Kepa Arrizabalaga seems to have settled in quite nicely to his backup role at Chelsea. While he would obviously love to play more — as would most ambitious professional players — in whatever gametime he is getting, he is playing an excellent second fiddle to Édouard Mendy, and performing about as well as he has ever done in Chelsea colors.
Sunday’s game at Tottenham was no exception, with the 26-year-old getting called upon thanks to Mendy’s painful ribs. Unlike the lineup announcement, this presumably was not all last minute for Kepa — though either way, he would’ve been ready to go. That’s the backup life: be ready at any given time!
“This is very important, for all players to be ready. We have a lot of games to play during the season, across many competitions so it is very important for our players to be ready for the team.”
As far as the game itself, it was yet another clean sheet for the Chelsea defense, with Kepa himself making it his 6th in the 8 starts he’s made under Thomas Tuchel.
Just another perfect day at New Three Point Lane!
“I was really happy to help the team. It’s been quite a while since I played in the Premier League, so I was happy for the opportunity to help the team. To come into the side in such a big game like this, a London derby, and to keep a clean sheet and get the three points, it’s perfect really!
“Edou and I have a very good relationship. We are training together every day and support each other whoever is playing. You could see in the Super Cup the relationship we have, he was one of the first players to congratulate me after the penalty shoot-out and of course we celebrated together. Hopefully he can return to training soon from his injury.”
-Kepa Arrizabalaga; source: Chelsea FC
This was Kepa’s first start of the season, though second appearance after his star-turn as a penalty-saving shootout specialist in the UEFA Super Cup. His second start is likely coming up in just a couple days, as we take on Aston Villa in the League Cup on Wednesday.
Let’s keep the clean sheets going!