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Cech set to be AXED


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Petr Cech is set for further heartache as José Mourinho looks set to recall Thibaut Courtois to the starting line-up against Liverpool.

Cech, the greatest goalkeeper in Chelsea's illustrious history with 226 clean sheets for the club, is just eleven appearances short of 500 games for the Blues and has been in spectacular form this season.

But having been the Blues' undisputed number one for more than a decade, the Czech international has found first team football harder to come by considering the form of Courtois.

Despite starting the campaign as back-up to Courtois, who spent three successful years on loan with Atletico de Madrid, the Czech international has conceded just five goals in well over 1,000 minutes this season, at a mammoth rate of one goal conceded every 202.4 minutes.

Having kept six clean sheets in his eleven appearances this season Cech is showing no signs of a decline, and has kept three successive shut-outs as the Blues have bounced back brilliantly from derby disappointment against Tottenham on New Year's Day.

But Courtois, who was promised when he rejoined Chelsea in the summer after a three-year spell on loan at Atletico Madrid that he would play in the all the big games this season, looks set to earn a recall after a three-game absence.

The Belgian international broke a finger in that defeat at Spurs, and considering the quality on the bench in Cech, his injury was not risked and has been allowed to fully heal.

But that is of no consequence to Cech, who has been the Blues' designated stopper in the Champions League and domestic cup competitions so far this season.

The Chelsea manager maintains he is blessed with two of the world’s best goalkeepers, allowing him to rest Courtois until he had completely recovered from the fracture.

“I have the two best in the league,” said Mourinho in the build-up to Saturday’s game at Swansea. “Yes, Courtois is fit but not 100%, but how many players are during the season? There is always pain here and there, a swollen ankle or something like that. Lots of keepers have strapping".

Chelsea assistant manager Steve Holland recently went on record as saying that resting Courtois to allow his injury to heal was not a difficult decision.

"If it had been vital to play he [Courtois] could but when we had Petr Cech as a replacement it was a no-brainer".

But with that injury now seemingly no longer debilitating Courtois' performances in training, the Belgian looks set to replace Cech in goal for Tuesday's Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield.

Courtois has already featured against Liverpool this season in the Blues' 2-1 victory at Anfield in October, and is touted to make his return to the side at the same venue.

Cech, meanwhile, is likely to feature in Saturday's FA Cup fourth round tie at Stamford Bridge against Bradford.

The Czech goalkeeper needs just five clean sheets to overtake David James' record of 170 shut-outs in the competition, though time is running out with a summer move looking increasingly likely.

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