Chelsea 2 Newcastle 0: Petr Cech proves he is still Stamford Bridge's Mr Reliable

Cech started just second Premier League game of the season and was outstanding

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The Independent Football

Should Jose Mourinho fulfil his promise of doing no transfer dealings this month, there will still be one bit of business that he can take great satisfaction from.

Since Thibaut Courtois replaced Petr Cech as Chelsea's first choice keeper in the summer, there has been a lot of speculation that the latter would leave in the new year.

There has certainly been no shortage of interest in the 32-year-old, who has starred in a Chelsea shirt for the past decade.

But by playing him in the odd game now and then, Mourinho has been able to convince Cech to see out the campaign and third choice Mark Schwarzer has moved on to Leicester instead.

Cech's situation may change in the summer, but for the time being Chelsea can expect to get their reward.

Against Newcastle, a nagging finger injury for Courtois meant Mourinho called on Cech to start only his second League game of the season. Some clubs may see a dip in performance levels should they be forced to make a change between the posts, but Mourinho doesn't have that problem.

Chelsea needed Cech to be at his best in a first half where they were outplayed by the visitors from the outset.

Newcastle would have taken a deserved lead but for the veteran's intervention from Remy Cabella's shot and Yoan Gouffran's fierce free kick.

With the Chelsea players and fans consumed by nerves, no doubt caused by the mini-slump of recent weeks which has seen the club's eight point lead over Manchester City evaporate, it was vital the game remained score-less at that point.

It was Newcastle of course who handed Chelsea their first League defeat of the season five weeks ago. Instead of chasing the game though, Chelsea's undeserved opening goal from Oscar, after Willian took a quick corner just before half-time, eased the tension.

Top scorer Diego Costa netted his 15th League goal after the break to put the home side in control and steal all the headlines.

But Mourinho knows he has a lot to thank Cech for as Mr Reliable continues his Blues' career for a little while yet.