‘A generation of players’ is a new series of articles for fans to enjoy where I analyse certain players in each position on the pitch over the past decade. What is more, I will also see how our current players match up against the world’s bests and look at which player will for fill this role in the future at Chelsea Football Club.
In the first edition of ‘A generation of players’ I will be looking at Chelsea goalkeepers. Often known as the last line of defence, all top teams require at top class keeper. The likes of Iker Casillas, Oliver Kahn and Peter Schmeichel, are all legendary keepers and hold some of the greatest talents in goalkeeping of all time. But how does the talent of Chelsea match up against these world class keepers?
Ed De Goey
Ed De Goey is the earliest goalkeeper for Chelsea that I can remember, bearing in mind I would have only been 3 when he joined the blues. De Goey joined Chelsea in June 1997 from Feyenoord for £2,250,000 and was first choice goalkeeper for most of his time in West London. He was a Chelsea player from 1997-03, and during those six seasons he made 123 league appearances, that of which 46 were clean sheets. This makes De Goey Chelsea’s third most played goalkeeper. Honours at the club include the FA Cup (2000), FA Community Shield (2000), League Cup (1998), UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (1998) and UEFA Super Cup (1998).
Ed De Goey played his football in a time where all eyes were on the likes of Oliver Kahn and Manchester’s Fabien Barthez. Whilst he may not be a world’s great, De Goey had many successes here at the club and is a blue legend.
Growing up and watching Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Cudicini was Chelsea’s number one. The Italian took over from Ed de Goey when he signed for the Blues and retained his first team place with a string of excellent performances. Carlo made 138 league appearances during his ten year spell at the club which was from 1999-09. Furthermore, Carlo was very successful here at Chelsea, winning numerous honours which consist of: FA Premier League: 2004–05, 2005–06, Football League Cup: 2004–05, 2006–07, FA Cup: 1999-2000, 2006–07, and FA Community Shield: 2000, 2005.
What is more, he was voted Chelsea’s Player of the Year for the 2001–02 season by fans, reflecting the value he added to a team struggling for consistency. Finally, Cudicini was recognised as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League in the 2002–2003 season, when he won the ITV Premiership Goalkeeper of the Season award.
Whilst Carlo wasn’t able to achieve the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper award, he was right up there with the like of Buffon and Kahn. He was talented goalkeeper who won’t be forgotten by Chelsea fans.
Chelsea’s current number one certainly is our best keeper of all time. Čech agreed to a summer move to Chelsea for £7 million in July 2004, and this transfer meant that he became the most expensive Chelsea goalkeeper in history – and boy was he worth it!
He immediately caught the eye with his height, incredible reaction speed and confidence in leaving his goal-line and began his Chelsea career as Jose Mourinho’s first choice. He had to be good to keep Cudicini out. Moreover, a clean-sheet laden first season at Stamford Bridge was statistically the most accomplished by any Chelsea keeper – a run of 1,024 minutes without conceding a goal between December and March set a new English top flight record.
By the end of that season he had his first championship medal plus records for the fewest goals conceded and most clean sheets in an English top-flight season, recognised with the award of the Barclays Golden Gloves for 2004/05. Petr also received the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper award in 2005.
Petr has made 404 appearances for the Blues to date, and he appears to have a few more years in him. His 2011-12 Champions League performances against Barcelona and Munich highlighted how great a player this man truly is. His penalty stopping ability is second to none. He is without a doubt Chelsea’s best goalkeeper and certainly one of the best goalkeepers to ever play in the English league.
Future Chelsea keepers
To everyone’s disappointment, Čech is getting older and soon it will be time for him to hang his boots up and make way for a new talent to step up. Chelsea has several talented keepers in the reserves, however for me, I believe Chelsea’s future is with Thibaut Courtois.
The young Belgian signed for Chelsea in July 2011, and then signed a season loan deal with Atletico Madrid. During this time Courtois has made a name for himself. The talented youngster kept a clean sheet in Atlético’s 3-0 triumph over fellow La Liga side Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League Final. Furthermore, Petr Čech told that he felt other Premier League goalkeepers “are not many as talented as Thibaut”.
He is an exciting prospect and I really hope he does come back to Chelsea after hearing rumours that he may stay at Atletico Madrid.
To conclude, Čech is Chelsea’s best goalkeeper of all time and is certainly one of the world’s best. However, the future remains unclear as to who will replace him. Let me know who your favourite Chelsea keeper is, and how you think will be wearing the number 1 jersey in the future.