Preventing Romelu Lukaku from scoring, Cech kept the West Londoners in the game, and his stop was the basis for Willian to score the eventual winner and keep the seven point gap at the top of the league table. It was just his 13th appearance this term, and only his fifth in the Premier League, although he has yet to prove he should have been replaced by Thibaut Courtois, having kept five clean sheets in those five top flight games.
The Czech international has shown his true sportsmanship by remaining with the club despite losing his starting role to 22-year-old Courtois, who is expected to be the Blues first-choice for the next decade or so. There is no doubt that securing Courtois’ future by playing him was a wise move for head coach Jose Mourinho, but he has understood when Cech is the better option - and his choice was rewarded on Wednesday evening.
Considering the less physical strain on a goalkeeper to complete every game, it was a surprise to see Courtois miss out on selection, especially as he was on the substitutes bench with no real injury troubles. The Blues do not play this weekend, and the absence from the starting XI means that the young Belgian international has had over a week to prepare for the Champions League tie with PSG next week.
Having played many games recently, Mourinho made the correct choice in leaving Courtois out ahead of the PSG game, and he explained why he made that selection to the official Chelsea website.
The Portuguese coach said: “Courtois played consecutive matches, against Liverpool, Manchester City and Aston Villa, games where he needed to be very focused. Every detail is so important, even when he doesn’t touch the ball, the focus must be permanent and I think a goalkeeper can also be tired. The tiredness isn’t just physical, it’s also from your nervous system.
“Petr has been working really well and hard. In every training session I was getting the feeling his condition was magnificent. Tonight he was the best option for the team, also in terms of leadership.
“John Terry was ill this morning and he was probably out of the game until the last minute, so I thought I needed Petr’s personality and capacity to communicate at the back. The decision was good.”