Soccer

Cech rebounds in goal as Arsenal earns draw

AP

After Petr Cech’s opening-day blunders proved costly for Arsenal, the veteran goalkeeper demonstrated against Liverpool on Monday why he will be an asset rather than a liability for his new team.

A 0-0 draw at home might seem frustrating for a side longing to end a 12-year wait for a Premier League title, but without Cech’s assured presence in goal it could have been back-to-back home losses at the start of the season.

A daring block at the feet of Christian Benteke was followed by Philippe Coutinho’s strike being tipped onto the post by Cech making the slightest of touches at full stretch.

With a fragile, makeshift defense in front of him, Cech was required to compensate for those vulnerabilities — rather than gifting goals as he did two weeks ago against West Ham in his first league game since the $17-million switch across London from Chelsea.

“When you start with a new club and everything goes wrong, you need to bounce back and this is what I tried to do,” Cech said, reflecting on that 2-0 loss to West Ham. “Today was one of those games where I was in the right place at the right times.”

But with the Gunners so ineffective up front, the draw left them with four points from a possible nine.

It was Arsenal’s first clean sheet of the season, but a third for Liverpool. Although Liverpool has seven points, the irritation for the visitors was their inability to make it three wins out of three as they chase a return to the Champions League by finishing in the top four.