We’re all pretty happy with how Édouard Mendy has started life at Chelsea. Five clean sheets in six matches will do that, especially coming on the heels of Chelsea’s worst defensive wobble of the Lampard era (and that’s saying something!).
It isn’t all in the goalkeeping of course. Mendy hasn’t had to make a save in the wins against Crystal Palace and Burnley, for example, but goalkeeping isn’t just about making saves either. Mendy’s presence alone, both physically (and especially in the air) and just in terms of mentality and confidence, has made a massive difference. He dominates in the air like few in recent Chelsea history, his reflexes are strong, and he doesn’t trip over the ball when he has to play it.
And according to Chelsea technical director advisor Petr Čech, who was one of the people mainly responsible for signing the 28-year-old goalkeeper, this isn’t even Mendy at his best.
“I think he’s a goalkeeper who can still improve, with his work, professionalism and desire to be better every day. I’m convinced he’ll improve more, and these aren’t the best performances you’ll see from Édouard Mendy”.
Čech would of course have confidence in the player he championed, but signing Mendy wasn’t only down to our legendary goalkeeper.
“We had to make sure it was someone everyone agreed on, not just me. It had to be the club, and especially the manager, who had to be comfortable with the choice.
“We had a list of goalkeepers. We presented it all to Frank Lampard. We talked with the scouts. We shared information. We gave the pros and cons of each goalkeeper. In the end, my knowledge of Édouard for the past three years helped.”
And Čech, who says he’s also “100% ready” to step if really needed, isn’t alone in his praise for the big man with the big bright gloves. Here’s Big Kurt Zouma, who’s had front row seats to the big improvement between the posts at the club.
“He has been great, with the ball at his feet and he is big, too. He has presence and catches the ball when he comes out. He is talking a lot, doing a great job. He settled in very quickly, but we have to keep focused.”
“I speak French and I know him a little bit from before. He is a top guy, a very clever guy. Easy to talk to. He is super-intelligent, very calm. He has no problems speaking English. We were talking French, but now he has learned some English very quickly.”
-Kurt Zouma; source: Evening Standard
Clean sheets won’t continue forever of course — well, probably — and eventually Mendy will be beaten again. How we respond then will be an important indicator for the long-term success of the team this season and beyond. Can we maintain confidence and keep the balance? Mendy sure gives us that chance.