·22 September 2023
·22 September 2023
n a week in which Chelsea have been linked with Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, new No1 Robert Sanchez will be out to rebuild his authority as first-choice this weekend.
The £25million summer signing from Brighton produced his best Chelsea display so far in last Sunday's 0-0 draw at Bournemouth.
His performances have grown week on week and he will look for that to continue when the Blues host Aston Villa on Sunday.
Sanchez has slowly got his confidence back after losing his place as Brighton No1 under Roberto De Zerbi last season. The 6ft 5in shot-stopper was replaced by Jason Steele after a series of errors.
That dip in form led to questions over whether Sanchez was the top-level goalkeeper that Mauricio Pochettino demanded, as he bids to build a team capable of challenging for honours.
Sanchez had the worst save percentage (54.5) of any Premier League goalkeeper after five matches this season, but there was little he could have done about the five goals Chelsea conceded. He then made four huge saves to help earn them a point at Vitality Stadium last weekend.
The 25-year-old has commanded his area by claiming crosses with authority and has the highest passing accuracy in the most possession-hungry team in the Premier League. The decision to send Kepa Arrizabalaga on loan to Real Madrid does not initially appear to have hurt Chelsea.
Sanchez had been signed as competition for Arrizabalaga but he was then given the No1 shirt, before Chelsea brought in Djordje Petrovic from New England Revolution as his back-up.
Chelsea are not thought to be actively searching for a new goalkeeper, though reports this week that they are keeping tabs on Ramsdale will only increase the spotlight on Sanchez.
Just five games into the season, Sunday's game is crucial for Chelsea. The Blues are in 14th place, eight points off the top four, and another bad result will add to concerns this could quickly turn into another miserable season.
Patience is already wearing thin among supporters, whose frustration is not aimed at Pochettino and more at how the club is being run.