Frank Lampard has defended his goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga from ‘unfair’ criticism just several days after he decided to drop him from his starting line-up. The Spaniard was taken out of the team and was replaced by Wille Cabalero for Chelsea’s away game at West Bromwich Albion. The change in goal did not help Chelsea as the Blues were trailing 3-0 at half-time. Chelsea then recovered in the second half as they managed to salvage a point: 3-3.
With Edouard Mendy’s signing last week and Kepa’s horrific performance against Liverpool (2-0 loss) it wasn’t a big surprise that Kepa was replaced by Willy on Saturday. With the signing of Mendy it has now been suggested that Kepa, who is still the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, could have played his final game for Chelsea already.
However, Lampard defends the Spaniard. “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.”
Individual errors helped West Brom to a 3-0 lead and Lampard suggests that his team, which has seven new signings, needs time to ‘gel’. “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.”