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Chelsea's troubled Petr Cech is a shadow of his former self?


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http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/ap...hampions-league

While his team-mates ensured Champions League progression, the Chelsea goalkeeper looks a broken man

John Terry had strode through the media suite before kick-off last night with the confident strut of a man convinced that his next outing in this competition would be at Camp Nou. By the time these teams departed at the interval, one pepped and the other panicked, the colour had drained from the suspended captain's face. This arena had been transformed into a hive of anxiety, their last line of defence apparently shattered. Petr Cech appeared a broken man.

The transformation in the Chelsea goalkeeper was startling to behold and, even with progress assured by his team's staggering second half revival, the psychological damage inflicted here will pursue him to Barcelona and the semi-finals. A week ago, the man once considered the planet's best goalkeeper had been outstanding in quelling any thought of a Liverpool comeback at Anfield. There had been saves aplenty but, perhaps more significantly, an aerial authority that had been transmitted to his centre-halves.

Yet, crouching aghast in his goalmouth as if wishing the earth could swallow him up after 19 minutes here, Cech appeared a broken man. Traumatised by Kevin Davies and Bolton Wanderers at the weekend, his agony has been prolonged and will not be glossed over by his team-mates' blistering ripostes after the break. The 26-year-old is a perfectionist and will have been unnerved by his own deficiencies here.

This was an unwelcome flashback to the error-prone indecision of the latter days of Luiz Felipe Scolari's reign. Cech had been revived under Guus Hiddink, the whole spine of this team having been stiffened by the Dutchman, though he was ­unrecognisable from the man who had excelled at Anfield, Fratton Park and even in defeat at White Hart Lane recently. Chelsea may have been a team caught between a desire to put the tie out of the visitors' reach or to stifle, but Cech offered indecision and too little reassurance amid the bedlam.

He, more than anyone, will have been pained by this display. The Czech had already mustered one unconvincing punch from a Fabio Aurelio free-kick when, with Ricardo Carvalho penalised for a foul on Dirk Kuyt some 35 yards out, he was left to bark orders to his one-man wall as he prepared for the Brazilian's delivery. Florent Malouda made a pathetic barrier, yet all were convinced that the ball was to be swung towards the muddle on the penalty spot. Cech even took a couple of side-steps to his right as Aurelio trotted up to dispatch his free-kick not to the far post but to the near. The belated scurry across his goal-line was fruitless, the goalkeeper sinking to the turf in disbelief as the ball ballooned his net.

He never recovered from that slip. There were ironic cheers from those in the ­Matthew Harding stand at his back – ­Chelsea supporters – when he caught another Aurelio delivery two minutes before the break. The leap to palm away Kuyt's looping header seconds later was a reminder of his excellence, though he failed to gather a cross from the left moments later. The baffling and hopeless scurry to attempt to intercept a loose ball before Lucas Leiva could collect 90 seconds after half-time merely confirmed that the red mist had long since descended. Relief, when it came moments later, was sparked by José Reina's own goal. This was clearly no night to be a goalkeeper.

Progress offered consolation though, on this evidence, Barcelona will be licking their lips at the defensive fragility that waits them in the last four. Cech, arguably, has lacked his old consistency since the horrific head injury he sustained in a league game against Reading two seasons ago. He could have done with Terry's authority in front of him here. Carvalho, edging back to full fitness after hamstring trouble, is still not at his best and had only been paired twice with Alex before all season, against Stoke and Ipswich back in January. Chelsea had not been water-tight in either encounter.

Terry will be suspension free in Spain and this team will be steeled as a result, though Hiddink awakes this morning aware that, having restored Didier Drogba's state of mind, he has another re-building job ahead. Chelsea need the old Cech back if they are to glean silverware from this campaign. This club's first European Cup will not be secured in Rome if their goalkeeper remains a pale shadow of his former self.

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Give the guy a break....for 5 years he has ben consistently performing at the top level. He is having a blip for once. It would be disastrous to sell him, may be bring a talented GK who can Push Cech to train harder. Right now it could even be complacency knowing that he is he only No.1 at Chelsea and no one can challenge him.

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To be honest, he's been shaky all season. He has yo-yo games. Some games he is absolutely brilliant. Winning EVERYTHING that is thrown against him and coming out for all crosses with ultimate confidence. However, if a team ruffles him ONE time early on, he simply loses it. And he is unable to get back the confidence for the rest of the game.

Last two games have been terrible... Seriously. Not only the goals, but just imagine how nervous the defenders ahead of him must feel, being unsure of whether Petr is going to get it or not.

Our defence in Jose's first three years was so solid because not only Petr was simply awesome, but he exuded SO much confidence into the defenders as well that they didn't have to worry about whether the goalkeeper will get it, and could focus completely on their own game.

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To be honest, he's been shaky all season. He has yo-yo games. Some games he is absolutely brilliant.

In the first 17 games he had 11 clean sheets and 7 goals conceded. Does that help?

Most of our goals after that were thanks to No men at the post and not cus of Cech. Untill Bolton game we conceded only 17 goals and have 19 clean sheets. Highest along with Man Utd. And this was our best defensive record after the 04-05 season.

So, its just the last 2 games he has ben a bit poor.

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The Blackburn game seriously affected him...

Infact I have no idea why Cech was so terrible during the BB match.... hope he improved it for Liverpool, but he didn't.

Guess what? We are missing Cudicini now.

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Ever since the Reading game that year and wearing the hat, hes been a nervous wreck. Liverpool coulda scored 7 yesterday and bolton couldve scored 5! Yes hes been great for us but that doesnt excuse him. Even for the Czechs he's been performing badly. Its about time he ditched the fucking hat and put Hunt's challenge behind him. It was like 3 years ago now ffs. He's the best safest keeper in the world on his day (before the Hunt Challenge) but now hes a nervous wreck. I dont care about the past, i care about now and NOW he's not doing it!

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I slagged lampard off a lot last year actually and a bit the year before :P but this seeason i think hes been exceptional. I think Cech has been dodgy and uncomfortable all season.

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You have to look at the Liverpool goals. Yes, one was an accident, but one was a penalty; you're not expected to save them as a goalkeeper. Another was a deflection; he had no chance of keeping that one out, and the fourth Liverpool was actually very well worked and a good finish. On another day that deflection might have gone wide, on another day that might not have been a penalty. Don't over-analyse things; this is football afterall, its a strange game.

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We aint talking bout the goals tho, none were really his fault. The first kinda was but you gotta applaud Aurelio for the initiative taken and the execution of the FK (werent a FK anyway). The main concern is how uncomfortable he looked at coming for crosses. The one at the end after it got to 4-4 which essien saved and the one at 2-0 spring to mind. He made everyone at the back edgy and uncomfortable and every time the ball came in i was bricking it along with thousands of Chelsea fans. Everyone now is gonna just hoof the ball in and who'd blame em. Can't see Arsenal n Barca doing it but if they watch the highlights of our last 2 games, they might put a few in. We have had the weekness all season at defending crosses, its there for all to see and everyone will try to exploit it.

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He just seems to be punching out at random times and in dangerous places but tbf VDS is a bit crap now and Renia lol!! He pretty much scored for us so why aint they being brought up esp VDS.Yeh he got the record but since then been crap!!

Hopfully he'll watch it back and stop doing weird things cause it does make you nervous.Never used to but suddenly seems a bit eek

Edited by Laylabelle
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Petr Cech is brilliant goalkeeper and for me he is best in the world.Petr just have two very bad games in this season.Two games-it really much???His errors does not mean he became a bad goalkeeper.Every player have bad days...

Edited by Gleb
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