Kepa Focus

Kepa Arrizabalaga returned in Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Fulham, after being disciplined for his refusal to be substituted in last Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.

Here Football Paradise assesses the 24-year-old goalkeepers’s day at Craven Cottage.


Kepa Arrizabalaga
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga returned after being disciplined for his refusal to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final (Adam Davy/PA)

Kepa was fined and dropped by Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri for his “big mistake” at Wembley, but restored after a one-game demotion. The inclusion of the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, with Willy Caballero back on the bench, merited barely a ruffle among the visiting supporters, who are yet to adopt a song for their £71.6million capture from Athletic Bilbao.

Communication and distribution

Calum Chambers
Fulham’s Calum Chambers scored past Kepa Arrizabalaga (Adam Davy/PA)

Kepa seems like the quiet sort, which made the Wembley incident all the more surprising. He continued to direct his team-mates at set-pieces, where Fulham exposed Chelsea’s defensive flaws. His distribution was fine. One chipped pass to Ryan Sessegnon failed to relieve the pressure as Fulham pressed the Blues back in the first half. Otherwise, Kepa passed short to his four defenders.

Saves and handling

Caballero did not have a save to make in the win over Tottenham. Kepa was busy here. Kevin McDonald’s cross appeared to be a regulation catch but it was dropped. Ryan Babel could not capitalise and the goalkeeper regathered, much to his relief. An instinctive save denied Aleksandar Mitrovic, but Calum Chambers scored following the resulting corner. He saved a Tom Cairney effort which skipped off the wet turf just in front of him and denied Joe Bryan in the second half. Mitrovic was denied again in the 88th minute as Kepa saved his header.

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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