CAHILL AND FOSTER ON FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE

Gary Cahill and the former British Olympian swimmer Mark Foster are Chelsea TV’s guests on the Friday Night Live sofa ahead of our game with Manchester United.

Cahill, who celebrates the second anniversary of his move to west London this month, will appear live in the studio from 6.30pm on Friday night, answering supporters’ queries, reflecting on his time at the club so far and looking ahead to that Manchester United clash on Sunday.

The central defender will be joined in the Chelsea TV studio by Mark Foster, one of Britain’s greatest ever swimmers, and a Chelsea supporter, who will be discussing his illustrious career among other subjects.  

For your chance to speak to Cahill and Foster and ask your questions live on air, contact Chelsea TV on the day:

– By calling 08445 434 969 

– Emailing chelseatv@chelseafc.com

– Tweet the club using #chelseatv

PETR PERFECT

Petr Cech’s 209 clean sheets represent over 300 hours’ worth of games in which a goal was not conceded, but that is equivalent to just a fraction of the time spent by our goalkeeper on the training, analysis and preparation that helped him break the club record at the weekend.

For an insight into Cech’s work during his nine and a half years at Chelsea, and what the clean sheets mean to a goalkeeper, the official Chelsea website turned to the two men who have worked as the goalkeeper coach during that time.

Christophe Lollichon (pictured above right) knows Cech and his football as well as anyone, having coached the player during the two years he was with Rennes in France prior to his transfer to London, and then having reunited with him at Chelsea in 2007.

He considers just how important a clean sheet is for a goalie.

‘The first thing a goalkeeper wants, and for Petr this is definitely the case, is to win,’ says Lollichon.

‘But if he doesn’t concede a goal it is a good bonus because I don’t know one goalkeeper who likes to concede a goal.

‘I remember a game when we were winning 3-0 and it was not very difficult and in the last minutes we conceded a goal and Petr was so upset, and so was I on the bench because 3-1 is not like 3-0. He came into the dressing room saying it is impossible to concede this goal, and that is normal because Petr is a perfectionist and for him, 3-0 is a lot better than 3-1.’

Lollichon is keen to make clear that the clean sheet record represents achievement and quality on several levels. It shows the special talent Cech possesses but also the talent throughout the club where he has been first choice since joining in 2004.

‘Every time there is a clean sheet it means a goalkeeper didn’t concede a goal but it is not only the goalkeeper, first of all there is the team,’ he says.

‘We are very proud of this record and Petr is very happy. Every player likes to beat records but it is not only the goalkeeper.

‘We have a good chance to keep clean sheets because of the quality of the team and because of the quality of our goalkeeper. There will be other teams in Europe with a good percentage of clean sheets but the difference is we play in the Premier League and it is not the same, it is hard not to concede goals here.

‘I remember one game against Bolton we were winning 4-0 and then it was 4-3! This is one of the reasons why I love this football, and Petr’s 46 per cent clean sheet record is a very good performance because we play in the Premier League.’

For Cech’s first three seasons at Chelsea after he moved from Rennes, the goalkeeper coach was Silvino Louro (pictured below), who returned with Jose Mourinho this season and is now an assistant first team coach.

He recalls the choice between Cech and Carlo Cudicini for the first match of the first Mourinho era in August 2004, and what proved to be the first of the 209 clean sheets.

‘It was difficult because Carlo Cudicini was one of the best players in the league,’ says Silvino.

‘But after Petr started training, Jose Mourinho liked him and put him in for the first game against Manchester United and we won 1-0. He caught the first cross and went on and had a fantastic game, and the decision was made.’

Silvino and Cech

Included in that first Chelsea season was a Premier League run of 1,024 minutes without a goal conceded which added 10 clean sheets to the Cech total. By the end of the campaign he had a championship medal plus records for the fewest goals conceded and most clean sheets in an English top-flight season.

‘That number of minutes without conceding is a compliment to Petr,’ notes Silvino, ‘but I believe he always wants more, more, more minutes.

‘Only 15 league goals were conceded that season, and we didn’t lose any games at home. I will never forget his first year at Chelsea. After the win at Bolton to win the league, the supporters were very happy.

‘At Bolton he had a fantastic game, and before that at Blackburn there was a fantastic save from a penalty when we won 1-0. I remember games against Liverpool and Manchester United too, but my main memory is of Bolton. I will never forget it.’

A second Premier League title was won in 2005/06 but early on in his third year, Cech suffered the fractured skull injury that brought his outstanding career to a shuddering but thankfully temporary halt. He returned just three months later and almost immediately added six clean sheets in a row to his club total.

‘Petr’s recovery from the injury was incredibly rapid,’ remembers Silvino. ‘He was very strong mentally, to come back so quickly was difficult. In his first game you would expect him to be a little nervous of the first contact, it could be dangerous, but soon we all saw he was very confident and after that it was good.’

Such was his recovery that Cech has remained unquestionably the first choice for club and country. The trophies have continued to be lifted at Chelsea and in 2011 he was named the club’s Player of the Year. Lollichon by now was the goalkeeper coach.

‘I think Petr could have won the Player of the Year a lot of times,’ he says.

‘His level is regular and that is one of the most important qualities we need for a goalkeeper, the consistency. If the goalkeeper has five fantastic games and makes a lot of saves but in the sixth he makes a mistake, and then five fantastic games again and the next bad, for me that is not a top-level goalkeeper. And Petr is at the top for a long time.

‘A keeper can be a guy who makes fantastic saves but Petr’s focus is also tactical, technical, physical and because he is a perfectionist, he analyses everything to be performing for the team, not just for himself.

Cech and Lollichon

‘He had a very good season in the Champions League-winning season and also last season, when he played 63 Chelsea games and seven international games. To stay performing like he did last season, sometimes the physical training had to be less and we did other things, small exercises or analysis.

‘We had to feel the moment, and sometimes we asked him to work more and sometimes that was impossible. But I know Petr is intelligent, he can manage his life, and I have to help him manage his professional life and we have a very good understanding.’

It is an understanding forged from more than eight years working together and Lollichon compares the young keeper he coached at Rennes with the record-breaking one of today.

‘Now he has more experience because Rennes is a good French club but it is not a top European club, and with Chelsea we play a lot of big games – finals, Champions League almost every year, and when you have his talent and you play at a big club, it is this combination that makes you at the top level.

‘But we still analyse his games like we did when he played for Rennes, and every time he wants to understand what happened, why he conceded a goal. At the age of 31 he still wants to improve and become more perfect if it is possible, which for the goalkeeper coach is fantastic.’

PAT NEVIN: TO HULL AND BACK

If he isn’t analysing Chelsea games as a media pundit, Pat Nevin is often there just to support the team, as was the case this weekend on Humberside. Our former player reports on the experience in his latest column…

Travelling to see Chelsea play away from home right now is a lot of fun. That might illicit a few groans from those who remember disappointing results at Sunderland, Newcastle or even Stoke. In fact I am not specifically talking about the scores or even the actual play, more about the fun the Chelsea fans are having around the country.

Saturday at Hull was a case in point, the singing from start to finish from the Chelsea fans was glorious, sometimes a bit near the knuckle as it were, but almost always loud and usually pretty funny.

Even though the Hull fans in the East Stand nearest to the Chelsea support in the North Stand were affecting anger and showing a relatively hostile reaction, in reality they were having a ball reacting to a bunch of real fans, singing their hearts out and coming back with a bit of humour themselves.

I could only get tickets for the Nevin clan in the main West Stand (thank you Heron Foods), surrounded mostly by fairly well-to-do Hull folk, so it was a very different view being detached from the blue end for once. For all that the tickets in the main stand might cost a few quid more, I am sure very few sitting there really wanted to be with the smart-suited and those with cosy blankets on their knees. They secretly wanted to be where the real noise was, where the real atmosphere was and where the real fans were having a ball.

It was another fine win for the Blues and this time there wasn’t really anything like the tension some other away wins have exhibited this season. This games seemed controlled and as the final minutes drew near with only a 1-0 lead, even the most pessimistic Blues fan must have realised the next goal was far more likely to come from Chelsea, just as it did when Fernando broke away to deliver the coup de grace with his left boot in the 87th minute.

Another one of the joys of travelling to the away games at the moment is that there is a realism and understanding added to the fervour. Up at Newcastle when we lost 2-0, there wasn’t a show of anger from the Chelsea fans, who had yet again travelled in large numbers and made a hell of a lot of noise throughout. They knew Chelsea had dominated the possession without playing brilliantly, that Jose is in the midst of a transition period and that too much negativity would be of little or no use to the team.

This is a direct mirror of my memories of travelling with Chelsea when I was a player. We could get beaten, play poorly or snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and still the fans would applaud us off the field, making it perfectly clear they would be there to support us just the same next time round.

Hull

I was reminded of those days again at Hull when the home fans started singing to the Chelsea boys and girls, ‘Where were you when you were ****?’ Someone leaned over from behind me and said, ‘Tell them you were playing Pat.’ As I said the banter is good and even the cutting remarks were made with a broad smile on the faces of those watching.

The game itself was pretty fine fare with Eden Hazard once again stealing the show, even if there were plenty of others playing well. It was interesting to hear Jose’s remarks that our Belgian could be worth £100million and that he tries to find the best position in each game where he can be most effective. My take for months (regular readers here and watchers of Chelsea TV will know) is that Eden could be one of the best players in the word, right up there with the likes of Ribery and Bale, and that what we should be trying to do is to get him isolated for one-on-ones with opponents.

The opposition are doubling up on him when they can, but that of course just creates space for someone else somewhere else.

As my career developed and I got more closely marked by more players I learned to spend a little less time dribbling past players, instead drawing defenders towards me and then threading through balls to others running into the space created. Eden is already learning that very quickly, but it is important to remember that when he can isolate a full-back he must always go and take him on, very few in world football are capable of stopping him just now when he is in full flow and on form.

The day after watching the Blues at Hull I was off to cover Newcastle v Manchester City and like many who watched it on TV, I felt the Toon deserved at least a point. City held on in the end but the weaknesses were there for all to see, they are far from invincible even if they remain favourites and have the deepest squad.

Without giving away too many trade secrets, a high tempo aggressive game doesn’t suit them. Both full backs are fallible over the top and if Kompany gets injured they could be in big trouble through the middle. They might have won to go top and their home form is nothing short of stunning, but I really thought on Sunday night that Chelsea as a team can stay with them all the way this season, given a bit of luck with injuries.

The fun of travelling recently has of course been aided by the fact that Chelsea haven’t lost an away goal in over six hours play, the three away wins on the bounce since the start of the year being a spectacular reward for the team’s efforts. Maybe a special mention for Petr Cech along with the defence is warranted here. What it does however set up is a run of four games out of the next five at home, that can really ask some questions of those around us. The first is however among the most interesting games we may watch this season.

Davie Moyes brings his Manchester United side to the Bridge at the weekend and it should be quite an occasion. For all United’s troubles, their league form has been impressive of late but they must know that defeat is not an option if they are going to have any chance of challenging this season. In fact I would suggest even a point isn’t good enough for them and as such, United will have to be very positive and because of that we should have a pretty open and exciting game. It will certainly be more open than the game at Old Trafford earlier in the season anyway, but I think we all agree Chelsea have come a long way since then. The question is, have Man United? Maybe I’ll sneak on Match of The Day 2 that night, to give a Chelsea perspective if I can. Let’s hope it will be a positive one.

Last week I asked if there was a player you could name who had played for both Chelsea and Hull City? It actually foxed quite a few of you because there haven’t been that many who have done so. Maybe the most popular answer was the much-missed David Rocastle who turned out for the Tigers 11 times after his spell with Chelsea. There were other correct answers; Jackie Crawford in the 1920s, Bill Barraclough and Sam Weaver both in the 1920/30s as well as Neil Clement.

There is as ever only one winner however and this week the randomly drawn fortunate chappie is Daniel Nieuwerf from Leytonstone, London. This week to have a chance to win a prize signed by one of the team, can you guess which player has played the most combined league games for Chelsea and Manchester United, having turned out for both? Answers to me at pat.nevin@chelseafc.com

TERRY ON MILESTONE IN NEW MAG

The latest edition of Chelsea, available in digital and print format, sees John Terry speak about becoming the latest player to reach 600 appearances for the Blues.

For many, our 2-1 win over Liverpool at the end of last month was the best Chelsea performance of the season to date, and while the result itself – an important victory against a direct rival – enabled us to open up a four-point lead over our opponents, for one man in particular, the day proved extra significant.

Terry made his 600th appearance for the club against Brendan Rodgers’s side, ensuring he became only the fourth player in our history – along with Frank Lampard, Peter Bonetti and Ron Harris – to do so, and it was understandably a special moment for the skipper.

‘I look at ‘Chopper’ Harris and Peter Bonetti and it has always been the ambition for me to get up there with them, along with Lamps, who is the other player to have played 600 games here,’ Terry tells the latest edition of Chelsea.

‘Looking at those names, I am among legends and it is an honour just to be there. It is something I have always strived for, from when I was a kid at this club.

‘I think it comes down to maintaining a level of performance, no matter what status you have at the club. Growing up with the likes of Michael Duberry, Frank Leboeuf and Marcel Desailly definitely improved my game.

‘Not only because of the way they looked after me or the education they gave me through watching them play and training with them on a daily basis – they had the time to talk to a 17-year-old who was trying to learn his trade – but also through me wanting to stay out there after sessions and wanting to improve on what they told me.’

John Terry_magazine image

Terry, up to now, has started every Premier League game this season, with the 33-year-old producing a string of impressive displays.

After a difficult 2012/13 season, in which his involvement was limited due to a combination of injury and squad rotation, the skipper is back to his commanding best, and he acknowledged the part played in his resurgence by Jose Mourinho.

‘The manager was straight with me from day one,’ he says. ‘When Jose came in, after the first week he said, “For me, nothing has changed. You’re still top, you can still work and play at the top.”

‘He showed faith in me, and to get that arm around you is something everyone needs, even if you are one of the more experienced players in the team.

‘At the time the manager spoke about it, I think I needed it and, when I got that from him, it not only made me feel 10ft tall, but it made me want to work even harder for the man in charge. It makes you go to that extra level – and I would give everything for the manager.’


Jose’s wise words
In this month’s ‘Ask Jose’ feature, the manager answers questions sent in by supporters and reveals what he writes in his notebook during a game, how he prepares for a certain game and his view on playing two strikers together in attack.

Salomon Kalou_magazine article


Give us a Kalou
Salomon Kalou enjoyed a productive six-year spell at Stamford Bridge and ended his time at the club having scored 60 goals in a blue shirt. In this month’s ‘Chelsea Icon’ feature, the Ivorian looks back on his time in west London, picking out his favourite memories, hailing his ‘big brother’ Didier Drogba and assessing the strengths of the man who brought him to the club – Mourinho.

Damon’s one of us
Damon Albarn’s achievements as a musician need no introduction given his involvement with Blur and Gorillaz, but in this month’s magazine he talks about his time as a Chelsea fan, a period which has seen him go weak at the knees courtesy of Fernando Torres, play a crucial role in our 1997 FA Cup win against Liverpool and go beyond the call of duty at White Hart Lane.

Ladies article_magazine

Ladies on tour
Last month, Chelsea Ladies embarked on a trip to Japan to take part in an international invitational competition, with Emma Hayes’s side eventually beaten in the final. It was undoubtedly a productive trip, however, particularly as it provided an opportunity for our new signings to meet their team-mates, and the latest issue of Chelsea reflects on the trip with the help of defender Laura Bassett, herself a recent addition to the squad.

For all this and more, get your copy of the latest edition of Chelsea, available now from all good newsagents and the Megastore priced £3.25.

Android >> click here to download this month’s magazine or search for Chelsea in the app store.

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CECH: WORKING AS A UNIT

Reflecting on our 2-0 win at Hull City on Saturday, Petr Cech, who broke Peter Bonetti’s all-time club record for clean sheets, felt Eden Hazard’s opening goal midway through the second half proved to be the turning point.

The Belgian produced a moment of real quality just before the hour mark to break the deadlock at the KC Stadium, picking up an Ashley Cole flick, drifting past a couple of challenges and firing into the bottom corner.

The significance of the strike, Hazard’s ninth Premier League goal of the season, couldn’t be understated, particularly with Steve Bruce’s side, up until that point, proving difficult to break down, as Cech explained.

‘It looked easy in the end but we had some difficulties in the first half,’ said the Blues goalkeeper.

‘It was hard to open them up and then when the opportunities came, [Alan] McGregor made two great saves to keep the scores level. The first goal changed everything because they opened up a little bit and we managed to get more on the counter attack and, in the end, Fernando finished it off.

‘It’s been a while since we played first in the early game and we could put pressure on the other teams, so we wanted to take advantage of that. We did our job and won the game, it wasn’t easy because they did well for 60 minutes.

‘It’s a tough place to go; they beat Liverpool at home and almost beat Manchester United, they play good games at home. To go away with a 2-0 victory and three points is a real pleasure.’

Hazard, as has been the case so often of late, was a constant threat in the final third, and his influence continues to grow with every game.

Cech, though, believes the collective efforts of his team-mates allow the Belgian to flourish.

‘You need every individual to play for the team as well as using their own quality to decide games,’ he said.

‘We have so much talent in the squad these things happen, if you work as a unit and a team these players can make the difference. Eden proved the difference with the first goal and then Fernando finished it off.’