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IT is not often you find support from an opponent on the eve of a match as fierce as Chelsea versus Arsenal.

But Petr Cech has backed his former Blues team-mate William Gallas over the row which has rocked the Emirates.

The Chelsea keeper got to know Gallas well over three seasons in which they helped form the best defence in the Premier League.

And Cech is adamant that the France international had only the welfare of Arsenal in mind when he spoke out last week.

Cech told SunSport: “I know William and if he says it then it is true. I've played with him and know him well.

“William is a great guy and he is passionate about football but I don't agree players should talk publicly about what is discussed in the dressing room.

“William must have felt very frustrated to want to talk publicly about it. As a person he says what he feels. And that's why people look at him differently because, when he speaks, it comes from the heart.''

Cech refutes suggestions that Arsenal play better football than Chelsea. He argued: “The difference between us and them is that we know how to win games in a different way.

“Arsenal play beautiful football at times but, when you don't manage to move your opponents with your football, you need to fight and be physical.

“And this is what Arsenal are missing.

“Chelsea and Arsenal have so many similar characteristics. Both sides want to play with the ball and to entertain.

“But Arsenal always play like that because they don't have the squad for people to defend.â€

Ironically, Cech has Gallas to thank for one of the most important moments of his career.

The Arsenal defender, who was stripped of the club captaincy for criticising his team-mates, scored the goal which allowed Cech to see more clearly — literally.

It is almost exactly a year since the Blues keeper misjudged a cross which allowed Gallas to head a winner for Arsenal at the Emirates.

And Cech explained: “The moment I conceded that goal was terrible but it was also one of the most important things that happened in my career.

“I couldn't explain why it happened so, along with the coaches, we analysed my movement in relation to the flight of the ball.

“Then I saw an eye specialist who realised that there had been a slight deterioration in my sight.
“That goal was a real negative for me but in the end it was one of the most important of the season.

“Since that game I have worn contact lenses and it hasn't happened again. Yeah, I got some stick from my team-mates but I just said that, even blind, I wasn't half bad!â€

Cech has warned that defeat for Arsenal — already 10 points off the top — in Sunday's London derby would end their title challenge.

The Czech No 1 said: “If Arsenal lose then they will be out. The gap will be 13 points and that is too much in this league. For them this is a must-win game.

“And the incentive for us is the chance to eliminate one of our title rivals early in the race.â€

The Blues have become a team with a reputation for style as well as substance under boss Phil Scolari.

It is a change which has pleased Cech, 26, but he is cautious about not losing the old Chelsea's ability to put points before performance.

He said: “We play a different way and the goal difference this season tells its own story.

“In the past, maybe we could have won games the same way but, when we scored one or two, then we decided that points were more important than the style of play.

“Everyone says Arsenal have played beautiful football in the last few years but they never won anything.

“For us, when it was 1-0 we shut the door, closed the game out and took the three points and that was the way we wanted to be champions.

“I think we can still do that, the core of the team is still there and we know that, when we need to shut the door, then we can.

“But this could be a very exciting game for everyone.

“Both teams want to play and, even if they come to try and defend, they can't do it.

“It is potentially a brilliant game but, in the end, three points will make a difference to both teams' chances in the league.â€
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