In the 2016-17 season, Thibaut Courtois won the golden glove, keeping 16 Clean sheets in the Premier League. Seeing his performances, Real Madrid decided to buy him. Chelsea were in no mood to let their star keeper leave, but Courtois forced the move. The Blues were now left with no Number.1 keeper and had to make an emergency signing who turned out to be none other than Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Arrizabalaga came to Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao, having featured 54 times and keeping 15 clean sheets which were less than Courtois had managed that season in the Premier League alone. Kepa also came with an extremely hefty price tag of 71.6 million GBP, making him the most expensive goalkeeper in the world while Courtois was sold for 35 million GBP, less than half of Kepa’s price.
Kepa has been on the receiving end of some serious criticism as his performances this season have not been up to the mark. He has been one of the worst players at Chelsea this season. While in fact, some fans and pundits claim that the Spaniard has been the worst goalkeeper in the Premier League this season, which might just be right. The former Bilbao man has the worst save rate among any other Premier League goalkeeper at just 0.554 %. Owing to this, Chelsea have managed only 8 clean sheets this season.
Chelsea probably have one of the worst defense in league with defenders like Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma, Marcos Alonso, Cezar Azpilicueta, Reece James, and Andreas Christensen in the squad. They have let in the most number of goals in the top 8 this season, which proves that Frank Lampard’s side have a lot to improve..
Last season in a Carabao Cup game against Manchester City, Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to get substituted by then manager Maurizio Sarri who was visibly frustrated and agitated while he shouted on the touchline. Backup goalkeeper Willy Caballero waited on the touchline for Kepa to come out, but the Spaniard just refused to leave the pitch. Although Kepa won the game for Chelsea after saving a couple of penalties in the shootout after extra time, this controversial incident put a strain on Kepa’s and Sarri’s relationship. The event was also made fun of on the internet with several memes being made stating that Kepa was, in fact, Chelsea’s actual manager, and Sarri was not.
Under Lampard too, there have been instances where Arrizabalaga has not shown the right attitude both on and off the pitch. If this continues, he might be forced out of the club. There have been reports that Chelsea are in the market looking for a goalkeeper, with Jan Oblak being the potential replacement. It seems highly unlikely that the Slovenian will leave Diego Simeone’s side. Chelsea might have to break the transfer record again for his signature, which appears doubtful after they splashed millions to sign Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and Timo Werner from RB Leipzig.