“Absolutely ready to play” – Tuchel opens up on reserve star’s availability

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel backs Kepa Arrizabalaga to step up when called upon

Speaking about the goalkeeping situation (h/t Football.London), Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says backup goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is absolutely ready to play when called upon.

However, the German also reiterated that the Spaniard has to remain patient on the touchline, as he has no doubts about Edouard Mendy’s performances despite the Senegal international’s downturn in form in the recent weeks.

Mendy’s form has been scratchy at best in the opening six Premier League games of this season. Although keeping only one clean sheet in six games is not directly down to him, there have been moments where he has looked out of sorts. His mistake against Leeds United and getting lucky against West Ham United haven’t gone unnoticed.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel backs Kepa Arrizabalaga to step up when called upon.
Kepa is an able deputy if Mendy is suffering from lack of confidence.

Speaking about whether Kepa would be ready is called upon, here’s Tuchel (h/t Football.London):

 I was always very clear with him that I wanted him to stay. And from my point of view, he’s absolutely ready to play. It’s on us if we give him the chance or not but he’s 100% ready given how he behaves and how trains.

Mendy was the one who took Kepa’s spot as the first-choice goalkeeper in 2020. The Spaniard struggled for form and confidence, meaning the club had to replace him with the Senegal international.

Since then, Kepa has been an able deputy to Mendy, who in general has done well, but has not been able to replicate that high level of performance recently.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel backs Kepa Arrizabalaga to step up when called upon.
Mendy replaced Kepa for that number one slot in 2020.

It would interesting to see how Tuchel deals with this situation. The sensible approach would be to give more opportunities to be the number one and see whether he is handling the pressure well or not. If not, there is an able replacement sitting on the bench to come and do a job.

Chelsea are blessed to have two international standard keepers in their squad. It increases competition for that position, which can only be good news for both the players and the manager.

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The Blues are up against Dinamo Zagreb away in the Champions League next, before playing London rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage at the weekend. It is one to keep an eye on as to who starts these games in goal.