MX23RW : Monday, January 21 04:02:26

Unai Emery unsure whether Petr Cech will be at Arsenal next season

Unai Emery unsure whether Petr Cech will be at Arsenal next season
© Reuters
Cech started the season as Arsenal first-choice goalkeeper, but lost his place to summer signing Bernd Leno.

Petr Cech is set to start Arsenal's FA Cup third-round tie against Blackpool – but head coach Unai Emery is unsure if the experienced goalkeeper will be at the Emirates Stadium beyond this season.

The 36-year-old has found himself as understudy to Bernd Leno since the early weeks of the campaign and will get a rare chance to shine when the Gunners travel to Bloomfield Road on Saturday evening.

Cech, who moved across London from Chelsea in 2015, won the FA Cup four times with the Blues before lifting the trophy as an Arsenal player in 2017.

Petr Cech's contract expires in the summer
Petr Cech's contract expires in the summer (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The former Czech Republic international has kept more clean sheets than any goalkeeper in Premier League history but, with his contract expiring in the summer, Emery admits there have been no talks about extending Cech's deal.

"I don't know now," Emery replied when asked if Cech has a long-term future at the club.

"This is a question for the club and the player to deal with our necessary things with the goalkeeper.

"All situations like this, we will speak with the player and with the club but at the moment, I want his focus the same, each training, each match.

"He is going to play Saturday to give us his performance and then we are going to decide also within what is the best for him and for the club."

Despite Leno joining in the summer, Cech started the season as Emery's first-choice goalkeeper although he appeared to struggle with the Spaniard's instructions to play out from the back.

He is set to remain an option for the remainder of the year after Emery ruled out a January move for Real Madrid's Keylor Navas, with the manager pleased with Cech's reaction to losing his spot.

"His respect for our decisions, and for the other goalkeepers, is very big," added Emery.

"His commitment has not changed with his new situation. I am happy because we need that respect between us.

Petr Cech has won the FA Cup five times during his career, most recently in 2017
Petr Cech has won the FA Cup five times during his career (Adam Davy/PA)

"Petr Cech has very big experience and he is continuing with very good performances and the most important thing is that each player can continue with his behaviour in different situations when they are in the squad – and today his behaviour with his different situation is good."

Cech is likely to be one of a number of changes made by Emery for the Blackpool clash, with the likes of Stephan Lichtsteiner, Mohamed Elneny and Carl Jenkinson pushing to be involved alongside young talent such as Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah.

A quartet of players are to be assessed ahead of the trip as Hector Bellerin, Mesut Ozil, Nacho Monreal and Shkodran Mustafi look to overcome injury problems – although it is unlikely any will be risked.


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711

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