Before yesterday’s game, Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel expressed hope that Édouard Mendy wouldn’t take it too much to heart that he was completely overlooked for the Ballon d’Or, not even receiving a nomination despite being named UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year a few weeks prior.
Based on the evidence from the game however, Mendy, like the oft-memed Michael Jordan moment from The Last Dance, did in fact take that snub quite personally. Sorry (not sorry), Brentford!
What a performance by #Mendy!— John Harrison (@Jhdharrison1) October 16, 2021
What a signing he’s been for #CFC!
I loved this 1v1 save!
His speed off the line allowed him to get close to #Jansson & when combined with his ability to stay upright in his spread shape this meant #Jansson had no goal area to hit!#PremierLeague pic.twitter.com/20YoddjsIi
The 29-year-old’s match-winning performance had everyone singing his praises, from teammates, to coaches, to pundits, to fans of all factions and persuasions. While he was credited with only four (or six?)* saves — either way, not even a new highest total of this young season (six saves against both Aston Villa and Liverpool already) — they were all of the highest quality as he denied Brentford repeatedly and with increasing ridiculousness. And all in the final 20 minutes!
*(FBref has him on 4; Opta has him on 6.)
But for Mendy himself, it was just another day in the office. Just another day of hard work and dedication rewarded. Just another day of being the best goalkeeper in the world.
“I am happy with how I performed. It’s down to hard work. I prepared during the week with my team-mates and coaches to help the team, and I was able to do that.
“We knew we were coming up against a very difficult team. They have shown that since they got promoted to the Premier League, especially at home against Arsenal and Liverpool. That makes it a really good result. It was very hard. There was so much intensity in the game, and a great atmosphere. We had to suffer and we suffered together. We passed the hurdle together.”
It was easy to harken back to the days of Petr Čech and pre-snakey Thibaut Courtois watching Mendy’s dominant performance. The team may not be firing on all cylinders at the moment, but he gives us a chance at points even on days when we end up distinctly second best. And sometimes you need that even if you’re a good team.
“We have shown a lot of character recently to win close games. There is always a lot of physical intensity in the Premier League and we have responded each time. A team that wants to be at the top of the league all season has to has to sometimes find a way to win games, and we have done that.”
“Now we need to build on this momentum in the Champions League.”
-Édouard Mendy; source: Chelsea FC
If Big Edou’s happy, we’re happy.
(P.S.: Can we please have these orange goalkeepers shirts and kits for sale please, Chelsea?)