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Making the grade 2009-10: Goalkeepers

Time for the end of season report cards.

Part 1: Our merry band of goalkeepers.

Handy grading scale
A - Simply marvelous
B - Very good then
C - Just there
D - Disappointing
F - Appalling
W - The coveted Winston Bogarde. Yes, you were that ****

A somewhat promising first season for the Teflon Don

Ross Turnbull was a surprise signing in July 09. More of a surprise was his reserve team debut, a 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa in which he, by all accounts, suffered through a miserable evening. His debut for the first team came in relief of the injured Hilario early in the opening half of a 4-0 League Cup win against Bolton. Not much to do there.

He had little to do all season, matter of fact.

Turnbull made two Premier League appearances, both in March. He was competent, I guess, in both - a 4-1 win over West Ham and a 1-1 draw with Blackburn. He also made two Champions League starts. Of note, his play in the 1-0 loss to Internazionale in the second league of the first knockout round; I thought he looked solid in that defeat.

That being said, I'm not quite sure what to think of Turnbull long term. The jury is still out.

Grade: C

• Hilário
Hilarious made 10 appearances (eight starts) for the Blues in 2009-10. He oversaw wins against QPR (Carling Cup) and, more significantly, Liverpool (league) - in which he was voted the Barclays Man of the Match - over the first quarter of the season. Not great in the PKs defeat to Blackburn in the Carling quarterfinals. Decent run in the FA Cup (three games) followed, as did three straight appearances in the wake of Petr Cech's torn calf muscle.

It was during this run that we finally - finally - saw Hilarious surface. He was laughable in an equally laughable 4-2 home defeat to Manchester City. What Hilario was doing on the opening goal, via Tevez seconds before halftime, is unknown. His positioning for the visitors' second, courtesy of Craig Bellamy six minutes after the interval, was just as bemusing. Woeful stuff.

Fortunately, that may be the last we see of one Hilario, barring an injury crisis of course. The 34-year-old is entering the final year of his contract, and is unlikely, based on what we say this season, to retain the No. 2 position behind Cech. He could be seen as surplus to requirements this summer. As for the backup role, that, it would seem, belongs to RAWSE.

Grade: C-

• Petr Cech
Our No. 1 made 43 appearances (4,047 minutes) this season, third most behind Terry and Lampard. A superlative stop on Wigan Athletic's Victor Moses in the season's final match preserved a 17th clean sheet for Cech, and secured the league's Golden Gloves award over Liverpool's Pepe Reina on sheets-to-appearances ratio.

Among his 17 doughnuts was his 100th Premier League clean sheet (Bolton, April 13). A lull in form surfaced just before the turn of the decade, culminating in our disgusting 3-3 draw with Everton at Stamford Bridge. Cech did, as the greats do, return to excellence, particularly in the run-in. He produced a string of fine performances, including four consecutive sheets of the clean variety to close the season.

And, to think, at 28 years young, we still haven't seen the best of the Czech Republic international.

Grade: B+

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