Saturday 29 July 2017

Petr Cech calls for a collective effort to stop Chelsea winning the title

Cech was happy with the way Arsenal put Swansea to the sword. Getty
Cech was happy with the way Arsenal put Swansea to the sword. Getty

Graham Clutton

Petr Cech believes that only a collective effort from the chasing pack can prevent Chelsea from regaining their Premier League crown.

Antonio Conte's side have a healthy lead at the top after another rousing victory, this time at reigning champions Leicester City.

However, the Premier League's peloton are certainly doing their bit to spice up the second half of the season.

Spurs are in decent form, as are the Gunners, whilst Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United are all jostling for position in the top six.

“I think it's good that all the teams in the chasing pack keep picking up points,” said Cech, who kept a clean sheet in south Wales at the weekend.

“That way Chelsea will start feeling the pressure from behind. This is probably the best thing for the teams who are chasing.

“For us, it is important to keep winning so they don't increase the gap between themselves and us.

“That is why the next game, against Burnley, is so important. We need to keep winning and to get as many points as possible.

“We need to win all our games because we can't afford to let them make the gap any bigger.

Saturday's consummate victory over a Swansea side that is now firmly rooted to the foot of the table, certainly helped their cause.

Having had the game won at 2-0, the visitors could so easily have sat back and saved their legs for the challenges ahead.

Olivier Giroud opened the scoring eight minutes before the interval before the unfortunate Jack Cork diverted an Alex Iwobi cross into his own net, nine minutes into the second half.

However, the Gunners didn't stop there. A second own goal, this time from Kyle Naughton made it 3-0 before Alexis Sanchez added a fourth 17 minutes from time.

Cech said: “It was a very well deserved win and not as easy as it might look by the scoreline.

“We needed to be precise and we were and we got a clean sheet. That's important, just as it is to score goals at important times of the game.

“What I liked was that when we went 2-0 up, we didn't stop. We carried on and scored more goals.

“I think every goal is important in the long run.

“When you see how tight it is in the top five places, every goal might count.

“So, we need to continue to search for more goals and make sure we don't concede.”

The only slight concern for manager Arsene Wenger was an ankle injury to Giroud, who was replaced in the second half.

For Swansea, there are troubles galore. Another chastening home defeat – a first for new manager Paul Clement – has left them in even deeper trouble.

The impending arrival of Spurs' midfielder Tom Carroll and Norwich City full back Martin Olsson will obviously help, in terms of numbers. However, a lack of goals and the need for further central defensive cover, has to be a priority for Clement going forward.

Lukasz Fabianski could do little to stop the rampant Gunners on this occasion. But the former Arsenal goalkeeper was far from distraught in the wake of his side's 14th league defeat of the season.

He said: “From the outside it doesn't look well. But I think the first half showed some improvement and we will be able to build on that.

“We have to focus on the job and get on with it and get better results. We can see things working so far with the boss. There is quality in the team and the manager has good knowledge.”

Independent News Service

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