When Petr Cech went up for a corner in the final seconds of Arsenal’s game against Swansea on Wednesday, the last thing the goalkeeper expected was to suffer a calf injury.
So severe was the goalkeeper’s injury, in fact, that he will be ruled out for up for four weeks.
Arsene Wenger confirmed the news of Cech’s spell on the sidelines in his Friday morning press conference.
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It’s a massive blow to the Gunners’ title hopes as they will be forced to select David Ospina in goal for games against Tottenham (March 5), Everton (Mar 19) and possibly West Brom on April 9.
The 33-year-old will also miss the Champions League game against Barcelona on March 16 and the FA Cup fifth round replay against Hull on March 8.
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If falling six points behind leaders Leicester wasn’t bad enough, things have got dramatically worse for Arsenal and their fans reacted with sheer despair on Twitter.
Check out the best responses on Twitter.
Cech’s injury is up there with the most bizarre. After Swansea cleared Arsenal’s corner, the Czech attempted to sprint back to his goal but pulled up injured as the referee blew his whistle to end the game.
The former Chelsea man, who broke the record for most clean sheets in Premier League history in December, will be replaced in the team by Ospina.
The Colombia has seen his action limited to two Champions League, one Capital One Cup and two FA Cup appearances this season and the sight of him between the sticks will strike fear into Arsenal fans.
A useful shot-stopper at times, the 27-year-old doesn’t instil the level of confidence in his defence that Wenger would like.
And confidence is lacking in the Arsenal dressing room at the minute. Three successive losses to Barcelona, Manchester United and Swansea have derailed their season and star forward Alexis Sanchez even admitted his team lack the mentality to become Premier League champions.
"We lack the mentality"
He told Directv Sports, per the BBC: “Sometimes we lack the mentality that we are already winning 1-0 when we go out on to the pitch.
“We lack this hunger to believe that we can be champions.
“I remember a game against Manchester United last year. The lads looked hungry for silverware as we took to the pitch.
“We crushed them in the first 20 minutes and went 3-0 up. We were hungry and brimming with confidence that day.”
That game was only five months ago, but it seems a lifetime ago to Arsenal fans.
They probably expected a similar rout against Swansea when Joel Campbell put the Gunners ahead in the 15th minute but they couldn’t capitalise and goals from Wayne Routledge and Ashley Williams earned the Swans a 2-1 win.
Cech’s late injury added salt into the wounds.