Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel hails Kepa Arrizabalaga’s performance vs Brentford
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was delighted with the performance of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga during the club’s Carabao Cup quarter-final win at Brentford.
Tuchel made eight changes to the starting line-up from the goalless draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers. The German handed debuts to three academy graduates.
While the Blues had the vast share of possession in the opening half, the Bees were more effective in the final third. They had three shots on goal saved by Arrizabalaga.
One of those was to deny Yoann Wissa from point-blank range. After the interval, the Blues had better control of the proceedings with the Bees failing to register a shot.
An own goal from Pontus Jansson and a Jorginho penalty sealed the victory. Following the game, Tuchel lavished special praise on Arrizabalaga’s goalkeeping heroics.
He told Chelseafc.com: “I’m very happy and super impressed with Kepa. It’s not a surprise anymore but he’s in that state of mind as a person, a character and a sportsman where he just delivers.”
“This is what he shows every day in training and that’s why he gets the rewards and has these kind of performances. He was a big factor today in the first half especially.”
Arrizabalaga has been Chelsea’s second-choice goalkeeper since Edouard Mendy’s last season. Despite this, he has remained committed and has been faultless when he has played lately.
The 27-year-old has grown in confidence after a disappointing start to his Blues career. He is expected to have an extended run of games next month with Mendy off with Senegal for the African Cup of Nations.
Tuchel has been clear that Mendy remains the first-choice goalkeeper for the Premier League and European games, but Arrizabalaga has an excellent chance to prove his credentials in January.
The Spaniard could be in goal for as many as six matches next month. Mendy is likely to link up with his national team prior to Liverpool’s visit of Stamford Bridge on January 2.
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