Petr Cech talked about Edouard Mendy’s qualities which have transformed Chelsea defence into a fortress and, so far, he has been right on the money.
Mendy just can’t seem to stop impressing, can he?
The 28-year-old’s five clean-sheets in a row in all competitions has been their best record in the past decade.
The 3-0 win over Rennes was also his sixth clean-sheet from his seven games at Chelsea so far, equalising Cech’s first seven games for the club.
Speaking of Cech, the technical and performance advisor (and player) deserves credit for identifying the talent who could prove to be Chelsea’s most crucial signing this season.
Looking at his recent interview, Cech clearly had Chelsea’s goalkeeping issues figured out and understood exactly that Mendy can help solve those problems.
He told The Times: “He [Mendy] has brought exactly what we wanted him to, which is his presence, his calmness, and the way he does things on the pitch with precision and clear decision-making.
“His main strength is aerial duels. He’s very strong in coming for crosses and has a big presence in the box.
“He’s tall, 6ft 5in, so he uses his frame for coming out and blocking shots.
“And his distribution is really good. Overall he’s a complete goalkeeper.”
Mendy’s contributions to Chelsea’s sharp improvement at the back
It turned out, Cech really hit the nail on the head.
From the three Champions League group matches so far, Mendy has stopped more crosses (six – Statsbomb data via FBref) than any other goalkeeper in the competition.
Percentage-wise, he still ranks fourth after stopping 20.7% of the crosses coming into his box (faced 29 crosses so far).
While he has yet to collect any crosses in the Premier League – or perhaps hasn’t need to – the fact that Mendy has yet to concede a goal in the league is certainly reassuring.
As Cech pointed out, the goalkeeper’s presence alone is arguably a confidence boost already for the defenders.
To put it into perspective, from the three Premier League games he has played so far, Mendy has been expected to concede just 1.2 goals (PSxG – Fbref). In comparison, from the same number of games this season, Kepa Arrizabalaga had it at 4.8 expected goals conceded, about four times more.
While there are other factors such as Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell’s absences earlier in the season, the difference still illustrates the improvement in Chelsea’s defence with the Senegal international between the sticks.