Frank Lampard defends Kepa Arrizabalaga from 'unfair' criticism after dropping Chelsea 'keeper

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Frank Lampard and Kepa Arrizabalaga 0:36
Frank Lampard says some of the criticism aimed at Kepa Arrizabalaga has been 'unfair' just days after dropping the goalkeeper from his Chelsea side

Frank Lampard has defended Kepa Arrizabalaga from "unfair" criticism just days after dropping the goalkeeper from his Chelsea team for a third time.

Kepa's place was given to Willy Caballero for Chelsea's trip to West Brom on Saturday - which ended in a 3-3 draw - following costly mistakes in the Blues' first two Premier League games of the season.

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Lampard previously replaced Kepa in favour of Caballero for a run of games in February, as well as for their final three games of the 2019/20 season.

Chelsea also signed goalkeeper Edouard Mendy - who could make his debut in Tuesday's Carabao Cup tie away to Tottenham, live on Sky Sports - from Rennes last week, leading to suggestions Kepa may have played his last game for the club.

Edouard Mendy is set to move to Chelsea in a £22m deal
Image: Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has joined Chelsea from Rennes

However, Lampard was keen to defend the 25-year-old, saying: "I certainly won't go to the point of saying he's played his last game for Chelsea.

"I think it's been a difficult time for Kepa - I know it and he knows it. But we should certainly not jump to that conclusion.

"Also - and I felt quite strongly about this - we should understand that Kepa is a young man. A lot of the spotlight on him I think has become slightly unfair.

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"I have to protect him because I know he's a good lad, playing with absolute professionalism and trying to do the best he can."

'West Brom result not a reality check'

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from West Brom's draw with Chelsea in the Premier League

Lampard saw his Chelsea team concede three times inside the first half-hour of the game during their draw at West Brom, but insists that should not serve as a "reality check".

Individual defensive errors helped the Baggies to a 3-0 lead but Lampard - who has signed seven new players during the window - says he believes his side need more time to work together.

He explained: "It wasn't a reality check for me. It may be for some on the outside. We should have won the game and would have won the game without individual errors.

"In terms of our performance so far, it's clear - we have new players in, some who haven't even taken part yet because of injuries. So we haven't had time to train as a group.

"I'm very confident that the more that we work, we will improve. Any Premier League game is going to give you big challenges, and West Brom gave us a challenge."

Lampard adds to calls for handball changes

Andy Carroll heads the ball against the arm of Eric Dier
Image: Andy Carroll heads the ball against the arm of Eric Dier to win Newcastle a controversial late penalty at Tottenham on Sunday

The most recent round of Premier League fixtures saw yet more controversial refereeing decisions made in line with the new handball laws.

Steve Bruce - whose Newcastle side earned a point at Tottenham thanks to a late penalty given against Eric Dier for handball - said the changes were "nonsense", while Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson shared Bruce's view.

"I agree with both Steve Bruce and Roy Hodgson," Lampard said. "They've been in this game longer than myself, but we're all in this game and we all understand that when people jump in the box, your arms will naturally move.

"It's always been a difficult rule, maybe with a bit of a grey area. But in idea of trying to find some clarity, we've actually gone the other way and made it something that just doesn't feel right at all. I'd like to think something can be done to change it."

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