Petr Cech’s return to the Chelsea starting line-up has been a welcome sight since he came back in against Sporting Lisbon and Hull City. As good as Thibaut Courtois has been between the sticks this season, and as much potential as the currently-injured 22-year-old Belgian possesses, he still has a long way to go before he can live up to the achievements and reputation of the man that he replaced.
Down in the Pecking Order
Despite Cech’s return to the team, it is clear that he is now well below Courtois in the pecking order and, in the big games, he is likely to be overlooked when the latter is back from his muscle problem. Whilst no Champions League game can be considered a small deal, most fans and pundits, such as those at bluesq.com, would agree that last week’s comprehensive 3-1 win over Sporting Lisbon or the weekend beating of Hull were not among Chelsea’s bigger encounters of 2014-15 and boss Jose Mourinho was happy to give a few of his squad a run-out.
Cech has featured in the last three matches, but this moment in sunshine is not expected to last as Courtois is due to return soon.
For a man of Cech’s quality, this demotion must be difficult to accept. At 32, the 2012 Champions League winner is at the peak of his powers and he surely deserves to be playing regular football. For Chelsea fans, it may be difficult to accept but this has to mean Cech seeking a move away from Stamford Bridge. After more than a decade with the club, it will be hard for him to break ties, and hard for the Blues fans to see him go, but it just isn’t right to allow him to waste away on the sidelines.
For Chelsea and their fans, a move abroad would certainly be first choice but, if the papers are to be believed, then this is unlikely and the likes of Arsenal or even Liverpool are high up the list of potential suitors. A move to a Premier League rival would be a bitter pill to swallow but, if Cech chooses to stay in England, the Blues fans must respect that decision. Surely it is better to see a Chelsea legend continue to flourish than allow another brilliant keeper’s career to wane on the Blues’ bench?
The reception that Frank Lampard has received since leaving the Bridge has been outstanding. Surely if Cech were to go the same way, he could expect to be given such a similarly warm-hearted send off – and a warm-hearted welcome home.