Petr Cech - Player Profile

Petr To Cech Mates In Community Shield

Personal information
Full name: Petr Cech
Date of birth: 20 May 1982
Age: 33
Place of birth: Plzen, Czechoslovakia
Height: 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Playing position: Goalkeeper

Club information
Current team: Arsenal
Number: 33

Youth career
1989–1999: Viktoria Plzen

Senior career
1999–2001 Chmel Blsany 28 Appearances
2001–2002 Sparta Prague 42 Appearances
2002–2004 Rennes 78 Appearances
2004–2015 Chelsea 486 Appearances

National team
1997–1998 Czech Republic U15 3 Appearances
1998–1999 Czech Republic U16 15 Appearances
1999 Czech Republic U17 3 Appearances
1999–2000 Czech Republic U18 13 Appearances
2000–2001 Czech Republic U20 7 Appearances
2001–2002 Czech Republic U21 15 Appearances
2002– Czech Republic 114 Appearances

After all the fuss and the waiting, Petr Cech was relieved to finally launch his Arsenal career. Cech played for the first time since his £10million transfer as Arsene Wenger's team won the Barclays Asia Trophy with a 3-1 win against Everton. The Czech Republic international goalkeeper joined Arsenal from Chelsea in June for a fee in the region of £11 million. Cech bade a heart-felt farewell to Chelsea supporters in an open letter on his Twitter page, also expressing his gratitude towards Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich for allowing him to remain in England, even though it meant selling him to a potential title rival this season.

Cech began his career in the Czech Republic with Chmel Blsany, before moving to Sparta Prague. He joined Rennes in France in 2002, before arriving in the Premier League with Chelsea in 2004. Domestically, Cech helped Chelsea to four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and three League Cups, winning the Premier League Golden Glove award on three occasions. The 33-year-old legendary Chelsea keeper made 486 appearances during 11 years at Stamford Bridge, winning multiple club and personal honours. He also played a pivotal role in the Blues’ 2012 UEFA Champions League victory, making three penalty saves in the final against Bayern Munich, and also won the Europa League in 2013. Al that success and he still remains as hungry as ever. A seven-time Czech Footballer of the Year, Cech made his international debut in 2002 and now has 114 caps for his country - four short of Karel Poborsky’s all-time record.

The signing of Cech could be key in Arsenal winning their first Premier League title in 12 years, according to their former goalkeeper David Seaman. Arsenal have struggled to find a consistent keeper ever since the departure of Jens Lehmann in 2008 but Seaman reckons Cech's arrival will bring long-term stability. “Chelsea's loss could, and possibly be Arsenal's gain. In my opinion this signing could genuinely be the difference between who will come first and who will come second next season,” he said. The Gunners’ back four has been used to madcap Wojciech Szczesny in goal but Cech's experience will benefit those in front of him. In terms of what he’ll add to this Arsenal team, it’s a tough sentiment to disagree with. Cech, although pricey for a 33-year-old, is a proven talent in the Premier League. The only thing you actually want from your goalkeeper, the one aspect of the game they actually care about, clean sheets. And it turns out Petr is pretty decent at laundry: In 11 seasons in the Premier League, Cech has kept an average of 15 clean sheets per campaign. In total he has kept 162 clean sheets in the Premier League. Only David James (169) has more. So the 2015/16 season could be a record breaking season for Arsenal’s new No. 1.

Cech will face his former club for the first time when Arsenal and Chelsea lock horns in the Community Shield. However, the Czech Republic international has warned the Blues that "friendship goes away once you are on the pitch" ahead of the much anticipated first London Derby of the season. "I think the script couldn't have been written in a better way for the fans because this will be one of the days [that is] very exciting and very strange at the same time. I have to say, having been with Chelsea for 11 years and having so much success and great memories, I guess it will be a very strange feeling to be on the other side," said Cech. "Once you're on the pitch, you play for your team and you want to win. During the year you can play against friends, you can play against big friends and close friends but once you are on the pitch, this friendship goes away and you just focus on winning the game."

Cech’s experience, attitude and winning mentality will all enrich this Arsenal side. In addition, as he showcased in the smattering of appearances he made for the Blues last season, he’s still a magnificent goalkeeper. For neutrals, it certainly adds some intrigue to the title race for next season. Mourinho has handed Arsenal a perfect solution to a perennial issue and Cech’s assurance will help the Gunners form sturdier foundations as they look to launch a title tilt. He may not have an influence as aesthetic as other marquee signings like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, but Cech’s effect, although understated, will be just as significant.