Flying in the face of everyone's overreactions, Chelsea will reportedly not punish Kepa Arrizabalaga for the incident in yesterday’s League Cup final that looked like the goalkeeper refusing a direct order to be substituted.
Both Sarri and Kepa, as well as other players, have explained the incident away as a “misunderstanding” — and upon closer, more careful examination, that may not be just a PR construct — though that hasn’t stopped the media at large from declaring it a “mutiny” against Sarri (some even calling for Kepa’s sacking if you can believe it) and an indication of deep-seated issues at the club. They may be right about the second part of course, though that’s basically a given at Chelsea. Meanwhile, the hot takes on Twitter could heat a small city for the next six months, too.
What follows...— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) February 25, 2019
1) Head of Medical Staff Paco Biosca checks with Kepa
2) Sarri steps towards the pitch to talk to Kepa
3) Contact between Head of Medical staff and Sarri
3) Rudiger steps in to calm down his manager
4) Sarri and Azpilicueta have a go at each other#cfc pic.twitter.com/nUSCNDzMbl
Regardless of how everyone’s making a BIG DEAL out of this, Chelsea appear to be ready to move on from this publicly and deal with it as an internal matter (with or without fines or whatever). And that’s precisely the right way to handle it. The court of public opinion has convicted Kepa anyway, and has largely ignored Sarri’s own behaviour — though that’s changing a bit, as such things tend to once the initial emotions ebb away.
The more I watch the Kepa incident, the more I lose sympathy for Sarri. He could have handled it so much better. Look furious on the touchline maybe, but let it go and then either kill Kepa or back him afterwards without all the drama once you have all the facts. He lost the plot— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) February 25, 2019
Either way, just like with Conte and Costa, whether there is any real conflict or not behind the scenes, there are more important things to deal with as a team. Chelsea may have lost on Sunday, but it was the sort of performance, the sort of fight that can be used as a springboard for bigger and better things ... starting with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.
“I think we have to [kick on in the other two competitions]. During the season we have had some great performances like the one at Wembley, but our problem has been not being consistent. We have to learn from that and be consistent.
“We have another important game to play against Tottenham on Wednesday, it is another big, big game and we have to play like we did against Man City. We have the quality for that, the players for that and the manager for that. It is up to us.”-
-David Luiz; source: Evening Standard
Onwards and upwards.