On Sunday Arsenal offered a reminder of the many qualities that have been obscured in their recent woeful run of form as they once more proved their mettle against a top six side, coming from a goal down to claim a 2-1 win over Manchester City to secure their record 20th berth in the FA Cup Final.
There is little time for Arsene Wenger’s side to admire their exploits, however, with an improved Leicester to visit the Emirates on Wednesday before Sunday’s North London Derby, likely to be the final at the current White Hart Lane.
With seven games left in their season Arsenal’s margin for error is slim as they battle to secure Champions League qualification. Though they have at least one game in hand on their rivals the Gunners find themselves seven points outside the top four and Cech admits they have no margin for error.
“We need to make sure we win every game and that the effort, focus and domination will be the same [as today],” Cech said.
“The difference was the confidence we started the game with. Although we went behind you could tell that we thought it wasn’t a problem.
“In a game like Crystal Palace I was watching [from the sidelines] and you could tell when we fell behind that the team wasn’t finding the right answers. You could feel the energy disappear.”
That energy was clear for all to see at Wembley, particularly in a defensive performance that saw Arsenal display an industry and physicality that has been all too rare in Wenger’s side this season.
The manager took particular pride in his side’s response to conceding the opening goal, Sergio Aguero bursting in behind the Arsenal defence before lobbing a hesistant Cech as City took advantage of their opponent’s most dominant spell of the match so far.
An ability to rise to the occasion could be crucial in a run-in where the stakes are so high for Wenger but Cech saw a display on Sunday that augurs well for Arsenal’s top four chase.
“I think we are going to be under pressure every game now. Because of the position we are in in the league, there is no other option we are in other than to keep getting three points every game to hope that we can get the automatic qualification for the Champions League for next season.
“This is going to be one challenge. You play football to win games, to be involved in the big occasions and you want to play finals.
“I think that today everybody showed it’s not only about taking part in a semi-final and hoping that it’s going to be your day. We will make sure we work very hard when we go into the final. I thought with the effort everybody put in we deserved to get through.”