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Comment: Kepa’s Spurs Call-Up Gives Him Much Needed Boost After Clean Sheet

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga got some much needed minutes in his side's 3-0 win over Tottenham on Sunday afternoon, giving him an added boost of confidence.

The Blues travelled to north London on Sunday afternoon for their third London derby of 2021/22, having successfully beaten Crystal Palace and Arsenal 3-0 and 2-0 respectively in the Premier League this season.

Goals came from Thiago Silva, N'Golo Kante and Antonio Rudiger as Chelsea climbed to the top of the table.

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One of the talking points before the game wasn't to do with the outfield players however.

Instead, many fans were surprised to see Spaniard Kepa Arrizabalaga in the starting 11 instead of regular man between-the-sticks Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel confirmed before the game that mendy had picked up a knock in Chelsea's weekday clash with Zenit St. Petersburg in the Champions league.

"It was an incident from the last minutes in the game against Zenit," said Tuchel.

"Edou got a huge hit and we tried everything in the last days but he never felt fully comfortable in diving and getting another hit on it.

"Yesterday in training we decided if a miracle doesn't happen overnight then we let Kepa play."

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In his absence, Kepa stepped in on short notice, and despite looking a little nervous to begin with, held his own keeping a clean sheet against Nuno Espirito Santo's Tottenham.

Since becoming the world's most expensive goalkeeper when he signed for Chelsea in August 2018 for £71.6 million, he has struggled to find his feet at the club, having made a wealth of mistakes.

Before Tottenham's game on Sunday, fans were reacting to Tuchel's decision very badly, with many claiming that the Blues were 'doomed'.

However, thanks to a sturdy back line of Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen in front of Kepa, Chelsea's defence was impenetrable.

When players did run through, Kepa was able to run out and effectively stop anything from materialising inside the Blues' box.

After Giovanni Lo Celso played Son Heung-Min through in the opening minutes to the game, Kepa ran out instinctively and put an end to what could have been 1-0 in Tottenham's favour.

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Tuchel was full of praise for the 26-year-old after his performance.

"So we decided to go with 100% and that was Kepa and have Edou with us to be supportive and have good energy.

"I'm happy Kepa a crucial role today and kept a clean sheet. This is what he deserves and I am happy that he could."

Kepa's last outing in a Chelsea jersey was against Villarreal in the Super Cup final when he came on to replace Mendy, specifically for the penalty shoot-out.

The squad had reportedly worked on the swap in training, and Kepa apparently had a better success rate at saving penalties.

The switch worked a treat and Chelsea won the final 6-5 on penalties, giving Kepa's confidence a huge boost.

Since Mendy's arrival in September 2020, it has been difficult for the Spaniard to get game time, having been replaced in the starting goalkeeper.

But his performance against Tottenham and in the penalty shoot-out against Villarreal may give Kepa the chance he needs to feature against Aston Villa in the EFL Cup on Wednesday night.

Let's see what Tuchel chooses.


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