Unai Emery deserves the sack if he plays Cech in Europa League final, claims Cascarino

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UNAI EMERY should be sacked if he starts Petr Cech in the Europa League final next week, according to Tony Cascarino.

The veteran goalkeeper, 37, will hang up his gloves following the clash against his former side Chelsea.

Starting Petr Cech in the Europa League final would be sackable offence for Unai Emery, according to Tony Cascarino
Starting Petr Cech in the Europa League final would be sackable offence for Unai Emery, according to Tony Cascarino
Rex Features

But former Chelsea, Millwall and Ireland striker Cascarino has no time for sentiment and believes Emery must start Bernd Leno, the No1, to give the Gunners the best chance of winning.

Writing in The Times, he said: “Petr Cech should not play in the Europa League final for Arsenal. Not because he is due to join their opponents Chelsea as a sporting director but because, at this stage in his career, he is a far inferior player to their No1 goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

“I’d almost go so far as saying that if a manager picks a second-choice goalkeeper in a game of such magnitude then it is a sackable offence. It’s total negligence.

“Cech is the No2 at Arsenal for a reason. The club signed Leno for £19 million from Bayer Leverkusen last summer because Cech was on the wane and it will be ridiculous if the 37-year-old starts the biggest game of their season next Wednesday.

“There is so much on the line: a major trophy and the glory that brings to the club and its fans, Champions League qualification, the money you get from reaching that competition. You simply cannot justify picking Cech with so much at stake.

The Arsenal players will be nervous wrecks about the prospect of Cech playing. They will want Leno to play in Baku.


Tony Cascarino

“This is the final match of a difficult campaign and it is clear that they would have a better chance of winning with Leno in goal.

“Watford sided with sentiment and played their second-choice goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes in the FA Cup final to Manchester City — which they lost 6-0 — and I thought that was a ridiculous decision too.

“They played a weaker goalkeeper than their No1 Ben Foster purely because it might be Gomes’s final match.

“I think the Arsenal players will be nervous wrecks about the prospect of Cech playing. They will want Leno to play in Baku.

“Sometimes clubs and managers open themselves up for criticism and Arsenal and Emery will be doing just that if they pick Cech and he makes a mistake and they lose the match.”

Despite 64 per cent of voters in a SunSport poll calling for Cech to start, plenty of Gunners fans fumed when the reports linking the Czech with the sporting director role at Chelsea surfaced.


One said: “This guy cannot start in the final, it would almost be forfeiting this final. He has agreed to take up a sporting director role for the team we play against. Leno better start or we’ve lost.”

And another added: “I don’t care how professional Petr Cech is. He is joining Chelsea straight after the most important Arsenal game for over a decade.

“Starting him against them should not be considered. Unai Emery must forget sentiment and start Leno, our number one keeper.”

The clash against Chelsea in Baku is Emery's most important since taking over and knows victory would secure Champions League football next season
The clash against Chelsea in Baku is Emery’s most important since taking over and knows victory would secure Champions League football next season
Getty Images – Getty



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