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Cech's clean sheet

Matt Barlow Of The Daily Mail
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Petr Cech kept his 209th clean sheet for Chelsea in the 2-0 win at Hull on Saturday (Sunday Fiji time), beating the mark set by the club's legendary goalkeeper of the 1960s and 70s, Peter Bonetti. Here are Cech's most memorable shutouts.

1-0: Man Utd (H) (August 15, 2004)

Chelsea debut at 22, on the first day of Premier League season after £7million move from Rennes.

It was very difficult. I had been picked ahead of Carlo Cudicini, the people's favourite who had been voted the Premier League goalkeeper of the year only two years before.

I had to deliver in my first game and it was against Manchester United.

There was a lot of pressure, but I managed a clean sheet and we never looked back that season. It is always important to start well and this gave us a chance. I never thought too far ahead. I went game by game. I was at one of the best clubs in the world with many great goalkeepers waiting for their chance.

I knew I wanted to be the No 1 goalkeeper for as long as I could, but I could never imagine that nine-and-a-half years later I'd be breaking Peter Bonetti's clean sheet record.

Everybody knows what Peter means at Chelsea. He's a great guy and highly respected, a proper legend with manners and an example to everybody.

I was not lucky enough to see him play because I am from a different generation, but I've since seen many of his games on television, playing for Chelsea in the past and winning trophies.

1-0: Blackburn (A) (Feb 2, 2005)

Saved a penalty from Paul Dickov on a stormy Wednesday night in Lancashire as he broke Peter Schmeichel's record for 694 minutes without conceding. It would be another month before Cech conceded, setting a new record at 1,025 minutes (since surpassed by Edwin van der Sar).

Usually, you remember the games that win you trophies, but I always remember the win at Blackburn where I was close to beating the record for Premier League clean sheets and I managed to save a penalty.

2-0: Bolton (A) (Apr 30, 2005)

Victory at the Reebok with Frank Lampard brace secures Chelsea's first title for 50 years. It was one of 25 clean sheets Cech protected in 2004-05, a Premier League record. He had conceded only 13 goals in 35 games.

There was pressure on everybody that day. People kept asking: 'Can you do it here?' It had been so long since Chelsea had won the title. It was one of those moments where you go into the game so close to history.

3-0: Man Utd (H) (Apr 29, 2006)

The Premier League title defence was completed with a win at Stamford Bridge against their nearest challengers.

You always know a clean sheet is important in the big games.

If you keep winning without conceding, it's only one goal and if you can do this against your main rivals, this is what wins you trophies. We had beaten Arsenal and Liverpool at home and away.

We beat United at home and we didn't give points to our biggest rivals. We won 3-0 and it settled the title. These are the moments you remember, but they are a long way away when the game starts.

1-0: Reading (A) (Oct 14, 2006)

Cech fractured his skull five minutes into the game in a clash with Stephen Hunt. He was out for three months.

4-0: Wycombe (H) (Jan 23, 2007, League Cup semi-final, 2nd leg)

Back in the clean sheet business against Wycombe.

These are those defining moments when you're reaching into the unknown. Nobody knew what was going to happen when I returned to play, but I played well and it this gave me confidence that I could continue.

I knew I hadn't lost anything by being injured. I had my confidence back and I knew I could do it.

This was something I had looked forward to when I was training to come back. Once I got a clean sheet behind me and we went on to win the Carling Cup, I realised I am back and I am fine.

1-0: Man Utd (Wembley, May 19, 2007, FA Cup final)

Won in extra-time by Didier Drogba. It completed the set of major domestic honours for Cech.

"I had heard a lot about the FA Cup and this feeling was amazing," he said at the time.

1-0: Portsmouth (Wembley, May 15, 2010, FA Cup final)

Again Drogba scored the winner, a few minutes after Cech's penalty save denied Kevin-Prince Boateng.

You always remember the ones that win you games and trophies.

I kept a clean sheet to win my first FA Cup and I saved a penalty when it was 0-0 in the FA Cup final when we won the Double for the first time.

From 209 clean sheets, there are so many, it is hard, but these are moments that are precious.

1-0: Barcelona (H) (Apr 18, 2012)

Helped repel Barca in the Champions League semi-final and set up the second leg, which Chelsea drew, going on to beat Bayern Munich in the final when Cech was a penalty-save hero.

The Champions League final in Munich stands out for me because of the penalty save in extra-time and the saves to win the shoot-out and it was the first time in history of the club that we won the European title.

It was absolutely brilliant and it came upon me as a special moment, but there were games before where we had to build towards that success. No one outside the club believed we could beat Barca and we were down to 10 men. But we showed that everything is possible.

2-0: Hull (A) (Jan 11, 2014)

Clean sheet 209 is the record breaker. It is the fourth clean sheet in five Premier League games.

I was delighted with the three points. It was a difficult game and we were playing first in the weekend and we wanted to put our opponents under pressure.

I'm really proud of the record, but I'm most proud that these clean sheets have helped us to win 13 trophies since I joined the club.

I have had great team-mates. I've been lucky during almost 10 years at the club to have played behind some fantastic defenders.

John (Terry) is still here and if you go back, year by year, you'll find a great understanding and this is what you need.

This is why I have kept so many clean sheets and I still believe I have plenty more clean sheets in me.

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