Although the days of festering mutiny in the last days of Jose Mourinho’s reign are past Chelsea, unrests still lingers in the squad. Perhaps the most disgruntled player proves Thibaut Courtois who has been outspoken regarding his future at the club.
With the Belgian’s long-term commitment to the Stamford Bridge side coming under question it may be time to turn to Asmir Begovic.
With a high-profile clash against Manchester City on the horizon, the Blues must question whether their trouble stirring number one should start. It in fact proves more logical to field Begovic with the club trying to salvage some pride during the league run-in.
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The ex-Stoke City shot-stopper has rarely featured for Chelsea when Courtois has been fit. However, the Bosnian was given the nod last weekend in the 1-0 defeat to Swansea City.
Begovic played well throughout the match and could have done little to prevent Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first-half winner. It proved another reminder of the keeper’s class, which he had shown during his run of games during Courtois’ early season injury absence.
When called upon, the 28-year-old has performed above and beyond the call of duty. Even when the majority of the squad was being peppered with criticism under Mourinho, Begovic was one of very few attracting plaudits.
Perhaps most telling has been his extraordinary professionalism; the reason with which Guus Hiddink explained his selection over Courtois in South Wales. Most goalkeepers would throw their toys out the pram after just two starts out of 21 games under a new manager, not Begovic.
Meanwhile, Begovic’s Belgian team-mate has ignited a media storm in recent weeks in proving evasive over his Chelsea future.
According to ESPN, when asked about his future the shot-stopper said: "I don't know,"
"I still have a contract for three years so we'll see what Chelsea want too."
While this doesn’t strictly state Courtois’ supposed desire to leave, it’s far from press the Blues will want to attract in their difficult time.
The Belgian’s form has also fizzled out too. The Daily Mail has documented how Courtois concedes a goal every 72.70 minutes in the league, a whimsical record compared to that of his fellow goalkeepers.
As a result, the Belgian’s position to be criticising his team-mates has been heavily questioned considering he himself is faltering. It all culminates in a very negative outlook for the Blues and their relationship with a once devotedly committed player.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that a Courtois-Begovic switch would be a positive move for Chelsea and their climax to this season.
While the Blues will undoubetly want to hang onto a player of Courtois’ stature, there should be at least some repercussions for his words to the press. Furthermore, with Begovic on good form, the club has an immediate replacement they can call upon.
With the season effectively over for Hiddink’s men and pride on the line, desire and commitment should take precedence over raw quality. Chelsea should turn to their settled shot-stopper this weekend and not humour their disgruntled number one.
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