Thibaut Courtois hopeful he will play against Stoke City

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Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is optimistic that he will be fit for next week’s Premier League fixture against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

This is according to reliable Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur, who revealed that Courtois is still recovering from his minor groin injury but does expect to line up for the Blues next Monday.

Courtois, 22, missed Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Hull City on Saturday. The Belgium international was replaced by Petr Cech, who enjoyed a comfortable afternoon at Stamford Bridge.

Cech to start v Derby

Cech is expected to keep his place in Chelsea’s starting line-up for Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup quarter-final against Derby County but, providing he’s fit, Courtois will return to the fold for the Blues’ next Premier League fixture.

Courtois has been in fine form this season since returning to Stamford Bridge following his third season-long loan spell with Atletico Madrid, where he cemented his reputation as one of the world’s best goalkeepers.

Why Mourinho had to play Courtois

Because of his outstanding performances in La Liga and the Champions League, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho understandably made the decision to use Courtois as his first-choice ‘keeper ahead of fan favourite Cech, who was named as the Premier League’s Goalkeeper of the Year just last season.

Chelsea ran the risk of Courtois deciding to leave the club had Mourinho opted to stick with Cech, but the world-class Belgian committed his future to the Blues in September by signing a new five-year contract.

Mourinho: No offers for Cech

Mourinho has repeatedly told the press that he would prefer to keep Cech at Stamford Bridge - despite the fact he no longer plays regularly - and confirmed last week that no club has submitted a formal offer for the Czech Republic international.

"I don't think it's possible [that he will leave],” Mourinho said. “I read a couple of weeks ago that his agent said there is no chance of him leaving in January.

"That, plus the fact I have no info on any offer to him, makes me believe 100 per cent that he will stay. I am so happy that we have this fantastic situation with the goalkeepers."

But Cech may see the situation differently. In October the 32-year-old told reporters that he would look to “solve” his situation in the near future unless it improves - but there are no indications that Mourinho plans to use anyone other than Courtois as his number one.

Chelsea remain three points clear of second-placed Manchester City following their victory over the Tigers, but their next match at the Britannia Stadium promises to be a much tougher test for Mourinho’s men.

Thibaut Courtois
Stoke City
Premier League
Petr Cech

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