Petr Cech was able to celebrate his 300th Premier League appearance with a win and a move one place up the Premier League table on Saturday, even if the chance of a clean sheet disappeared early in the game.
A misunderstanding at the back allowed Cardiff to take the lead inside the first 10 minutes but Cech was able to watch from the other end as a much-debated equaliser gave Chelsea parity going in at half-time, with three more goals added in the second half.
‘With a victory you always remember the game better,’ Cech said after his landmark outing. ‘It didn’t start really well for us but in the end we won the game and we are really happy with three points.
‘When I joined the club I obviously wanted to become the number one goalkeeper which happened and now to play 300 games is a great honour. If I keep my standard the same, I will have more chance to play and to get more games, so it is up to me.
‘This win was very important. We dropped points the last time we had international duty, we played Everton away and we lost. When you come back and everybody was focused on the international games and somebody is going to the World Cup but someone else got knocked out and is very disappointed, it is a tough one and you could see we had a slow start on Saturday. But in the second half we played well and we managed to win the game.’
After Cardiff had taken the lead, Cech reacted sharply to save at full-stretch when Peter Odemwingie’s header was heading towards the net. Otherwise there would have been a two-goal deficit to overcome.
‘They had two good chances as they also had a good shot in the second half,’ he pointed out, ‘but we knew that they are very strong in the set plays, they put a lot of bodies in there for every delivery, but we dealt with it quite well and we scored four goals and I thought for the second half we deserved the win.’
The manner of Chelsea’s leveller when Samuel Eto’o dispossessed Cardiff keeper David Marshall as he was bouncing the ball, leading to Eden Hazard finding the net, had many looking at the laws of the game afterwards, but Cech sees a grey area in interpreting the difference between bouncing a ball to kick it up field and bouncing it to catch it again.
‘It is always a difficult question when a goalkeeper loses control, but what I am sure is if you are about to kick the ball and you throw the ball to kick then nobody can touch it in between, because it is considered one motion.
‘Or if you want to make a drop kick, a half-volley, it is counted as one motion. Just bouncing, if the ball is in my control I don’t know.
‘It is not one motion so it is up to the referee to decide if the goalkeeper has control of the ball, but it is an unusual situation. I don’t remember playing a game when an incident like that happened.’
Cech and the rest of the team fly to Germany today (Monday) as attention turns to the third Champions League group match.
‘It is an important game because having dropped three points against Basel at home we recovered at Bucharest and now is the moment we play two games against Schalke. We need to make sure we get the points to qualify. It will be a tough test but if we get six points out of those two games we will be in a good position in the group.’