Analyzing Petr Cech's Chelsea Form so Far This Season

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18:  Petr Cech of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League Group E Match between Chelsea v FC Basel at Stamford Bridge on September 18, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images

Ahead of Chelsea's visit to Norwich City last weekend, Jose Mourinho was busy pontificating about his return to the Premier League.

"Some managers, when they go to a new club, they like to take four or five guys they know very well," he explained to the Daily Mail. "I didn't [when I returned to Chelsea] - they were already here. They make my life easier."

The "four or five guys" Mourinho was referring to are Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Cole and, of course, his trusted goalkeeper Petr Cech.

We've seen already this season that Mourinho is planning his second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge around the quartet of stars who remain after he departed West London six years ago, but as age creeps up on his three key Englishman, it's Cech who is looking a strong bet to remain for some time yet.

And why shouldn't he? After all, in the decade he has been a Chelsea player, Cech has been a fine servant for the club and his form this term suggests that's not about to change any time soon.

Aside from Southampton, Chelsea's defensive record is unrivalled in the Premier League and their Czech stopper has played a big part in that.

With talented defenders ahead of him, he may not be subject to the flurry of shots his peers face on a weekly basis, but when called into action, he has been a reliable asset for Mourinho's team.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25:  Petr Cech #1 of Chelsea stops a shot in the second half against Manchester City at Yankee Stadium on May 25, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Manchester City defeated Chelsea 5-3.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

In fact, not since the 2010-11 campaign have Chelsea started a season looking so solid at the back. At the same stage as we are now, the Blues had conceded just four goals—like this year. Prior to that, they hadn't reported such a healthy start since 2006.

His teammates have played a big part in that, but Cech's presence is equally among the reasons for Chelsea's solid look at the back.

Indeed, it may not carry the appeal of the Champions League, yet facing Bayern Munich in the Super Cup has been Chelsea's toughest challenge thus far when considering the opposition.

The Blues eventually lost that match on penalties after an exhilarating contest, but they only got that far in the game after Cech had denied Bayern's attackers time and again.

European champions Bayern had 19 shots on target in Prague's Eden Arena, but only breached Cech's goal twice after he put in a memorable performance to ensure the game ended 2-2 after extra-time.

When he suffered from a depressed fracture of the skull in October 2006, the concern was that game against Reading could have proved to be his last.

He returned to action three months later, understandably looking a fraction of the goalkeeper we had seen. With time he has returned to his pre-injury levels, however, and this season he continues to shine.

Inevitably, criticism is always just around the corner for a goalkeeper and Cech would have been disappointed with how he allowed Marco Strellar's headed winner for Basel on Matchday 1 in the Champions League to creep in at his near post.

It's a blemish on an otherwise impressive season, though, and if the football proverb, that teams are built from the back, reflects Mourinho's second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge, the signs are looking good.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @garryhayes