In pictures: Chelsea v Norwich
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Chelsea legend Joe Cole has named Edouard Mendy as the Blues’ most-important player. The goalkeeper arrived from Rennes in the summer transfer window of 2020. And he’s been in fantastic form ever since, establishing himself as one of the best shot-stoppers in world football.
Cole was speaking before Chelsea’s 7-0 battering of Norwich on Saturday.
The Blues went ahead through Mason Mount, who opened his account for the campaign with a thunderbolt drive.
Callum Hudson-Odoi then doubled their lead, slotting in from close range after being set through on goal.
And Reece James, Ben Chilwell and a Max Aarons own-goal saw Chelsea extend their lead at the start of the second half.
And, following Ben Gibson’s red card, Mount grabbed two more goals to register a hat-trick.
The victory means Chelsea have now extended their lead at the top of the table, with their attackers on song.
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But, speaking to BT Sport prior to the match, Cole named Mendy as Chelsea’s ‘most important’ asset.
“Chelsea have played all the big guns,” he said.
“I would say he’s Chelsea’s most important player. When he goes away on international duty and Kepa plays, I think Kepa’s a good keeper but if that quality dips then I think Chelsea could struggle.
“Mendy’s standing on the shoulders of giants right now.
“He’s made a big impact, as much as any other big signing in recent years.
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“I always say get your goalkeeper right They have and they won the Champions League.”
Another BT Sport pundit, Chris Sutton, was also full of praise for the Senegal international.
“Chelsea have gone up a level since Mendy’s come in, the shot-stopping is excellent,” he said.
“When I think of Kepa I think of a highly strung goalkeeper, with Mendy he’s always in control.
“Some of these saves are incredible. He’s agile, he’s good with the ball at his feet.
“He (Mendy) is to Chelsea what Alisson has been to Liverpool.”
Mendy was recently one of three Chelsea players hailed by Blues chief Petr Cech.
“When you come back from the internationals, you always have a lot of question marks over what state the players will come back in and you don’t have time to prepare and obviously we had a difficult game at Brentford,” he said.
“For 70 minutes we were completely in charge and it was really nice to see other players coming in – you had Malang, Trevoh and Ruben starting, because they were the players who trained the two weeks while everybody else was travelling and playing for their national team.
“They stepped up and they had a very good game.
“The last 20 minutes they threw everything at us and then these are the difficulties where you need to find the way to win.
“I always say winners win and winners find a way to win, and we did find a way to win in that game.
“We had a great performance from Edou in those last 20 minutes, when he made very important and decisive saves, which is obviously brilliant.”
Chelsea are next in action against Southampton on Tuesday.
And victory would see them progress to the next round of the Carabao Cup.
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