Sunday, November 18, 2018

Is Thibaut Courtois overrated?

David Nugent in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 15 Mar 2018

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On Wednesday night, Chelsea suffered a 3-0 defeat at Catalan giants Barcelona to exit the Champions League 4-1 on aggregate at the last 16 stage. In truth, Chelsea had not performed terribly in either leg, but lack the ruthlessness of a truly top team. They also lacked the magnificent of a superhuman footballer like Lionel Messi, who notched his hundredth Champions League goal to seal the victory.

One thing that stood out for me from the game, apart from Messi’s magic, was Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’ role in Messi’s goals. Both efforts went through his legs. This has led to a number of gifs and posts mocking the Belgian.

Some will argue he was unlucky or that Messi was clever. Courtois was at least man enough to come after the game that he made mistakes. The 25-year-old claimed even claimed at between his legs is his weak point. (So many puns in that statement).

Poor this season at Chelsea

Wednesday night was not the first time Courtois has looked unconvincing for Chelsea this season. The Belgium international goalkeeper has endured a poor campaign in-between the sticks for the Blues.

At 25-years old he is still a relatively young ‘keeper and is still learning. However, so many people claim that Courtois is the best in the world. From the Chelsea games I have seen, he is not even the best in the Chelsea squad.

At the minute, he is living off his reputation gathered by years of winning trophies at Chelsea and before that at Atletico. However, for much of his time at both clubs, he has had well-organised defences in front of him.

The top goalkeepers bail out their defenders when they make the odd mistake. This season he was looked vulnerable at times because the Blues have not been as solid at the back as previous campaigns.

Maybe his head is somewhere else

Courtois has looked like a very competent goalkeeper in the past. However, something seems to be up with his game. Whether he has been over-hyped or whether something is not right mentally is unclear.

Courtois early in the season talked about his heart being in Madrid. For me, this was a come and get me plea to Real Madrid, as Atletico Madrid already have a fine goalkeeper in Jan Oblak.

Courtois’ contract will have just a year left to run on it this summer. The Blues may be looking to cash in before the highly valuable star can leave as a free agent in 2019.

Real Madrid are reportedly set for a major rebuilding job this summer. A new goalkeeper is likely to be top of their wish list. Both Courtois and Manchester United’s David De Gea have been with a move to the Spanish capital.

I know if I had to choose which one I would go for at the moment. It certainly would not be the Belgium international that is for sure. If his future is affecting his game, then he needs to look at his professionalism. Poor displays are not going to earn him a move to Madrid either.

Chelsea has to consider selling Courtois

Chelsea’s season has been a poor one. The Blues are currently fifth-place in the Premier League table, four points behind fourth-place Liverpool. Antonio Conte’s side are now odds of 2/1 to clinch a Champions League spot.

This summer could be one of change with Conte’s future with the London club in major doubt. Blues owner Roman Abramovich is not exactly adverse to changing coaches, so there may be a new man in the Chelsea dugout next season.

Maybe the Blues need to consider allowing Courtois to leave this summer. As previously mentioned he will have just 12 months left on his contract in the summer. After talking up a move back to Madrid, I cannot see him signing a new contract.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Courtois in the coming months. If he stays at Chelsea, he has to up his game, as at the moment his reputation is losing credence by the game.

Is Thibaut Courtois overrated?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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