By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Petr Cech has revealed that he will keep a memento from the night he broke David James’ Premier League clean-sheet record.
The goalkeeper claimed his 170th shut-out in Arsenal’s 2-0 win against Bournemouth on Monday night to move past the former England international’s long-standing total and confirm his own status as an all-time great.
It helped lift Arsene Wenger’s team to the Premier League summit as they bounced back from their 4-0 thrashing at Southampton on Boxing Day.
Cech’s thoughts as he departed Emirates Stadium after the game against Bournemouth included how he might seek a memento of the occasion.
“I will keep the shirt and once I wash it, I will make the players sign it,” he told the Guardian. “Just to have a memory of the game in which it happened.”
There is the possibility that they will write rude messages on it, as happened to Jamie Vardy, the Leicester City striker, after he broke the Premier League consecutive games scoring record in November.
“Maybe I will not give them a chance,” Cech said. “Maybe, I just ask for the signature. I will see.”
Cech had a far quieter match than he had at St Mary’s Stadium 48 hours earlier, when the Gunners’ defence was torn apart by the intensity and hunger of the home side.
Wenger rejigged his team on Monday night, making four changes as Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, the injured Mathieu Flamini and Joel Campbell were replaced by Gabriel, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
When the goalkeeper walked into the tunnel, he raised his arms in the air and shouted: “At last!” It was not the most memorable game – and Cech did not have a serious save to make – but, to the 33-year-old, it will always have a special place.
“I feel really proud because I believe that this is the best league in the world and one of the most difficult leagues to play for a goalkeeper, and so to have achieved such a record is a great personal achievement,” Cech said.
“What makes me happy the most, probably, is that these clean sheets have so far brought four Premier League trophies. So, hopefully, we will add clean sheets this season and we will celebrate at the end of the season. This is far more important.”
Cech kept 162 Premier League clean sheets over 11 seasons at Chelsea to win four Premier League titles and has added a further eight during his half-season at Arsenal.