Arsenal had a real chance to press their credentials in the league this weekend following Chelsea’s defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace, and Liverpool and Manchester United’s draw at Anfield. While Manchester City were in incredible scoring form as they beat Stoke 7-2 to press home their own advantage, the Gunners failed to replicate the Premier League leaders.
While fans and critics alike will be blaming different players, the entire team was at fault for not killing the game off. The penalty decision in which Richarlison went down under minimal contact was soft, but that passage of play should not have been allowed to happen. Mesut Ozil was put through on goal and he could only strike his effort straight at Heurelho Gomes, with Watford then going up to the other end of the pitch and winning the penalty.
Had Ozil have found the back of the net then things would have likely been different. As it was, Richarlison gave Troy Deeney the chance to equalise which he took with aplomb. One stat that seems to have slipped through the cracks with pundits choosing to slate Arsenal’s leaky defence is the fact Petr Cech has now failed to save any of the last 18 penalties he has faced. This record dates back to February 2011 when Cech saved a penalty against Fulham which is simply incredible for a goalkeeper of his ability.
Of course, saving penalties is one of the most difficult parts of goalkeeping, but it does not seem like Cech enjoys facing them, as his record shows. The former-Czech Republic international is a fine goalkeeper and has saved Arsenal’s skin on more than one occasion, but he seems to really struggle against spot kicks.
While some might criticise his penalty record, perhaps they should instead question Arsenal’s inability to consistently protect their goalkeeper.