Garth Crooks complemented both Edouard Mendy’s elite goalkeeping for Chelsea against Brentford but also his bravery in denying the assault.
Crooks understandably included Mendy in his BBC Premier League Team of the Week, with very few ‘keepers across Europe delivering a performance similar to the Senegalese on Saturday.
The £22 million stopper (Sky) put up an impenetrable fortress in the second half away to Brentford, making a trio of denials to ensure the Blues secured a narrow 1-0 victory.
All three saves were different but of equal importance.
He rushed out to prevent Saman Ghoddos from equalising for the Bees, before instinctively blocking Pontus Jansson’s point-blank effort.
His best was saved until last, flying through the air to push Christian Norgaard’s acrobatic attempt over the bar.
Mendy made of stone
It was a lesson in shot-stopping from Chelsea’s no.1, but also how to take a strike to the chops and stay standing.
A commendable trait that Crooks highlighted in his piece.
“The days when goalkeepers are expected to put their bodies on the line week in week out have long gone,” wrote the former Tottenham Hotspur striker.
“They do their job and go home. Edouard Mendy on the other hand had the ball smashed in his face in a way that would have knocked mere mortals out cold.
“The Senegal international simply shook his head, sprung to his feet and went on to make a number of fantastic saves.
“The tip over the bar from Christian Norgaard’s overhead kick was quite magnificent.
“Brentford’s manager Thomas Frank said in his post-match interview that he thought Chelsea were lucky. No, Mendy was outstanding.”
Blues last line of defence
Admittedly, there was some fortune in Chelsea’s win on the weekend.
Bryan Mbeumo hit the post twice, the fifth and sixth time he’s rattled the woodwork this season.
Trevoh Chalobah also cleared one off the line.
Yet, there was nothing fluky about Mendy’s display.
Hellbent on keeping a clean sheet, the gloved protector did everything necessary to look after his net.
Incredibly, the giant goalie has kept 34 shut-outs in 54 appearances for Chelsea since arriving from Rennes last September.
To think he’s only conceded 30 goals is also quite remarkable.
A purchase the Blues will look back on and think, why didn’t we do this sooner?
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