Petr Cech's faster-than-anticipated return to action following his dislocated shoulder is, of course, fantastic news, and it gives him the leg up in what is an unusual situation, so far as Chelsea are concerned. For the first time in ten years, there's genuine competition at at goalkeeper. Cech, the incumbent, is one Europe's best, but Thibaut Courtois has been every bit as impressive over the last three years, and Jose Mourinho will have to choose one of them for next season.
Which makes the manager very happy:
My situation for the season is fantastic. To have Petr Cech and Courtois is fantastic. I have the best young goalkeeper in the world. I have one of the top three, top five experienced goalkeepers in the world. For me and for Chelsea, the situation is perfect.
For the coach, when we don’t have the players we are in trouble. When we have good players in numbers we are happy. We have to make decisions, yes, but we are paid to make decisions. One will play, and Chelsea are in safe hands for because they are both very good players.
Courtois should join up with the team before the friendly against Vitesse Arnhem next week, and then the battle will begin in earnest. Cech seems like he's been spurred on by the prospect of competition -- he was excellent today -- and it's not out of the question that both of them play better for having the other around. I know having two great players battle for one position might seem like an issue, but as Mourinho says, this is a 'problem' that isn't really one at all. No matter what, Chelsea will be going into the season with a world-class goalkeeper. Hard to complain much about that.