Arsenal manager Unai Emery has refused to confirm whether Petr Cech will start in Wednesday’s Europa League final clash with former club Chelsea, following recent talk over a potential return to Stamford Bridge for the Czech goalkeeper.
Reports emerged last week that Cech was to step away from north London at the end of the season – he had already announced his retirement – to become Chelsea’s new sporting director. Cech himself responded with a social media denial, but that didn’t stop Arsenal fans from calling for Bernd Leno to take over the 37-year-old’s duties in the wake of the speculation.
Despite the news today as I had already said to everybody before , I’ll make decision about my future after the last game . Now my sole focus is to win the EL with @Arsenal .
— Petr Cech (@PetrCech) May 21, 2019
Speaking ahead of the game, at his pre-match press conference in Baku, Emery refused to confirm who would get the nod in goal: “The first eleven, I’m going to see tomorrow.
“He is a great man, a great professional, it is amazing his behaviour and final year with us.
I want to do something important with him in the last moment of his career, playing or not playing.”
Arsenal finished fifth in the Premier League last season – meaning they missed out on a place in the Champions League positions, but will get a second bite of the cherry in Baku. Beating Chelsea and winning their first Europa League title will send them into next season’s group stages, and Emery reaffirmed that reaching next season’s competition was a big target for him this term.
“We have a big chance tomorrow for two targets, the most important to win one title,” he added. “Each title is important for Arsenal. We want to enjoy this moment. We deserve to be here. Above all we want to enjoy [the game] and play with all our good spirit.
“Arsenal should be always in the best 10 clubs in the world, and our objective is to achieve that.”