Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta hails the mentality of Kepa Arrizabalaga
After being the number two to Edouard Mendy under Thomas Tuchel, Kepa has played every minute of football under Potter so far. He has taken his chance with both hands by performing consistently and delivering clean sheets for the team.
In the eight games he has played under Potter, Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in five of them and conceded only three goals in total. More importantly, he looks confident between the sticks and he hasn’t made any telling errors.
Talking about Kepa’s mentality and praising his performances, here’s Azpilicueta (h/t Evening Standard):
“I am really happy for him. Of course, he has had tough moments but the strength from him is to always stay positive, to train hard every day and we know as a player you want to play all the time but the manager makes the decision.”
“I am very happy for him, it shows his mentality to be strong, keep working hard and wait for his chance. We have a fantastic group of goalkeepers with Edou [Mendy], Betts [Marcus Bettinelli] and that’s the joy of our team to have these guys every day.”
Kepa is behind in the pecking order in the Spain squad that will go to Qatar to play the World Cup. Unai Simon is the number one in that team, while David de Gea, David Raya and Robert Sanchez are in the reckoning. However, the Chelsea goalkeeper’s performances should attract the attention of national team manager Luis Enrique.
The 28-year-old was initially signed from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 to become the number-one keeper in the team. But, he was never comfortable and made a horror start to the 2020/21 campaign, which led to manager Frank Lampard replacing him with Mendy.
Now, with Mendy losing form early this season and picking up an injury which allowed Kepa to get back into the team, the latter seems to be doing everything to keep that spot in his own hands for as long as possible.
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Manager Potter has insisted that he has not zoned in on one option for the first-choice goalkeeping position. He would rather let the form and football decide which player is right to be selected for the game. At the moment, Kepa is ahead in the pecking order, and deservedly so.