Well, well, well. Petr Cech has had better days at the office, hasn’t he? He’s also had worse, just to give this article some balance. Now, it was evident yesterday that Emery wants Arsenal to build from the back, which is understandable as it’s the latest ‘in’ thing at the moment. One of the biggest players in the system, when you play it from the back, is undoubtedly the goalkeeper and Cech, to simply put it, isn’t a ball playing goalkeeper. I’ll tell you someone who is, Bernd Leno. He just so happens to be in Arsenal’s Premier League squad as well. Considering the near-miss from Cech among other things yesterday, you do have to wonder if he’ll feature next week.
The point of this article isn’t just to abuse Cech, not by a long shot. I’m not about that. What we’re going to do is compare both Cech and Leno, see who has the better stats and then make an informed decision about who should be between the sticks for the North London club. If I’m honest, my mind is already made up. Leno should be in goal. There, I’ve said it. Anyway, enough of the bias, let’s have a mooch at some player profiles.
One of the biggest things which jumps out from Cech’s profile is that his contract is up next summer. I’ll be stunned if Arsenal offer him a new contract which begs the question, what will he do and where will he go? Make no mistake, Cech would be a cracking keeper for a lot of clubs, regardless of his age. I have a feeling he will go and play in Asia rather than America; no, I haven’t got any information, I’m just letting you know what my gut says.
When you consider the price that Alisson and Kepa went for, getting Leno for €25,000,000 was a shrewd bit of business from Arsenal. After progressing through Stuttgart’s academy, Leno moved to Leverkusen and it is there that he made a name for himself. Considering his age, there is no reason why Arsenal can’t get 8-10 years out of him and if their last German keeper is anything to go by, it’ll certainly be an eventful few years. (I’m on about Lehmann in case you’re wondering).
Let’s stop dancing around with these player profiles and get comparing. Come on!
Here we are then. Cech vs Leno. Czechoslovakia vs Germany. The old guard vs the newcomer! Unless you are partially sighted, you’ll be able to see the above comparison. It’s time to run through what each one of them means. Well, you should know what they mean, I mean more so regarding Arsenal’s season. Right, Leno is more likely to keep a clean sheet than Cech and if you need only one thing from your keeper, it’s a clean sheet. Naturally, with Leno keeping more clean sheets, funnily enough, Leno has also conceded fewer goals. Surprisingly, after yesterday, the above transpires that Cech has a better distribution accuracy than his German counterpart.
However, Leno made six more successful passes per ninety minutes last season and that, after clean sheets, is probably the most crucial of all. Leno is ticking all the boxes for me. Cech wins the last one, making 0.54 more catches than Leno, although my mind is already made up.
There is only one winner. If Emery is going to persist with the old playing it out from the back, Leno has to start. Yes, Cech might catch the ball more, but what’s the point? He still conceded more goals than Leno, he can do all the catching he likes, it doesn’t change the fact that Leno is a better ball playing goalkeeper. Leno has to start.
Until the next time.
Credit to Transfermarkt for the player profiles and Squawka for the comparison.