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“Also strong”- Graham Potter compliments Chelsea star after his rare start in Palace win

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David Seaman heaps praise on Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and believe he would be a big miss on the weekend.

Chelsea manager Graham Potter full of praise for Kepa Arrizabalaga after the Palace game

Chelsea manager Graham Potter was all praise for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for his performance in the Blues’ win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park (h/t Metro).

With first-choice keeper Edouard Mendy currently out recovering from his injury and failed a late fitness test to feature on Saturday, Kepa started against Palace and did well. The Spaniard made key saves while being comfortable playing out from the back.

The £71.6m signing, who arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2018, has been heavily criticised quite a number of times for his unconvincing performances in a Chelsea shirt. He was ultimately displaced as the first-choice keeper by Mendy in 2020. However, he did well to impress the new boss at Selhurst Park.

Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga celebrates with Conor Gallagher during the win against Crystal Palace.
Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga celebrates with Conor Gallagher during the win against Crystal Palace. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Here’s what Potter said about Kepa’s performance (h/t Metro):

“I thought he did really well. He made a couple of big saves but I thought his distribution and decision making was also strong. Ultimately, we need players to step up and I feel he did that today.”

This was Kepa’s first start in the league this season, second in two games managed by Potter so far. The first was a Champions League game against RB Salzburg.

It remains to be seen whether the 27-year-old will keep his spot in the team when Mendy is back fully fit and available. He has done no harm to his chances though with a solid showing in south London.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel responds to questions regarding the future of Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Remains to be seen whether Kepa retains the number one spot. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Having made a combined 11 league starts in the last two seasons, Kepa might have to do a lot of catching-up to do to earn back the trust of the fans after an unconvincing first two seasons in a Chelsea shirt. Doing well in one game may not be enough.

Mendy’s form incidentally hasn’t been good since late last season. His work on the ball has been nervy at best, while not being at his best in shot-stopping.

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While the Senegal international goes through this patch, Kepa can do what Mendy did to him in 2020 – replace him in the team.

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