The focus of our player-by-player season reviews now falls on Edouard Mendy at the end of a campaign that saw him establish himself as Chelsea’s number one and lift Europe’s biggest piece of silverware.
The Senegalese keeper, who this weekend has picked up the Best African International Award from the Ghana Football Awards Board, arrived at Stamford Bridge in September from Rennes and quickly established himself as our first choice between the sticks with a number of impressive displays, featuring heavily under both Frank Lampard and then Thomas Tuchel.
Mendy kept a mightily impressive 16 Premier League clean sheets in his debut season, as well as contributing to 17 league victories, while also putting in a fine display to keep Manchester City at bay in his final outing of the 2020/21 campaign, as we lifted the Champions League following a magical night in Porto.
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Making his mark
Mendy penned a five-year deal upon signing at Stamford Bridge, following the path from Rennes to Chelsea in the same manner Petr Cech did, and instantly became a fans’ favourite with some strong showings between the sticks, which included a run of six consecutive clean sheets when Edou started between October and November.
The goalkeeper commanded his area well and made a number of crucial stops as the Blues defeated Crystal Palace, Krasnodar, Burnley and former club Rennes across domestic and European football, as well as producing a sublime performance at Old Trafford to ensure we left with a point against Manchester United.
He made some big saves in our December victory over Leeds, played in front of a small crowd at Stamford Bridge, as we reached the summit of the Premier League table with the three points.
Champions League champion
Mendy was instrumental to our Champions League success, with his impact highlighted by his record-breaking nine clean sheets en route to our late May final victory. No goalkeeper has recorded more shutouts in Europe’s elite club competition in a debut season.
He was composed and assured as the Blues brushed aside Atletico Madrid and Porto to reach the semi-finals, with just a sensational acrobatic effort from Medhi Taremi in the dying embers of our win over the Portuguese side breaching his net over those four games in question.
Mendy impressed in the semi-final win over Real Madrid, too, before putting in another solid display as we defeated Man City in the final with an early save to deny Raheem Sterling setting the tone and spurring his outfield team-mates on to win the contest thanks to Kai Havertz’s strike.
An incredible rise
What makes Mendy’s story even more impressive is the fact that the goalkeeper was contemplating a career away from football just six years ago.
He left Cherbourg in the French lower leagues and spent a year out of the game as he searched for a new club, with Edou even registering for unemployment at this time as he looked a jobs outside of football.
His perseverance – which saw him move up the leagues with Reims and Rennes before moving to Chelsea – was rewarded in the most sensational of outcomes, by establishing himself as a top-class Premier League goalkeeper and lifting the Champions League, surrounded by his family and friends.
Edouard Mendy 2020/21 Chelsea stats
Clean sheets: 25
Edouard Mendy Premier League appearances 2020/21
Edouard Mendy made 31 appearances in the Premier League this season, all of them as starts.
Edouard Mendy Champions League appearances 2020/21
Edouard Mendy made 12 appearances in the Champions League this season, all of them as starts.
Edouard Mendy FA Cup appearances 2020/21
Edouard Mendy didn’t feature for Chelsea in the FA Cup this season.
Edouard Mendy Carabao Cup appearances 2020/21
Edouard Mendy made one appearance for Chelsea in the League Cup this season.