As the 4-4 draw against Ajax at the Bridge on Tuesday showed, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are far from a finished product. Four months into the youth revolution, that’s hardly surprising.
But the Blues are going quite steadily in the Premier League, and other than a few surprising home draws and losses, it’s been a safe journey towards a top four finish so far, with a bit of cup competition excitement thrown in for good measure as well. There’s still a long ways to go, obviously, both in terms of the season itself and in terms of the team’s development.
That’s also true for young Kepa Arrizabalaga, who’s having a solid if largely unspectacular season between the posts. The world’s most expensive goalkeeper knows that there is plenty of room for improvement and growth, both individually and collectively.
“Of course, there are a lot of things that we could improve, and we still must grow as a team. We are still at the beginning of the season, but we are enjoying, and we are feeling good on the pitch and that’s important for the team.
“It is true that Liverpool and Manchester City had a better level than the rest of the teams and this season, we are fighting. Currently we are in fourth position and obviously we want to get closer to them. We want to make things difficult for them and we are in that path.”
Arrizabalaga has found himself the subject of some negative Twitter “analysis” lately, with Lampard’s Chelsea yet to kick the habit of conceding silly goals, often from set pieces.
Reducing those systemic issues to something as basic as save percentage (including penalty goals and own goals conceded!), while ignoring all the other factors both for and against will never lead to insightful analysis of course. Kepa may be average in some ways (and maybe just a few inches short of ideal), but he’s also exceptional in others, such as when playing with his feet, or in other, even harder to quantify measures, such as projecting confidence and control. He’s solid on most days, exceptional on a few, and rarely makes the obvious, glaring, soul-crushing error.
But hey, everyone’s expert.
On the topic of @edersonmoraes93, here are two charts underlying his distributive excellence:— GK1 (@GK1info) June 3, 2019
- With feet in Open Play under high pressure:
Along with @kepa_46, he consistently plays through/around/over opponents
- Goal Kicks:
Incredibly effective, given his precision & range pic.twitter.com/id2JBhY5OO
In any case, none of us Einsteins matter in the end when it comes to lineup decisions. The man in charge is Frank Lampard, and he seems perfectly happy with his goalkeeper, just as the goalkeeper seems perfectly happy with the man in charge.
“He is a coach that was, and he is a legend in the club. He was a very important player during his football career.
“Now he is in his second year as a coach but he is sharing all his experience. Everything he knows about football, and everything he has lived, gave to Chelsea, and the titles he won with them like the Champions League, the Premier League and all the possible trophies.
“I am very lucky to have him as a coach.”
-Kepa Arrizabalaga; Source: Sky Sports
Indeed we are.