Thibaut Courtois hasn’t had much to do in recent weeks, though he was called into action on Sunday when Álvaro Negredo smashed one towards to bottom corner in the 78th minute after a ridiculous bit of control where he controlled a ball well behind him with the outside of his foot (heel?) and then shot all in one smooth motion.
Courtois dove quickly to deny the equalizer and preserve Chelsea’s 1-0 win, our sixth Premier League win in a row, keeping a clean clean sheet in all six. Courtois is now top of the European charts with 7 clean sheets in 12 games.
But instead of focusing on our accomplishments, the Chelsea goalkeeper only has eyes for the next two weekends.
"It is very nice to be top again. We have fought hard. It was a difficult season last year for the fans and the club, the players had a lot of criticism as well. But we can't relax now. We face two big opponents now [in Tottenham and Manchester City] and hopefully we can show that we are ready to fight for the title."
-Thibaut Courtois; Source: London Evening Standard
Toughest challenge, coming up. The next game is always the toughest challenge. It’s another one of those themes enveloping the club recently, alongside the core Conte tenets of work, fight, improve.
One thing that will give Chelsea an advantage this weekend is Spurs’ midweek game, which will see them travel to Monaco in the group stages of the Champions League, and their mounting injury list, which combined with Danny Rose’s suspension could leave Pocchettino’s men a bit tired and short-handed especially in defense. But as new boy Marcos Alonso points out, the visitors will be up for the rematch of last year’s Battle of the Bridge.
"Well, in three days [Tottenham] can recover very well, but maybe it can be an advantage for us. We have to think, game by game, and now we have Tottenham at home. It is going to be a massive three points for us and we have to rest now and then start getting ready for Saturday."
"Lots of people [say how big this game is], more than the players - it is the fans, [who tell me]. I know they always remind me that this London derby is special and hopefully we can get the three points on Saturday. I don't like statistics [about unbeaten runs], but hopefully we can keep winning at home against them."
On a personal note, Alonso is enjoying his time so far at Chelsea, his highest profile stop since deciding to leave Real Madrid as a youngster in search of proper opportunities. Playing a crucial role for the current Premier League leaders certainly validates his bold choice to leave the Spanish capital for the glitz and glamour of ... Bolton ... back in 2010.
"[Getting into a top-class team] is something I have been working for. I am very happy to be here, helping the team and now I am just looking forward to next week, another tough game."
"The most important thing is the team is doing well. I think we are playing good football. I'm happy to be there helping the team every week. We just have to keep working hard to stay up there."
"I think with the players we have now and the way we are playing and the way we go into the game with the right focus and concentration, it's very hard to beat us at the moment. If we keep playing like this then it will be tough for other teams. We just have to work hard and keep doing the hard work during the week."
-Marcos Alonso; source: Goal
Work. Fight. Improve.