Were Chelsea right to play Thibaut Courtois this season?
When Jose Mourinho announced that Thibaut Courtois would be his number one goalkeeper this season, many believed that he had made the wrong call. Nine months on, Chelsea have justified their position as favourites and won the Premier League title after losing just two matches and conceding the lowest number of goals.
The Belgian goalkeeper has been solid throughout the campaign and has made a number of key saves that have helped Chelsea earn important victories on their way to their fourth Premier League crown. We take a look at the 22-year-old’s season and provide our thoughts on whether Mourinho made the right decision to play Courtois over Cech this year.
He is young but has gained experience at big clubs, playing in big matches..
Courtois may only be 22 years old, but he has already gained a wealth of experience in some of European football’s biggest leagues. The Belgian has featured in Champions League finals, top La Liga clashes and titanic Premier League encounters, as well as a number of matches in domestic cup competitions. Courtois has now helped his sides to win the Belgian, Spanish and English top flight titles – an impressive feat for such a young goalkeeper. There is no doubting his natural talent, and Mourinho has entrusted him to be Chelsea’s number one goalkeeper for the foreseeable future.
He is arguably one of the top three goalkeepers in world football
The Belgian has already shown that he is among the best goalkeepers on the planet, and his consistency at the highest level ranks him above most of the other contenders. Although one could claim that Bayern Munich keeper Manuel Neuer and Manchester United shot-stopper David de Gea are currently better than the 22-year-old, Courtois has the potential to overtake both players in the near future.
With the correct guidance and continued match experience, the Belgian will rank very highly across world football for at least the next five years.
Mourinho is trying to create a dynasty at Chelsea
The Blues manager has already revealed that he plans on winning Premier League titles on a regular basis, as well as competing for European honours too. The Chelsea squad is, on the whole, young, hungry and possesses natural talent, unlike any other English side. The foundations are there for Chelsea to dominate British football for the next decade and Mourinho has opted to use some of his younger players immediately as they set their sights on an era of dominance. In that regard, the Portuguese had no choice but to select the younger Courtois over the ageing Petr Cech and the Belgian could improve even more next season.
Petr Cech is past his best
Although the Czech Republic goalkeeper was once of the greatest in the world, his lack of match practice at the highest level surely means that he will leave the club in the summer. There have been a number of Premier League clubs linked with a move for the 32-year-old, but Mourinho may be sceptical of selling Cech to a title contender. The Portuguese has insisted that he is still one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and it is likely that Mourinho would rather have Cech sat on the bench than featuring for the likes of Arsenal or Liverpool on a regular basis.
Jose Mourinho’s decision to select Courtois as his ‘number one’ goalkeeper was an excellent choice and, with a season of experience already under his belt, the Chelsea shot-stopper may go on to cement his place as one of the world’s top goalkeepers next season. There is no doubting that the Belgian possesses raw natural talent, but Mourinho has ensured that Courtois has remained focused on improving his game on a weekly basis and has adapted his game to suit the Premier League.
Unfortunately for Cech, it appears his time is up. However, for Chelsea, their era of dominance may just be getting started.