Petr Cech has been a Chelsea goalkeeper since 2004. Thibault Courtois has been a Chelsea goalkeeper since 2011. Today's Chelsea match may go a long way to determining who is still Chelsea's keeper in 2015, and there may be no clear favorite.
Cech is a legend at Chelsea. With 326 appearances and enough trophies to make your head spin, he, with John Terry and Frank Lampard, has been one of the three faces of the club over the this very, very successful decade of Chelsea football. With three UEFA Best Goalkeeper awards, he has been one of the world's elite goalies, and with goalies like Brad Friedel lasting into their forties, Cech looks like he could easily have another decade in top flight football. His narrative has added a twist, however, with Chelsea's acquisition of Courtois. Rated among the top young keepers in the world, he was purchased by Chelsea in 2011 and immediately sent on loan to Atletico Madrid, where he replaced David De Gea and has taken Madrid to a breakthrough Copa del Rey title last year and top of La Liga this year, not to mention the Champions League semifinal this afternoon. At 21 years old, he has a chance to come in to the Chelsea first team at the same age as Cech did, but that would require Cech's departure while he is still in the elite class of goaltenders. If Cech stays, it looks like Courtois wants a permanent move away from Chelsea instead of continuing to be stuck in this odd limbo where he currently finds himself.
These two sides have exceptional defenses and love to play with pace on the counter, making for a seemingly ill-fitting match. While Atletico have the far superior striker in Diego Costa, Chelsea's attacking trio who will sit behind their frontman du jour have been (at times) dazzling enough to carry them despite the profligacy in front of goal. This match should be more boxing than fighting, with each side looking to pick their spots in attack, but it may come down to Cech and Courtois, and which one will be Chelsea's keeper of the future.
Enjoying this match will be pleasurable in the company of a Southern Tier Double IPA. Strong and punchy, it makes a great match for the physical power that will be on display in this match, while still maintaining the smoothness that will be on display between players like Koke, Gabi, Willian, and Oscar. So sit back, relax, have a beer, and enjoy the boxing match that is about to unflod.