Sunday Supplement: Has Kepa Arrizabalaga got a Chelsea future?

The world's most expensive goalkeeper paid the price for some poor displays with his place in Frank Lampard's starting XI against Leicester on Saturday

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga
Image: Has Kepa Arrizabalaga got a Chelsea future after being dropped by Frank Lampard? The Sunday Supplement panel discuss...

Has Kepa Arrizabalaga got a Chelsea future after being dropped by Frank Lampard for last weekend's 2-2 draw with Leicester? The Sunday Supplement panel discussed the Spaniard's future in the latest edition of the show...

The 25-year-old, who joined Chelsea for £71.6m in the summer of 2018 as the world's most expensive goalkeeper, has come in for criticism following a number of below-par displays so far this season and he paid the price with his place in Lampard's starting line-up against Leicester on Saturday.

Willy Caballero got the nod to replace Kepa and it has left question marks over the Spaniard's future at Stamford Bridge, with reports suggesting Lampard wants to sign a new goalkeeper in the summer.

Kepa graphic (4/2/2020)

However, the Sunday Supplement panel, which featured Daily Mail football correspondent Craig Hope, chief football writer at the Times, Henry Winter, and Telegraph football reporter Mike McGrath, suggested Kepa's dropping is a message from Lampard, who will be expecting a response from his goalkeeper.

“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.”
Frank Lampard speaking before Chelsea's draw at Leicester

'Kepa like a young De Gea without the saves'

De Gea and Kepa
Image: Kepa and David de Gea are international team-mates with Spain

The Daily Mail's Craig Hope likened Kepa to David de Gea at the start of his Manchester United career but suggests Lampard will be hoping the Spaniard can raise his game with Caballero not a viable long-term option for the starting jersey.

"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.

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Leicester 2-2 Chelsea
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"He doesn't make enough saves and he doesn't look like a modern-day goalkeeper in that, if you look at your Alissons and your Edersons, you need a goalkeeper now to dominate, not just the penalty area but also the final third. He looks like that little boy, coming back to David de Gea in the early years at Manchester United.

"But then you see Willy Caballero come in against Leicester and you understand why they have persevered with Kepa for so long. I know the first goal takes a deflection, but it looks like he's trying to catch a crisp packet. The second goal it looks like he's trying to catch a bus where he's going chasing the player outside the penalty area.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: Harvey Barnes of Leicester City beats Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero to score the first Leicester goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Chelsea FC at The King Power Stadium on February 01, 2020 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus)
Image: Caballero could not keep out Harvey Barnes' deflected effort at Leicester

"I know Frank came out and defended him after the game but when the alternative is Caballero you can see why they've kept Kepa in the team. There's a reason why Caballero has bounced around a few clubs now as sub goalkeeper and has never really made a number one position his own.

"You'd like to think Frank is trying to send a message to Kepa to come back in and raise his game because what we've seen in recent weeks has probably undermined the progress elsewhere on the pitch for Chelsea."

"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."
Craig Hope on Sunday Supplement

'Sympathy for dropped Kepa'

Image: Kepa has conceded 32 goals so far this season

The Times' Henry Winter thinks Kepa deserves some sympathy because of the rotation of Chelsea's centre-backs this season but he still thinks Lampard made the right call in dropping the Spain international.

"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.

Paper Talk - February 3

Frank Lampard wants a new goalkeeper in the summer after omitting Kepa Arrizabalaga against Leicester on Saturday - Daily Express.

"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."

Biggest call of Frank's managerial career - Merson

Paul Merson: "If you had asked me five weeks ago if Chelsea had a problem with their goalkeeper, I would have said no, I thought Kepa was good. He has had a bad time.

"I thought he made a big decision, I think that is one of his biggest decisions since he became a manager in football if I am being honest.

"Willy Caballero made a mistake, which can happen when you change the goalies, but he is a decent person to come in. I know he made a mistake, he is probably too keen and he has not played for a while."

'Kepa will return stronger'

Kepa vs ARsenal
Image: Kepa was criticised for failing to keep out Hector Bellerin's late equaliser against Arsenal

Finally, The Telegraph's Mike McGrath thinks Kepa lacks presence in his penalty area but has backed him to return to Chelsea's starting line-up stronger.

"Kepa was just slow on to the Newcastle goal and the Hector Bellerin one against Arsenal. I didn't think it was terminal. I didn't think that he was a bad goalkeeper," McGrath said.

"I thought it was to do with sharpness, which can be improved upon.

Chelsea have won their last five Premier League matches
Image: Reports suggest Lampard wants to replace Kepa next summer

"Do I think he is the world's best goalkeeper because he's the world's most expensive goalkeeper? No, I don't think so. At Old Trafford on Saturday, Peter Schmeichel came into the press room and you just felt presence there. He's even got a presence in a room long since he hung his gloves up.

"A presence in and around the box comes with time. De Gea didn't have it at the start of his Old Trafford career because it comes with time. I don't think its terminal for him but it's good man-management. He'll be stronger for it."

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