Report: Thibaut Courtois will start in goal for Chelsea vs Burnley

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Things are changing at Stanford Bridge, and we may be bearing witness to a changing of the guard.

According to talkSPORT presenter Richard Keys, 22-year-old Belgian star Thibaut Courtois will start in goal for Chelsea tomorrow against Burnley, displacing 10-year Blues veteran Petr Cech.

There’s no word on whether this is a long-term decision or if manager Jose Mourinho will parlay the two and look to play the hot hand.

The decision is a big one, as Cech has nearly 500 appearances for Chelsea (478 to be exact) and is just 32 years of age – not yet past his prime for a goalkeeper.

Courtois spent three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, where this past season the club had overarching success.  At his young age, Courtois has already played in a Champions League final and experienced the elation of winning the championship in a major European league.

In his pre-match press conference two days ago, Mourinho admitted that whomever he chooses, the other shall likely be jaded enough to want to leave.

“If Petr plays, Courtois can think about leaving, or visa versa,” Mourinho told reporters. “In this moment they are working well and hard and we are so happy to have them both. I prefer to analyse this in that perspective.”

“During the season if one is definitely my first choice I have to support and stimulate the other one. I can’t have one of these incredible goalkeepers on the bench three or four months waiting for a Capital One Cup game. I have to stimulate the competition and I have to praise some top goalkeeper which is not my first choice.”

Usually, this is described as a “good problem to have” but in this situation, that’s not necessarily true, given that one would likely look elsewhere to get playing time. But Mourinho still believes this can only help the club.

“My opinion with all the respect to fantastic goalkeepers around the world, I think Chelsea has two of the three best goalkeepers in the world,” Mourinho said. “This is something unique. Is it a problem for me? A great problem. They are both fantastic goalkeepers. It’s a problem every manager in every club would like to have.”

The Daily Mail suggested yesterday that the youngster would start, and it seems that will be true.

Report: USMNT’s Arriola drawing transfer interest abroad, in MLS

AP Photo/LM Otero
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Paul Arriola’s motor was constantly running as the United States men’s national team claimed its sixth Gold Cup title, and it could drive him all the way from Club Tijuana to Europe or a prime spot on an MLS roster.

There’s a snag, though.

[ MORE: Everton wins Europa opener ]

Arriola is reportedly wanted by Real Salt Lake and clubs in both the Netherlands and Portugal, but the LA Galaxy has what Goal.com describes a “dubious homegrown player” claim on Arriola, who participated in a minimal of practices with the Galaxy when he was younger.

As you’ll see below, there isn’t much “homegrown” about it and, to its critics, it is peak MLS monopolized tomfoolery. Here’s how Goal describes it:

“He was already a U.S. youth national team player when he traveled the 120 miles from Chula Vista to take part in a handful of training sessions with the LA Galaxy academy and eventually the Galaxy first team.

“The Galaxy are believed to hold a homegrown player claim on Arriola, and would have the right of first refusal on making Arriola an offer if he comes to MLS. The Galaxy’s current salary-cap situation might not allow them to make a serious bid for Arriola.”

But… here’s how the Galaxy described his choosing to sign for TJ instead of a pro deal from LA in 2013:

“It’s a little disappointing,” Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday. “He went through our system, we offered him a contract and he decided to move on and go somewhere else. But that’s going to happen. It’s something that has happened before, and it’s something that will happen again.”

Arriola’s response in the same article? “I thank the Galaxy for giving me a wonderful opportunity to train with their first team and be a part of their first team which really taught me a lot.” That doesn’t read as much like he “went through their system.” He played in at least one U-18 game, debuting in October 2012, did more training with TJ in December 2012, and signed for the Mexican side in May 2013.

Should that qualify him as Homegrown?

https://www.transfermarkt.com/paul-arriola/leistungsdaten/spieler/189876

Did Arriola spent significant time with LA, or is it possible the Galaxy might reap rewards from having an already established youth national teamer to practice when he was a kid? Whether you’re okay with that or not, consider that it encourages clubs to pilfer rights without actually registering or training the player.

Not to mention there is no guarantee that playing in the Netherlands or Portugal will be better for his development than MLS. Benfica or Ajax and potential action in European tournaments? Maybe. NAC Breda or Tondela? Maybe not.

Nevermind the quagmire that is American youth soccer clubs’ not earning money from transfer fees, the Arriola drama seems baseless. We don’t know the Galaxy will hold the player hostage, but they would actually be depriving MLS of a talent, as LA would theoretically get nothing should TJ sell him to a European club.

In any event, check out Arriola’s use chart from Tijuana and you’ll see why he’s valued by Bruce Arena as well as his suitors. He’s a Swiss Army Knife. Here’s hoping Tinseltown doesn’t stop him from a proper next step (assuming he’s ready to leave Liga MX).