Chelsea have been dealt a huge injury blow ahead of Andre Villas-Boas’ first home game in charge of the club with the news that Petr Cech will be out of action for around four weeks.
The No.1 goalkeeper at Stamford Bridge sustained a knee injury in training and will now miss Premier League games against West Brom, Norwich, Sunderland and Manchester United, as well as the club’s opening Champions League game of the campaign.
With new-signing and highly-rated keeper Thibault Courtois on loan at Atletico Madrid, Chelsea will need to choose between Hilario and Ross Turnbull as to who will start in goal.
Speaking about how the injury to Cech occurred, Villas-Boas said: “Cech fell awkwardly with his weight on top of him. We expected much worse when we saw the incident.”
As for who will replace Cech in the starting line-up, the Chelsea boss was undecided, saying: “We will make a full decision on the goalkeeper on Friday. We have two goalkeepers, one will start and the other on the bench.”
This really is a blow for Chelsea. To lose such a significant player this early in the season is never ideal. It is also not ideal when you lack a readymade replacement.
In theory, all top teams should have a top-class keeper as their No.2 option. Otherwise, games, points and eventually trophies can be lost. Arsenal for example have lacked a world-class keeper for a while now and it has contributed to their run without silverware.
Chelsea will just be hoping that Cech can recover quickly and whoever comes in for him can perform adequately in front of what will need to be a solid defence.
The race for the Premier League title is likely to be closer than ever this year and Chelsea don’t want to be handing Manchester United and Manchester City an advantage so early on in the campaign.
Without Cech, the Blues will be hoping for three points against West Brom this weekend.