CECH: EVERYTHING CLICKED
The last time Petr Cech faced a Crystal Palace attack he was in his first season at Chelsea, with the Blues crowned champions at the end of that campaign while the Eagles were relegated.
Nine seasons on and we are again title challengers with Palace, back in the top flight, fighting to remain in it. Cech is aiming to help our cause and hamper theirs with a clean sheet when the two teams meet on Saturday afternoon, and if he does so it will be the 150th Premier League clean sheet of his distinguished career.
The first three of those clean sheets came in his first three Chelsea games, with the third against Palace at Selhurst Park following on from shut-outs against Manchester United and Birmingham. We won all the games with the London derby ending 2-0, Didier Drogba and Tiago the scorers.
Cech had been dreaming of such a solid foundation on which to build his career in England.
'It is always important when you have a debut in a new team,' he says.
'Carlo Cudicini had been voted the best keeper in the Premier League and I knew that if I didn't play well and the team didn't do well, I might not last too long in that goal.
'So you try to do your best in those games and I was lucky that the team started very strongly as well, and everything clicked together. This is what you look for if you come to a new club.'
Cech finally conceded a goal in the first minute of his fourth game, at home to Southampton, but Jose Mourinho's men recovered to win and the then 22-year-old played a big part in setting a new Premier League defensive record by the end of the season. When Crystal Palace visited the Bridge in March 2005, the most recent occasion this London derby was played, Cech conceded once but we ran out convincing 4-1 winners.
Our goalie will return to the side to face the current Eagles having been rested midweek, allowing another keeper to make a debut and keep a clean sheet - Mark Schwarzer playing for the first time in the Champions League. After Wednesday's win over Steaua, Mourinho said he thought Cech would be happy for the Australian, and the player confirms that is the case.
'It was great to see Mark play his first Champions League game and get that box ticked. You can never say it is too late for anything, even in football, and he is still training as a young guy and he played well.
'If you play a debut game and get a clean sheet and the team win it is very pleasing, and to play the first game at home is a special moment for him.'