Petr Cech saved a penalty for the first time since 2011 on his way to reaching 200 Premier League clean sheets in Arsenal’s 3-0 win against Watford on Sunday.
The Czech goalkeeper had not kept out a spot-kick in the top flight since denying Clint Dempsey in the final minute of a goalless draw between Chelsea and Fulham at Craven Cottage seven years ago.
However, the 35-year-old got a strong arm to Troy Deeney’s effort from 12 yards – a save that will have felt all the sweeter following the striker’s comments regarding Arsenal’s perceived lack of “cojones” earlier in the season.
The stop also helped Cech finally reach 200 clean sheets, having conceded at least one goal in each of his last 11 matches, becoming the first Premier League goalkeeper to reach the marker.
200 – Petr Cech is the first goalkeeper in Premier League history to keep 200 clean sheets, with 38 of those coming for current club Arsenal (162 for Chelsea). Guardian. pic.twitter.com/Nr6TAU1V7p
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 11, 2018
“It’s an unbelievable personal milestone and we took only 18 games to reach nine clean sheets at the start of the season, so when you reach 199… we had to wait 11 games, which is sometimes frustrating but the most important is when the team wins,” he told Sky Sports.
“I always believe in the work I’m doing every day and I knew one day it was going to turn.”
Discussing his penalty save, Cech added: “Sometimes you just have that feeling and today I felt it was going to be the right moment.
“I think my timing was quite good to put him off, but sometimes you do the right thing and you are short or you go the wrong way, but this time it all clicked.
“The only thing is that because he shot very hard, I didn’t know where the ball went. So when I saw it coming across I hoped that nobody tucked it in.”
Cech kept 162 of his clean sheets for Chelsea, while 38 have come since his move to Arsenal, and manager Arsene Wenger hailed his goalkeeper’s achievement.
“The record is absolutely remarkable,” said the Frenchman, who reached 700 wins as Arsenal boss. “Fantastic motivation, fantastic desire and remarkable intelligence.”
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