After a decade of consistent excellence, it's easy to take Petr Čech for granted. Case in point: we missed the fact that he was officially awarded the Premier League Golden Glove for the third time in his career last week.
Petr Cech & Wojciech Szczesny share the Barclays Golden Glove. Most clean sheets: 16 - Cech, Szczesny 15 - Howard 14 - Lloris, Boruc— Premier League (@premierleague) May 12, 2014
I had disregarded that tweet at the time, thinking that the Premier League would eventually apply a similar tiebreaker as in 2009/10, when both Čech and Pepe Reina finished with 17 clean sheets. Just as this season, the Chelsea goalkeeper accomplished the feat in fewer appearances than his main competitor and was thus named the overall winner. Apparently this rule no longer applies, and now the award is shared instead.
Čech, in his classic understated style had this to say:
"I played less games, but if I share it or not, it's nice anyway. It's always nice to get recognition, and it's nice to have the most clean sheets from every goalkeeper. It's thanks to the way we played well defensively, but as a goalkeeper you need to be there to make sure you actually get the clean sheet."
"I'm very happy but it's just a pity I got injured in the moment before the best games of the season, the semi-final of the Champions League, and you could say the final of the league. But it's always nice to finish with something positive and the Golden Glove is a very positive thing."
-Petr Čech; source: Chelsea FC
So..."nice" then, I guess.
With Thibaut Courtois, the hot young thing, turning heads and making noise down on the Iberian Peninsula, it's fairly easy to overlook and be unimpressed by Petr Čech's tired old game of simply being the Premier League's best. His lack of any truly spectacular saves this year - unlike his heroics in the 2011/12 Champions League or his astounding save on Javier Hernandez last season - and a couple shaky moments during the second half of the season may have contributed to this lack of appreciation.
Familiarity breeds contempt, as the common saying goes, but as tempting at Courtois may be, we should not disregard one of the greatest servants of the club so easily. (And hopefully somebody at Chelsea got him a birthday cake!)
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