Chelsea’s welcome win over the weekend was the first step in our recovery plan from what will hopefully prove to be the lowest ebb of Frank Lampard’s managerial career at Stamford Bridge.
Unfortunately, the 3-1 triumph over Luton Town to progress into the fifth round of the FA Cup was probably not (yet) the turnaround for a couple embattled players on the team, as both Kepa Arrizabalaga and Timo Werner continued to cultivate their current narratives instead.
Kepa, making just his sixth start of the season, and just fourth in the last four months was in full Kepa mode, letting a weak shot squirm past his limp wrists in the first half to make things a bit more interesting at 2-1. But as Frank Lampard pointed out in his post-match press conference, Kepa came up huge in the second half, stopping a powerful close-range drive from Harry Cornick with a strong left hand. Kepa was credited with another save as well, which technically meant that his save-percentage was actually above his average in this much-focused-upon metric.
“Kepa makes a really top save in the second half to make sure it doesn’t go to 2-2. It’s very easy for people to focus on that but Kepa hasn’t been playing regularly.
“Today he’s come in – he’s been training excellently and is a good goalkeeper – and we can give him that one. I’m as annoyed with the fact we let someone stand in our box with that space and get a shot away. It was a general team moment of complacency given how comfortable we were at 2-0, which isn’t good enough.”
Just as with Kepa, Lampard chose to focus on the positive contributions from Timo Werner, who collected an assist, was involved in build-up, and even won a penalty. Unfortunately, his effort from the spot was not great and the goalkeeper saved it by guessing the right way, but surely these series of misfortunate events will eventually come to an end, right?
“Timo gave a lot with his performance today. He was a threat behind, his link up with Tammy, his link up with people around him... [but] when it’s not going for you, it can happen. I missed penalties, I know the feeling. I know he will feel despondent, maybe now and the last few minutes of the game, but he shouldn’t be. It’s my job and his teammates’ job to lift him and he will be fine.
“It was almost a sign of what’s going on for Timo at the minute, it’s not quite dropping for him. But there will be a time when he takes penalties without thinking about it and hits the back of the net without thinking about it. At the moment that’s not quite the time for Timo, but it will come and hopefully soon.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
Fortunately, we’re no longer in a position where we need Kepa to perform day in and day out — thank you, Édouard Mendy — and while it would be fantastic if Timo started scoring regularly again, we can continue to navigate that goal-void with contributions from others, such as Tammy’s hat-trick yesterday.
Whatever it takes to win.