Petr Cech Says 'Not Enough Pressure' at Arsenal Ahead of Europa League Final

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2019

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - MAY 28: Petr Cech of Arsenal during the Arsenal training session prior to the UEFA Europa League Final between Chelsea and Arsenal at Baku Olimpiya Stadionu on May 28, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has said he doesn't feel as though his team gets put under enough pressure to succeed ahead of his final game for the football club.

Cech is expected to start Wednesday's UEFA Europa League showdown with former club Chelsea and has confirmed he will end his distinguished career following the game.

Speaking to James Olley of the Evening Standard ahead of the match, the veteran stopper reflected on his time with both teams and said the Gunners don't have enough expectation on them to win games:

"It will sound strange but I think generally at Arsenal there is not enough pressure. Arsene [Wenger] is a real gentleman. As much as he hates losing, he stays a gentleman. If you lose, you win, you lose, you win, he kind of carries on. That’s something I’ve never experienced before.

"At Chelsea, at the times when we drew, it felt like a funeral in the dressing room. It was so bad. If we drew against a big team at home, it was like, ‘Oh no, it is impossible we didn’t win at home’. It came from everywhere: the players, the coach. Since the start when I was there, the pressure was there every game."

Gunnerblog's James McNicholas said it's rare to see the 37-year-old speak so candidly about his experiences in the game:

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During his time with Chelsea, Cech enjoyed tremendous success. He won the UEFA Champions League in 2011-12 and was part of four Premier League-winning outfits, too.

Before he eventually lost his place in the side to Thibaut Courtois in the 2014-15 season, Cech was a crucial player for Chelsea and arguably the best goalkeeper in the world during his heyday. While big things were expected of him when he joined the Gunners in 2015, his form has been inconsistent for the north London club.

This season he has been Arsenal's cup goalkeeper, with Bernd Leno impressing in his debut term. With that in mind, there's been much discussion about whether Cech should start the Europa League final, especially amid reports the Czech will join Chelsea to become their sporting director this summer.

McNicholas doesn't think it would be too much of a problem if Cech started the match:

Per James Benge of Football.London, Arsenal manager Unai Emery gave Cech his backing on the eve of the game:

The goalkeeper was part of a number of high-class Chelsea sides and has worked under serial winners like Jose Mourinho. With that in mind, it's no surprise to hear the standards were lofty during his time at Stamford Bridge.

With their last league title coming in 2004, it's been a long time since Arsenal were the dominant force in English football, and that's likely why there's a difference in mentality at the two clubs. Arsenal supporters will hope success on Wednesday can trigger the process of them getting back to those levels.