Who should Chelsea start in goal this season? Petr Cech or Thibaut Courtois?
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says he knows who he will start in goal in the season opener against Burnley, but is not going to let anybody know in advance.
For the first time since he arrived at Chelsea over a decade ago, Petr Cech has a real threat to his position in now former Atletico Madrid loanee Thibaut Courtois.
Here the HITC writing team offer our views on who should get the nod:
Kevin De Bruyne, sold. Romelu Lukaku, sold. Do Chelsea want Thibaut Courtois to be next? Goalkeepers are not like any other players, and world class shot stoppers of his calibre do not come across very often. Chelsea need to look forward and put their faith in the Belgian now, for better or worse. Cech is experienced enough to understand, and should stay around to help guide his replacement.
I'd keep both in the roster and start the season with Petr Cech. There has been much change at Chelsea over the past 12-18 months, with Jose Mourinho perhaps noting this by re-signing Didier Drogba. Cech maintains a bit of the old order in the core spine but Mourinho could begin integrating Thibaut Courtois swiftly in order to appease the ambitious youngster, before completing the swap later in the campaign if Courtois excels in cup competitions.
Surely this is a no brainer? Out with the old and in with the new - it is time for a new era of goalkeeping at Chelsea. Petr Cech has been a fabulous servant but in recent seasons he has certainly lost the fear factor he once possessed. When Cech first arrived at Chelsea he led them to a tremendous run of form. Courtois could have a similar immediate impact. Thibaut Courtois has shone in La Liga and earned his 'gloves' - Mourinho should do a Casillas and drop his long-term number one once again
The Cech/Courtois debate continues to divide opinion among Chelsea fans, and even as I write I cannot be completely sure which side of the fence I will fall. Courtois has proved during his time in La Liga that he is an outstanding young goalkeeper. But Cech has considerable Premier League experience, and in a season when the Blues are being tipped for the title that experience will be vital. I believe Courtois will start the campaign but that Cech should start it. And whatever happens against Burnley, by Christmas the latter will be firmly positioned between the sticks once more.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho should try his best to keep both Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois in his squad. What the Portuguese can do is play the two players in alternate games or share the matches equally among them. Playing one in the league and the other in cup competitions just like Carlo Ancelotti did with Diego Lopez and Iker Casillas at Real Madrid last season is not going to keep Cech and Courtois happy, and since neither truly deserves to play second fiddle, the best option would be to rotate them every week.