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Petr Cech says he was pleased with the way Arsenal kept themselves in the game against Chelsea after the hosts made a fast start at Stamford Bridge.
The Gunners secured a creditable 0-0 draw against Antonio Conte’s side – their first clean sheet away against the Blues in 12 years – and managed to keep 11 men on the pitch despite some tactically astute fouls and a physical end to the match.
Comparing the performance with that at Anfield three weeks ago, Cech told Arsenal.com:
“At Liverpool we gave them the advantage before half-time, then it became very difficult for us.
“A couple of recent times at Stamford Bridge we didn’t finish with 11 players on the pitch and as well on both occasions we gave them first-half goals.
“Obviously, when Chelsea get in front at home then it’s very difficult for anybody, so we needed to make sure that we kept the clean sheet and wait for our chances.
“It’s a shame that in the first half that we had some good opportunities that we didn’t take.”
“We had to survive the first 20 minutes and then step-by-step towards the end of the first half we came more and more into the game.”
Arsenal’s performance today will go down as a blueprint for future away days at big clubs, albeit with the caveat of scoring some actual goals.
Elsewhere, Gary Neville, who was so scathing of the Gunners recent capitulation on Merseyside, has praised Arsene Wenger for sacrificing Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez (the former was injured and the latter is still building up his fitness) in favour of Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck.
“Arsene Wenger made a difference,” the ex-Manchester United player told Sky Sports. “He chose attitude and hard work over talent.
“Iwobi and Welbeck did what Ozil and Sanchez didn’t do at Liverpool. They attached themselves to the two central midfielders. When I saw Xhaka and Ramsey in this team today, I thought they would get bulldozed in midfield, however, Iwobi tucked in, making Chelsea go wide and Welbeck did the same on the other side.
“When you think about Ray Parlour and the job he did for Arsenal over the years of course there would have been more talented players than him but he put in the hard work and showed the right attitude.”