You are here
Home > Tournament > Petr Cech: Clean sheet master. Legend.

Petr Cech: Clean sheet master. Legend.

 

cech

Petr Cech has now kept more clean sheets than any goalkeeper in Premier League history.

The Arsenal goalkeeper kept the ball out of his net for a record 170th time when Arsenal defeated Bournemouth 2-0 at home on Monday. The previous record holder was former England No. 1 David James.

The making of a legend

Petr Cech’s career took off when Claudio Ranieri identified his talent and paved the way for his arrival at Chelsea. When Cech did complete his transfer – a seven million pound affair – he became the most expensive goalkeeper in Chelsea history.

In his first proper season for Chelsea, Cech went 1025 minutes without conceding a goal, a performance that brought him a special Premier League award as well as the Golden Glove for his record 21 clean sheets in the season. That season Cech let in only 15 goals in Chelsea’s entire title-winning campaign. The next season, too, Cech was stellar. He was beaten only 22 times as Chelsea went on to retain the Premier League title.

Skull fracture

The first half of the 2006-07 season was one to forget for Cech. He had to undergo shoulder surgery which left him n the sidelines for two months. Then, in October, he suffered a serious head injury when he collided with Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt. Cech had to undergo surgery for a fractured skull, which doctors would say later could have cost him his life.

His manager Jose Mourinho led the clamour for better protection for goalkeepers during games.

Return

Cech returned to the pitch three months later wearing a now-iconic rugby-style headguard. Chelsea lost that game 0-2 to Liverpool. But then on Cech went without conceding for more than 800 minutes. He was given the Premier League Player of the Month for the first time in his career after he kept eight consecutive clean sheets.

Since then, despite injuries on and off, including a freak training ground accident that left him needing 50 stitches on his chin and mouth and sidelining him for 22 games, Petr Cech emerged as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

His time at Chelsea was characterised by spectacular saves, penalty blocks and a strong presence in defence. Cech played 486 games for the London club, winning four Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Europa League title as well as a Champions League title.

He won the Golden Glove thrice with Chelsea, keeping a club record 220 clean sheets in all competitions.

Joining Arsenal

With the arrival of the young and talented Thibaut Courtois, Cech feared he no longer held had a guaranteed first-team place. His fears came true when, at the start of the 2014-15 season Jose Mourinho gave the No. 1 slot to Courtois.

“Last summer, things changed and I understood I was no longer the first-choice keeper, but I felt it was not the right time for me to go,” Cech wrote on Twitter. “During the season it became clear that my situation would not improve and, as I know I am not at the stage of my career where I want to be on the bench, I made my decision to move on and look for new challenges.”

That challenge was at Arsenal, Cech decided, and moved to the London side for 10 million pounds. His contributions have helped Arsenal climb to the top of the table with a realistic chance of winning the league for the first time in more than 10 years.

Cech has had a career fraught with challenges and setbacks, but it is also one of guts, determination and glory. This video encapsulates the legend that is Petr Cech.

Leave a Reply

Top