Petr Cech was once the best goalkeeper in the world in my opinion. During Mourinho’s first spell and especially between 2004-6, Cech was consistently keeping clean sheets and making incredible saves to win Chelsea trophy after trophy. Since his fractured skull injury he has never been the same goalkeeper but he has remained Chelsea’s first choice goalkeeper. This is mainly due to a lack of competition at Chelsea. However after letting a very tame Sessegnon shot past him on Saturday, the question needs to be asked if the Czech International is still good enough to be the number one keeper. Especially when you consider that Chelsea have Thibaut Courtois lined up to replace him when needed.
From the 11 matches so far this season, Cech has only kept 3 clean sheets. Whether this is due to Cech’s poor form or the lack of defensive cohesion is up for debate but you would expect Chelsea to be better at the back. He has only conceded 10 goals which is an average of 0.91 per game. Over the last two weeks, he has conceded 4 goals in two games which has highlighted the problems he and his back four are having. They haven’t conceded two goals in consecutive league games for ten months. So far this season, Cech has made 31 saves, meaning the goalkeeper has made a save every 31.94 minutes. He has also made one defensive error already this season.
Even last season there were signs that Cech was on the slide. From 36 matches, he kept 14 clean sheets which is a decent record for a keeper. He conceded 36 goals overall which works out to conceding one every game so he has improved there this season. Cech made a total of 122 saves which is one every 26.19 minutes. This highlights that he was busier last season than he has been this season. He made 3 defensive errors last season.
When looking at other goalkeepers at top clubs, both Hugo Lloris (7) and Simon Mignolet (4) have kept more clean sheets whereas David De Gea and Wojciech Szczesny have also both kept three clean sheets. Furthermore, Szczesny (save every 28.29 minutes) and Mignolet (save every 25.38 minutes) have conceded the same amount of goals as Cech despite having more shots to stop. Lloris has conceded less (5) but he has played one less match than the other goalkeepers mentioned and he has been less busy making a save every 34.62. De Gea is the only keeper to concede more (13) than Cech, but he has had more shots to save as he makes a save every 30 minutes.
Cech has become a more consistent keeper as he is making less defensive errors than he did earlier in his career. During both the 2008/9 and 2009/10 seasons, he made 5 defensive errors. This has decreased but he is also keeping less clean sheets. In these campaigns, he kept 19 and 17 clean sheets respectively. This suggests that Cech is a safe choice to have in goal as he won’t make too many errors. However the drop in clean sheets could show that Cech is making less world class saves to win Chelsea trophies. If Chelsea want to become dominant again, they will need to improve their goalkeeper as Cech is no longer in the world class bracket. Courtois has kept 5 clean sheets in 13 matches for Atletico Madrid this season while only conceding 0.69 goals per game. Maybe it’s time to bring the Belgian into their first team as they continue to build a young team. Cech will never get back to the world class level he was at earlier in his Chelsea career. Courtois could.