Chelsea have done a lot of talking recently. Some good, some bad, some in public, some in private, all said with the best of intentions. Most of those words have turned out to be rather useless, without the results to match.
Wilfredo Caballero, the oldest active member of the squad, is done with the talking. He knows that the only thing that matters is what happens on the pitch.
“We have done a lot of team talks after a lot of bad results, but we just needed to win against Malmö to recover our feelings. Hopefully after this victory we’ll go to Wembley with new sensations.”
Caballero got a surprise start on Thursday in place of record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga, who’s played the vast majority of Chelsea’s matches in all competitions, but is currently dealing with a (minor) hamstring injury.
Sarri’s hopeful that Kepa will be ready to go on Sunday, but if he isn’t, Willy C is more than happy to step into the breach and face his former club (with whom he won this same competition back in 2016).
“I don’t know how Kepa is today. I am behind him [in the pecking order], but if he cannot play I am ready.
“I [played against City] in the Community Shield. It was a big surprise to hear all the supporters from City remind me. It’s going to be another great situation for me. I will always really appreciate Manchester City for giving me the opportunity to play in England.”
Caballero spent a decade in Spain, mostly as a starter, at Elche (second division) and Málaga (first division) but has been mostly a backup since moving to England in 2014, first at Manchester City and now at Chelsea. At 37 years of age, he may be getting close to retirement, though he would surely love to win another trophy first.
In order to do that, he will be hoping that whoever starts in goal for the Blues won’t have to pick the ball out of the back of the net six times, like Arrizabalaga had to the last time these two teams met.
“For sure it’s going to be different. It doesn’t matter the score last time — it does matter what we did, what we did wrong”
“Also we can’t forget we won against them at Stamford Bridge [in December]. So we have one fantastic game against them, another horrendous game. In this case it’s a final. We have to play as a final, every single ball from the first minute.”
“-Wilfredo Caballero; source: Evening Standard
Chelsea started the season getting outplayed by City thoroughly in the Community Shield, then beat them rather impressively in December (both games finished 2-0), and then of course lost the away game by a shocking, Abramovich Era-record 6-0 scoreline.
Chelsea have done a lot of soul-searching since. There’s a distinct possibility that it won’t get any better anytime soon for the Blues. But hope dies last.