Arsene Wenger saluted Petr Cech’s reaction to his poor display against Brighton and Hove Albion as the goalkeeper went from “hell to heaven” in a week by playing a vital role and reaching 200 Premier League clean sheets in Sunday’s win over Watford.
Cech was at fault for both goals as Arsenal lost 2-1 at the Amex Stadium in their last top-flight outing, responding on social media after the game by taking full responsibility for the defeat.
But the day belonged to the 35-year-old this time around when Watford visited Emirates Stadium, as he saved a penalty from Troy Deeney – who has previously been open in his criticism of the Gunners – and ultimately secured a shutout in Arsenal’s 3-0 victory.
That made him the first goalkeeper to reach 200 clean sheets in England’s top division and Wenger believes the Czech’s situation over the last week provides a measure of Cech’s “humility” and “intelligence”.
“He had to wait a while to save a penalty first of all,” said Wenger after Cech’s first spot-kick save since 2011. “It’s quite fortunate it was against Deeney on top of that.
@premierleague Man of the Match
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 11, 2018
“I believe in two weeks, his situation shows how football is. In one week he goes from hell to heaven, and that’s how life can be.
“But I like both situations, because in the first he showed a lot of humility and responsibility, and a record like that witnesses a lot of motivation and a huge degree of intelligence.
“You don’t last so long in the game if you’re not intelligent.”
Wenger also feels Cech has to be considered one of the best Premier League goalkeepers ever.
“I leave that judgement to you, I think yes,” he said. “When you look what he has achieved, consistency is always the most difficult in life.”
The match saw Mesut Ozil reach 50 Premier League assists in his 141st game, surpassing Eric Cantona as the quickest to reach that landmark, with the Frenchman doing it in 143 appearances.
And Wenger suggests players have to be stronger mentally than in previous eras, given the amount of criticism Ozil often receives from Arsenal fans.
“Maybe the world has changed as well,” Wenger added. “I believe that I like him as a player and when you get negative statements you have to deal with it.
“Maybe players need to be stronger nowadays than before.”
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