Chelsea legend Pat Nevin claims that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois ‘must be getting lonely’ because he has had not much to do recently.
The 24-year-old has conceded just one goal since mid-September for both club and country, with clean sheets being sealed in eight games before Estonia’s Henri Anier bagged against Belgium on Sunday.
His solid displays combined with Chelsea’s impressive form means that he has only conceded one goal in over 14 hours of football. On the other end, his teammates have netted 37 times in the meantime.
It is a predicament that has left Courtois underemployed and actually wanting work.
“Poor old Thibaut Courtois, he must be getting very lonely at the moment. While Chelsea are justly lauded for their recent form, he tends to get let out because he has generally had very little to do over the past five league games,” wrote Pat Nevin in a column for Chelseafc.com.
Despite the lack of action, the Belgium international has still proved himself since Antonio Conte switched to a more defensive 3-4-3 formation, according to Nevin.
“You have got to feel sorry for Thibaut, getting left out of things so much, but then maybe it is a little more complicated than that.
“Yes, he has been a tad underemployed but they often say that the best goalkeepers are the ones that can go from doing nothing to making a great save in the blink of an eye.
“He certainly has been doing that, he has been underemployed by not unemployed.
“There have also been the crosses he has taken that have relieved the pressure before they are turned into goal-scoring opportunities. These do not show up on the stats after the game as saves but they do stop opportunities before they even happen. His dealing with crosses of late has been exemplary.
“There is also a bit of marshalling to be done in those in front of him, and he has become more and more vocal the older he has got. Beyond that there is something even more subtle; defenders who have belief in the guy behind them tend to play with more… just as Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary have been doing.”
Courtois may be lonely between the posts but Blues fans will be hoping this continues when they get back into action after the international break.
They travel to the Riverside Stadium on Sunday as they face Middlesbrough.
By Drew Darbyshire (@DarbySports)