with the likes of Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin injured, we might even see a central trio of Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey with Ozil just ahead of them.

I’m dubious whether that would work given all three are primarily attack-minded midfielders but if the two Brits in that trio could share the defensive duties, acting like pistons in alternating between dropping deep and holding a position in front of the defence, and breaking forward to join the attack, it could actually work magnificently. Between the three of them, we’d have legs, lungs, distribution, creativity, assists and a goal-threat …

Anyway, something to ponder and argue about.

See you on Thursday.

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