Walcott: Cech has transformed Arsenal defensively

Rob Conlon
Petr Cech: On the brink of clean sheet record

Theo Walcott says goalkeeper Petr Cech has transformed Arsenal defensively since arriving from Chelsea in the summer.

The Gunners’ 2-0 win at Aston Villa on Sunday meant Cech has now kept 169 clean sheets, level with David James, in the top flight.

And Walcott said four-time league winner Cech, who was Arsene Wenger’s only signing in the summer transfer window, has completely changed the Gunners at the back.

“From when we signed him, we all knew how good he was [after] what he achieved at Chelsea,” Walcott told Arsenal Player. “On a personal level, for him it’s great.

“He’s changed us completely in that back four. He’s a talker, he believes in us all.

“That’s why he wanted to join us and having that presence behind you is always nice to have. He’s very commanding, he’s a leader in the dressing room as well, he always likes to talk.”

Walcott was brought down by Alan Hutton for Arsenal’s opener as Olivier Giroud converted the eighth-minute penalty, before Aaron Ramsey’s breakaway goal sealed victory.

Boss Wenger believes Giroud does not get the credit he deserves after his 50th league goal for the Gunners and Walcott thinks the France international is at the top of his game.

The England international continued: “It’s not just his goals, it’s his general play and everything about him.

“The way he holds the ball up, he blocks it and defends it, and he works hard from the team from defensive corners and everything.

“He’s in great form at the moment. He’s a dream to play with and he makes our job a lot easier. As soon as I won the penalty, I just knew that he would score.

“Confidence is streaming through him and you want that in the busy Christmas period. You want players that are on form and he’s definitely one of them.”