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Petr Cech recalls Chelsea Premier League opener against Manchester United

Our legendary former goalie talks us through the last time we met the Red Devils on the opening weekend of the season, when he made his top-flight debut for the Blues on a memorable afternoon at Stamford Bridge.

Campaign openers hardly come much tougher than a trip to Old Trafford, which is what west London’s finest have to look forward to on Sunday 11 August when we kick-off our 2019/20 season.

The roles were reversed at the start of 2004/05, when we played host to Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in Jose Mourinho's opening match as Blues boss.

It came just months after his Porto side had dumped the Red Devils out of the Champions League and despite naming six debutants, including Petr Cech, we emerged victorious thanks to one of the old guard as Eidur Gudjohnsen bundled home the only goal of the game.

It was the start of a spectacular campaign, when we went on to lift the Premier League title for the first time, and with a record points tally, and here’s Cech to talk you through his first taste of competitive action at Stamford Bridge.

‘It was my first Premier League game, so I wanted to start with a win – especially against Manchester United,’ the now newly retired keeper told the club’s matchday programme a few years back.

‘It was a big game and because Carlo Cudicini was loved by the fans, I had to perform to show that I deserved to be there.

‘I remember walking out for the warm-up and the whole stadium was chanting, “Carlo, Carlo,” so I realised how much they loved him and that I really had to play well.

‘But I composed myself and tried to forget about that. Before the kick-off, my concentration was on top; I didn’t even hear anyone around me.

‘In the game itself, the atmosphere was great because everyone had been waiting for the new season and then we scored an early goal through Gudjohnsen.

‘When you are in such a big match you want to touch the ball as soon as possible to get into it, but I didn’t. I got a few crosses and passes in the first half and their only shot on goal was blocked. Even in the second half their best chance was a header from Ryan Giggs which went wide.

‘It was important for us to start the season well, and that’s what we did. When you change a manager and have new players, sometimes you need time. The games were difficult in the transition period, but we were solid defensively and weren’t conceding goals.


‘That start really kicked the season off, and soon we got to know each other more and more every game. It was clear we were about to push all the way for the title.’

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