Wednesday 13 December 2017

Hero Cech praises Gunners' work rate

Arsenal's Petr Cech celebrates after the final whistle
Arsenal's Petr Cech celebrates after the final whistle

Goalkeeper Petr Cech believes Arsenal's collective team effort rather than his crucial saves was key to beating Bayern Munich - but knows more hard work lies ahead if the Gunners are to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Arsene Wenger's men battled to a 2-0 victory over the runaway Bundesliga leaders at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night, kickstarting their European campaign following successive defeats.

The final result, however, could have been different but for the intervention of Cech, below, the veteran former Chelsea stopper making his first Champions League appearance for the Gunners this season, replacing the injured David Ospina, who was at fault for one of the goals in the 3-2 home defeat by Olympiacos last month.

Cech, though, preferred to focus on the efforts of all the players and not just his key contribution in producing a fine early reaction save to deny Thiago Alcantara and then deflecting over a close-range shot form Robert Lewandowski shortly before substitute Olivier Giroud headed Arsenal in front after 77 minutes. Mesut Ozil netted a second in stoppage time.

"Everybody was doing their bit and I was trying to do my bit," said the 33-year-old, who won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012/13.

"I am pleased with my performance because whenever they managed to get through our defensive block I was there to help my team-mates, but I am pleased with the team's performance as I thought we had been up for the game."

Arsenal remain bottom of Group F on head-to-head record, but are now level on points with Dinamo Zagreb, who have a minus-five goal difference.

The English side travel to Germany next month and will need other results to go their way to stay on course for the knockout stages, with Olympiacos having won 1-0 away to Dinamo to move on to six points, the same as Bayern.

Cech said: "Obviously we are back in the game (for qualification), but our position has not changed much as Olympiacos won their game and obviously they have the home advantage in the next leg (against Dinamo) so we still need more points.

"We go to Munich knowing we can compete with them and we are positive that we are going into another game where we can get points and obviously it will depend on how the game will go, but it has been a great night here and so let's see what will happen in the future."

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