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Kepa Arrizabalaga stakes his claim on Chelsea starting job once again

Hot hand?

Crystal Palace v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Another game, another 90 minutes, another solid performance without any glaring errors — Kepa Arrizabalaga has now produced three consecutive appearances’ worth of quality goalkeeping, filling in more than adequately for the injured Édouard Mendy in the meantime.

That may actually be an understatement given Mendy’s growing struggles and increasingly concerning frequent errors (relatively speaking of course) prior to his injury. The narrative forces have started to blow strongly into Kepa’s sails, and head coach Graham Potter may have a difficult decision to make here soon — especially as for him, Kepa’s been the only really familiar quantity thus far.

Asked after last night’s game whether Kepa’s done enough to keep his spot even after Mendy’s declared fully fit (which may be as soon as Wednesday’s game against AC Milan), Potter avoided a direct answer, but gave a good review of performance and strengths.

“I thought he did really well. He made a couple of big saves but also, his distribution in terms of his decision-making was really strong. You need players to step up and perform and Kepa did that today. So I am really happy for him.”

-Graham Potter; source: Football.London

Big saves, strong presence, steady distribution, good decisions, good mentality. Even his wrists have been strong. We can’t make him taller, but we have made him better. His decision to stay in the summer is now proving a beneficial one for all, and even if Mendy returns quickly to his best, Kepa will surely get plenty of opportunities this season, and beyond.

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