Edouard Mendy, not for the first time, was unbeatable on Saturday evening.
The 29-year-old cemented his place as the in-form shot-stopper in the Premier League with an outstanding display, labelled ‘world class’ by Brentford boss Thomas Frank.
The Bees manager had just seen the Senegal international make a succession of incredible saves, each more impressive than the last, until topping his performance with an incredible reflex stop to tip Christian Norgaard’s acrobatic effort over the crossbar to preserve Chelsea’s 1-0 win.
‘He was very strong throughout the whole match,’ his own boss Thomas Tuchel raved.
Not for the first time this season, his heroics were key for the Blues. With his four clean sheets so far in the Premier League season, only Manchester City’s Ederson can boast more.
More impressive still is Chelsea’s xG against record with Mendy in the side. According to Goal, Tuchel’s side have conceded three less than they should have, a better return than any other team in the top flight.
While the sky appears the limit in the Premier League, however, it appears others are putting limitations on his abilities.
Much of the footballing world has raised an eyebrow at Mendy’s omission from the Ballon d’Or shortlist.
Despite becoming the first African goalkeeper to lift the Champions League – breaking an English club record for clean sheets recorded in the competition in the process – there was no room on the list of 30 for him.
Asked on Saturday whether he felt his first-choice keeper should have been on the list, Tuchel replied: ‘Yes… but no. I’m happy and it is more important that he performs like this than he is on any list.
‘It should not – I hope it does not – bother him because it does not bother me too much and it seems like he is not influenced by that, which is a good thing.’
Mendy himself has been very diplomatic about his snub. ‘There will always be debates, whether it’s about me or someone else,’ he added.
‘It is down to the freedom of the votes of the (Ballon d’Or) journalists and they must be respected.’
But there are plenty still fighting his corner. One of the issues that make the decision difficult to fathom is the appearance of another goalkeeper on the list – Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The Italian undoubtedly had a summer to remember, lifting the European Championship with Italy and he was their hero twice as they claimed the trophy courtesy of two penalty shootout wins.
But comparing the two on club merit throughout 2021 makes the decision to include the Azzurri’s No 1 a little baffling.
Mendy has a better save percentage, better clean-sheet ratio and has conceded far fewer goals per game for Chelsea. Despite this and helping his side to Europe’s most prestigious club trophy, it’s still not enough to get him on the list, though.
The omission has been questioned by many of his team-mates, Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger making his feelings known after the victory over Brentford on Twitter.
It is his fellow countrymen who have raised one of the most pertinent points. While Liverpool’s Sadio Mane labelled the decision ‘unacceptable’, others were more unequivocal in their thoughts that race still plays a factor.
‘It’s a real shame that Edou isn’t one of them (nominees),’ said Kalidou Koulibaly during the recent international break. ‘He is the first African goalkeeper to win the Champions League.
‘We must continue to work and move forward. We have to do the double (the work) of some people to be well judged.
‘Edou is a very positive person. We talked about it together. He will continue to fight to be part of it. For me, he has a place among these 30 players.’
Mendy will continue doing what he does best for Chelsea. If he does, the recognition his game deserves will have to follow.Internet Explorer Channel Network