Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea’s starting goalkeeper, has been in poor form not only in the last few matches he played, but pretty much the entire season.
He came under criticism mainly because Chelsea signed him at a fee of 71.6 million pounds – the world’s most expensive goalkeeper. And naturally, the club would expect more out of him than missing several balls that went into the goal finally.
Daily Mail’s Bob Hope spoke on this matter, saying that by dropping Kepa, Lampard hoped to send him a message to improve or else he might continue at Chelsea.
“I wasn’t surprised [he was dropped],” Hope said. “I saw Kepa up at Newcastle a couple of weeks ago when Newcastle somehow stole a 94th-minute winner. The only thing he had to do all afternoon was save what was a fairly routine header and it flew past him.
“You look at Kepa and he reminds me of David de Gea in the early years at Manchester United, only minus the saves. Now, that’s a pretty big thing to say about a goalkeeper but he just doesn’t get near enough really.
However, Henry Winter of The Times, feels that Kepa isn’t all that bad – maybe he lost his form and can be trained back. He further feels Lampard is being rather ruthless with him.
“You’ve got to have some sympathy for Kepa in terms of the rotation and the changes of the centre-halves in front of him,” he added.
“It must be much better for a goalkeeper if you have built up that triangle with the two centre-halves or three centre-halves.
“I’ve got some sympathy there but what this also shows is the decisiveness of Lampard. We’ve all talked to him, he’s got this image as a nice, intelligent, personable individual but what this shows is Lampard has got this ruthless side.
“Dropping Kepa was a big call and probably the right one if it focuses Kepa a little bit.”
Lampard had spoken because the Chelsea-Leicester game on the matter of the goalkeeper – when Kepa was replaced with Willy Cabarello.
“It’s a decision that I make, and I think with goalkeepers it’s a decision you don’t take lightly because of what it means. They are very close and they work hard together each day but it’s one that I felt to make for this game. I trust in Willy, he trains brilliantly, he’s a great professional. I trust them both but it’s the decision for today.”