Arsene Wenger says Petr Cech’s “aura and charisma” is vital in Arsenal’s biggest games.
The Czech Republic international moved to north London in the summer and has established himself as the Gunners’ first-choice goalkeeper.
Cech particularly impressed with important saves in the home games against Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, and Wenger believes the 33-year-old’s high level of focus and consistency has made a difference.
"You always look around you in the dressing room before a big game and you think, 'Are we strong enough?' And these kind of faces help you to believe it"
“He has brought his experience, his calmness and his leadership as well,” the manager said. “He has been good and highly focused.
“I don't want to be detrimental to David Ospina because he was exceptional last year, but Petr Cech has done it all, so he is someone who gives you an aura, a charisma that is always important in the big games for the players.
“I met him before I signed him and we had a long discussion about the game and the job and his position, and I was deeply impressed by his knowledge, by his professionalism, by his detailed knowledge. So since I have not been surprised, because I got the whole package in one go.
“You always look around you in the dressing room before a big game and you think, 'Are we strong enough?' And these kind of faces help you to believe it. Also in the big games, the number of shots on target shrinks. But then the one save can be the difference in the end result.
“There is no history of teams winning things without having a great goalkeeper," added Wenger. "I’m now 30 years in the job and as I said the other day you learn over the years that the goalkeeper is the most underrated position in football - and maybe the most vital one for winning things.
“For example when Spain won the 2010 World Cup, in every game [Iker] Casillas saved a one-on-one when it was 0-0 or 1-0, or saved a decisive ball. Even in the final against Arjen Robben - and instead of being 1-0 down you are 0-0. And that at the end of the day makes the difference.”
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