Crouch claims Chelsea gem might be deciding factor in PL title chase

'Major influence': Crouch claims 'unnoticed' Chelsea player might be the deciding factor in PL title chase

Peter Crouch suggested that Edouard Mendy may well turn out to be the most important element in the Premier League title hunt for Chelsea.

Writing in his Daily Mail column, Crouch submitted the notion that Mendy could blast the Blues to domestic glory once again.

The 29-year-old played a definitive role in keeping Thomas Tuchel’s team top of the table heading into next weekend.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

He was Chelsea’s protagonist against Brentford on Saturday, making some heroic saves to ensure all three points returned to Stamford Bridge.

It was a lesson in shot-stopping, but also an example of how important goalkeepers can be to a successful side.

Mendy-ing Chelsea’s title charge

For all the money spent assembling an all-conquering squad, perhaps the Blues best buy of the past few windows was one of their cheapest.

At just £22m (BBC), Mendy could prove to be the steal of the century if Chelsea go on to reclaim their English first division crown.

His legacy has already been cemented through the Champions League victory and the UEFA Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year award.

Photo by Steve Bardens – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Yet, reclaiming the Premier League crown would further the Senegalese’s status beyond belief.

“Thomas Frank had it right after Chelsea somehow beat Brentford on Saturday night, when saying his team would have won that game nine times out of 10. The reason they didn’t? Edouard Mendy,” said Crouch.

“Mendy underlines the importance of a goalkeeper to a title-winning side. He is the final, missing piece that could get them over the line this season.

“But it is Mendy’s overall contribution that has given them an added calmness since he arrived from Rennes last year.

“His touch is spot on when dealing with horrendous back passes, he comes and takes crosses with authority.

“Mendy is a major influence in Chelsea now finding themselves in the mix. You have to be strong everywhere but the margins are so fine that the goalkeeper is often a deciding factor. 

“Mendy has slotted in seamlessly — signed at 28, with experience and mistakes behind him, he is one of those goalkeepers who goes largely unnoticed most of the time.

“That is exactly the sort of steadiness you want.”

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Not a Ke-epa

The contrast between Mendy’s composure and the man he replaced as no.1 is quite startling.

Kepa Arrizabalaga arrived at Chelsea for a huge fee and an equally sizeable reputation.

After a strong debut season, the Spaniard spiralled out of control, to the extent Frank Lampard actively looked to switch him out.

The Blues were never going to conquer the league with Kepa in goal; Mendy’s introduction has changed that perception completely.

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"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."