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Petr Cech


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One of the worlds greatest goalkeepers, Petr Cech is perhaps Chelseas most important player. A fantastic shot-stopper who commands his area with supreme confidence and authority, Cechs presence as Chelseas last line of defence is one that inspires fear in opposition strikers.

And whilst he is often the target of multi-million-pound summer transfer rumours penned by bored journalists, the Czech custodian was signed for a mere £7 million by Claudio Ranieri an incredibly shrewd piece of business. More than 250 games and greater than a century of Chelsea clean sheets later, Cech forms part of Chelseas spine along with John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba and maintains a reputation of being amongst the planets elite goalkeepers.

Expected to be understudy to Carlo Cudicini, Cech was largely unknown in the Premier League. However, a début victory and a clean sheet in the clubs opening fixture of the 2004/05 campaign against Manchester United soon had people recognising the Czechs potential. Cechs first season at the club was record-breaking he first set the record for the longest period of time without conceding a goal in Premier League history (an incredible 1025 minutes) before completing the season with 25 clean sheets. Cech also conceded just 14 goals in the Premier League in those 37 matches, setting the record for the best-ever Premier League defence as the Blues went on to complete a league and Carling Cup double.

Cech repeated his heroics the following campaign with yet another superb display of season-long consistency by keeping 17 clean sheets in the league as Chelsea once more stormed to the title. His stock continued to rise with the Czech Republics appearance at the 2006 World Cup finals, where he kept a clean sheet against the USA in the final game of the group phase.

However, 2006/07 was a season of mixed emotion for the Czech, as injury ruled him out of the first two matches of the season one of which a defeat at lowly Middlesbrough. Cech returned and put in a man-of-the-match performance against Blackburn Rovers, where he made one of the saves of the season to deny Benny McCarthy.

But whilst Cech appeared to be returning to his match-winning best, fate struck. A depressed fracture of the skull ruled him out for three months but it was feared that his collision with Stephen Hunt might indeed take his life. Later admitting he could not remember the incident, Cech returned and kept eight successive clean sheets evidence that even life-threatening injury would not stop him from retaining his position as the worlds best goalkeeper. Amongst those eight clean sheets was a 2-0 win at Portsmouth which kept alive Chelseas faint title hopes Cech made another save that was a contender for the best stop of the season when he defied the laws of motion to deny Pompey an equaliser. Cech also ensured the Blues emerged as 2007 Carling Cup victors with a string of fine saves in the final against Arsenal. Champions League heartache had again set in, but Cech was awarded the Premier League Player of the Month award for March and later became the first goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet at the new Wembley as Chelsea beat Manchester United to complete a cup double thanks to a goal from Didier Drogba. Cechs injury problems persisted through 2007/08 but he was still able to compete in the Champions League final, where he made a superb double save from Carlos Tevez and Michael Carrick before saving Cristiano Ronaldos penalty but Chelsea were undone by the width of the post and glory evaded Cech once again.

The following two seasons were difficult for the Chelsea goalkeeper though the Blues would go on to win four trophies over the period, Cech was plagued by harsh criticism for a rare poor performance or two in 2008/09, with the goalkeeper lambasted for a series of errors in April. Cech emerged with the joint-best defensive record in the Premier League and an FA Cup winners medal to boot as he silenced his doubters, before his most successful season would follow. Notably, Cech became the first goalkeeper in 12 months to keep a clean sheet at the Nou Camp against free-scoring Barcelona,

If Wembley cup victories are something of a Cech speciality, then the 2010 FA Cup final was an extra-special occasion for the Czech stopper. Making one of the greatest saves seen in an FA Cup final to parry away Frederic Piquionnes effort in the first half before making a stunning penalty save from Kevin Prince-Boateng, Cech saw Chelsea to a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth to complete a league and cup double for the first time in the clubs history. The Premier League season had been just as successful for the Czech he won the Golden Gloves for a second time in five seasons as the Blues secured the title with an 8-0 thrashing of Wigan Athletic. Cechs greatest success had come against the Big Four, where in six victories over Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool, he had conceded just one goal and that was handled by Federico Macheda! Cech had also saved two United penalties in Chelsea 4-1 triumph on spot-kicks at Wembley in the Community Shield, with Cech the Chelsea saviour as they began the season the same way they would end it with success.

Whilst the following season began with such great things expected of Chelsea, a disappointing campaign left only a few Blues players with their heads held high - and Cech was foremost amongst them, lifting the 2011 Chelsea Player of the Year award. Beginning the season with eight clean sheets from the club's first eleven Premier League matches, Cech set about single-handedly keeping Chelsea in the title race with magnificent performances home and away - perhaps most crucially in the West London derby where he saved a last-minute Clint Dempsey penalty to ensure Chelsea a share of the spoils. Though the season ended trophyless, Cech inspired his team to a second-placed finish and a Champions League quarter-final berth, as well as boasting the second-most amount of clean sheets of any Premier League goalkeeper; finishing second to Manchester City's Joe Hart.

Through the turbulent reign of Andre Villas-Boas, Cech was subjected to criticism from all corners - including some of his own supporters - as a new defensive high line was punished time and time again. Cech came good however, as he always does, and whilst the defence continued to leak chances to the opposition, the defiant Czech custodian would not be beaten. He put in his two best performances of the season when they were most needed - in the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona - where a clean sheet in the first leg and a hat-trick of unbelievable saves in the Camp Nou saw Chelsea through to the Munich final. Yet Cech saved his best for a brace of finals - in the 2012 FA Cup Final at Wembley, he made an incredible reaction stop to paw Andy Carroll's header onto the bar as Chelsea triumphed 2-1 - earning the Czech his fourth FA Cup winner's medal. In Munich in the European Cup final, he first saved Arjen Robben's extra-time penalty to take the game to spot-kicks, where stunning full-reach saves from Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger won Chelsea the cup!

Eight seasons of achievement for Cech look likely to continue with the goalkeeper tied to the club for at least another year.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Fucking hell, none of our squad are getting younger! Luckily, realistically speaking, Cech will have until he is at least 36 at the same level he is now... and that's another 300 games!

UNLESS our board do one of their stunts ....its not impossible with them

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ferguson on Cech

'I went to see Petr Cech when he was at Rennes,' Ferguson said. 'He was 19 at the time and I said to myself, "He's too young". 'But Chelsea bought him (for £7m in 2004) and he's never been out of the team. So age doesn't matter when you have the ability of a goalkeeper like Petr Cech


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