Is there any way back for Kepa Arrizabalaga at Chelsea? Not after another error in their FA Cup win over Luton – he’ll probably follow Frank Lampard out the door…
Frank Lampard has been shoved through the exit door at Chelsea, but could he be followed pretty soon by his erstwhile goalkeeper.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was back in the team for their 3-1 FA Cup win over Luton at the weekend, but it was his error that allowed that one goal to be scored.
And it was, of course, just the latest in a series of mistakes that have littered the Spanish keeper’s Chelsea career, ever since his £71.6million – £71.6million! – move from Athletic Bilbao in 2018.
Is there any way back for Kepa at Chelsea?
“I’m not so sure now,” said David Preece, ex-keeper and goalie coach at Ostersunds in Sweden, on The Totally Football Show.
“At most it was a troublesome shot that he was never going to catch, but it’s certainly one he should be blocking and getting something behind.
“He has this big arm-swing technique, but sometimes when shots come at you so fast as they ordinarily do in the premier League when they’re hit so cleanly – you just don’t have the time for any unnecessary movements. By the time he swings his arms back, and tries to get down to the floor with it – he could have just stuck out a leg, sometimes it is as simple as that, just to block the shot.
“It’s difficult for players not to take notice of that, and not to feel extra pressure that the goalkeeper isn’t solid behind them. Uncertainty spreads throughout the team.
“The foundations of goalkeeping is about doing the basics and doing them well. His basics have been left wanting time and time again, whether it’s decision-making, handling or diving technique.”
Still, it’s impossible not to have some sympathy for him, as Daniel Storey said:
“It’s so hard on goalkeepers though. Kepa made a fantastic save with his left arm in the second-half, but one doesn’t cancel out the other with goalkeepers, whereas with strikers it’s almost the other way around. You can miss two good chances, then if you score the third and it wins you the game, you’re hailed as the match winner.
“He hasn’t been a successful purchase – it’s been an unmitigated disaster. But it’s so hard for him to claw that back now. He would have to play for ten games, keep eight clean sheets and play really well. He’s not going to play ten games for Chelsea between now and the end of next season, probably.”
Matt Davies-Adams added:
“I think there’s a strong sense that will be his last ever game for Chelsea. The FA Cup is now their most likely route to silverware, they’ve got Championship opposition in the next round, away at Barnsley, and I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t use Edouard Mendy in that game.
“I think it will be absolutely the best, not just for Chelsea but Kepa himself, because it’s got to be a miserable experience for him. I genuinely feel really bad for him and I hope he can go on to resurrect his career somewhere, because it looks in tatters at the moment, and that’s no good to think of for anybody in their early 20s.”
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