Chelsea star Kepa Arrizabalaga opens up on competition, lack of game time and shoot-out heroics in Blue
Speaking in an interview to the Chelsea official website, Kepa Arrizabalaga has given his thoughts on the competition with Edouard Mendy, his lack of minutes for the club and his penalty shootout heroics.
The 27-year-old was signed from Athletic Bilbao for a fee of £71m in 2018, but he has not fared well enough to justify the record sum that was paid. Mendy was brought in from Stade Rennes to replace him in the summer of 2020, and the Senegalese international has since taken his chance well.
Kepa’s opportunities have since been limited to the domestic cups or one-off games in other competitions such as the UEFA Super Cup. To his credit, the Spaniard has shown himself to be a dependable player in penalty shootouts.
Kepa admits that it is not easy to settle for a place on the bench. He is however doing his best to stay positive and continue pushing for more opportunities.
“It’s not easy when you’re not playing, everybody wants to play, but the best way I’m trying to do it is push every day hard. Just push yourself every day in the training and be positive.”
He also went on to add that the aptitude in penalty shootouts is down to a mix of factors. This includes luck, his mental fortitude and not to mention preparation.
“I think success in penalties for a goalkeeper is down to a bit of everything. It’s a bit of preparation, it’s a bit of luck, it’s a bit of mental strength, it’s a bit of your quality – it’s a mix.”
Following the move, the goalkeeper has played in 113 matches and has conceded 122 goals with 41 clean sheets to his name. He has played under Tuchel in 12 games, conceding just five goals and keeping seven clean sheets.
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This goes in line with his improvement under Tuchel and how he has regained his quality in recent matches. We should hope that he keeps on improving this manner and can finally justify what was paid for him.
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