Arsenal v Chelsea: Breaking down the teams before the big match
Another round of Premier League fixtures has come and gone, but we’re already looking forward to the biggest match of next weekend, with Arsenal welcoming Chelsea to the Emirates stadium on Saturday evening.
The Gunners have managed three wins from their last three games after a shaky start, while Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side flew out of the traps but have failed to win in their last two, leaving both sides level on points.
And in the build-up to their latest meeting, Ladbrokes News will be assessing both squads and managers, starting with the goalkeepers…
Arsenal – Petr Cech
King of clean sheets Petr Cech has represented Arsenal and Chelsea on 369 occasions in the Premier League, keeping opposing sides out a staggering 179 times. That’s a figure that no goalkeeper in the top-flight can match.
At club level, he’s won pretty much everything there is to win. Four Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, a Champions League, a Europa League and three League Cups are just some of the honours the Czech Republic international has to his name, while he’s been named in the PFA Team of the Year twice and has four Premier League Golden Gloves in his trophy cabinet.
As far as recent form goes, Cech has conceded 10 goals in as many league games, but the Gunners have lost just one of those, with the 6ft 5in ‘keeper boasting four clean sheets.
There’s no disputing the fact that Cech’s presence in between the sticks has brought a much-needed stability to a recently fragile Arsenal back line, and his experience could be a decisive factor in Arsenal’s title push this season.
Chelsea – Thibaut Courtois
Thibaut Courtois was the man who forced Petr Cech out of Chelsea’s starting XI on his return from Atletico Madrid in the 2013-14 campaign, a huge achievement in itself for a player aged just 22 at the time.
In 60 Premier League appearances, the Belgian international has kept an impressive 18 clean sheets, including 12 in a campaign in which Chelsea went on to win the league.
And that was the second league title Courtois won in two years, having been part of the Atletico Madrid side that pipped Barcelona and Real Madrid to first place in La Liga.
Courtois boasts all the credentials necessary to challenge Manuel Neuer as the best goalkeeper in world football in the next few years, and the 24-year-old should thrive under new boss Antonio Conte.
Over the last 10 league games, Courtois has seen his side win on just four occasions, conceding 15 goals in the process.
In terms of impact on the first-team, this is a man who represented Chelsea 23 times in their worst league campaign for 20 years, and several of his performances raised questions from fans and pundits alike.
A word from the fans
Gary Shilling, of www.onlinearsenal.com had this to say:
“Both keepers have not been at their best this season, on balance I think Cech edges my selection due to pure experience and a player for the big occasion.
Courtois, although a very good keeper is still raw and is prone to making too many mistakes in a game. Cech for me is who you want between the sticks for that calm assurance he brings to the defenders.”
So which goalkeeper makes your team? Cech or Courtois? Have your say in the comments section below!
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