Chelsea’s goalkeeping strategy may seem all over the place… but it is part of a cunning plan.

When the Blues sold prize asset Petr Cech to Arsenal in the summer for £10m, Chelsea fans groaned.

Losing the cat-in-a-hat after 333 appearances to their hated north London rivals seemed like bad business.

Even Jose Mourinho said that he would have preferred it if his old keeper had gone abroad rather than to the Emirates.

Now it turns out it was all a clever trick.

Cech is only pretending to be the Gunners’ net-minder. He’s actually a secret agent, still wearing royal blue under his Arsenal shirt.

The Community Shield clean sheet was just a ploy to persuade Arsene Wenger he was for real.

Now the “sleeper” has been activated. On Sunday, Cech ensured Arsenal had an even worse start to the season that Chelsea, conceding two goals to West Ham in a shock defeat.

Part two of Chelsea’s strategy is even more devious.

With a trip to serious rivals Manchester City looming, Thibaut Courtois got himself red-carded in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Swansea.

Chelsea’s appeal against his automatic suspension was swept aside by the Football Association on Tuesday.

The idea is to lull City into thinking Sunday afternoon’s showdown will be a doddle with Asmir Begovic between the sticks.

If the ruse works, Jose Mourinho’s new contract will be extended to 2029.

Meanwhile Cech has been instructed to let in a couple more goals when Arsenal travel to Palace this weekend.

Courtois will not be the only one missing at the Etihad. Little Eva, the pint-sized physio, angered Jose by dashing on to treat Eden Hazard in the dying seconds of the Swansea game, forcing the midfielder to briefly leave the field with the Blues already down to 10 men.

Ms Carneiro has been ordered to keep a low profile, disappointing many who enjoyed her mercy dashes across the turf.