Arsenal's Petr Cech backed to keep No. 1 spot by Unai Emery
LONDON -- Arsenal boss Unai Emery has backed Petr Cech to keep his starting role against Chelsea and praised the goalkeeper's performance against Manchester City despite his struggles to play the ball out of the back.
Cech's ability to effectively be a part of the passing game has been questioned following the 2-0 loss to City, despite the 36-year-old making a number of saves to keep his team in the game.
But Emery, whose style of play puts added pressure on the goalkeeper's passing ability, said that game has not made him change his mind about starting Cech over newcomer Bernd Leno when they travel to Stamford Bridge this weekend.
"For Saturday, the decision for me is easy. Petr Cech can continue to start the match, I believe in him. [But] if Bernd starts, I believe in him also," Emery told a news conference on Thursday.
"I am very happy with his [Cech's] performance. He has experience, he has quality, he has the capacity. Also, with Bernd Leno [it's the same]. They are two goalkeepers who are important for us. They have different qualities but for us in the way we want to play, they can [both] play."
Emery is also under pressure to deliver a positive result following the opening-day defeat, which showed that his new-look Arsenal team is still a work in progress, but he insisted there is no reason to change his philosophy or way of playing because of that result.
"We have one plan, we have one process," he said. "We are going to play away but we need to keep our personality, keep our mentality, because I think on Sunday against Manchester City, the team kept their ideas, kept their spirit in the game for the full 90 minutes, even when we were losing, and didn't let [their heads] go down.
"That was a good thing, [despite] us losing 2-0. I want us to continue with this work and to be competitive for 90 minutes, but with a better performance than on Sunday, both individually and collectively. ...
"I want us to show more personality in each match to improve, so the performances arrive quickly. Saturday is a very good option to show our personality, our capacity against a big team like Chelsea, and away from home."
Arsenal still have issues at left-back heading into the game, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles ruled out for up to eight weeks after fracturing his leg against Man City when filling in in that role.
However, Nacho Monreal should be ready to start after taking part in full training all week, while Emery said continuing with right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner -- who replaced Maitland-Niles -- is also an option.
"This week Nacho Monreal is working every day, training every day with us," Emery said. "The two options we have now are Nacho Monreal and Lichtsteiner to continue in this position."