Chelsea have left Thomas Tuchel in no doubt of their determination to make a success of Kepa Arrizabalaga, so the German’s decision to bring in from the cold the world’s most expensive goalkeeper could be construed as an attempt to please his bosses.
Yet, handing Kepa a first Premier League start since October 17 for a routine 2-0 win was entirely in keeping with the way Tuchel is quietly transforming the squad since succeeding Frank Lampard.
The keeper is the latest of Lampard’s outcasts to be given a second chance, with the Spaniard lining up in front of a back five including Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso — a scarcely imaginable scenario under the old regime.
Kepa rewarded Tuchel’s faith with an effective, if not entirely convincing, display — his best moment coming with an acrobatic save to deny Joe Willock in the second half. Chelsea had long since wrapped up a fourth straight League win under Tuchel through first-half substitute Olivier Giroud and Timo Wener, who ended a 14-match wait for a top-flight goal stretching back to November and lasting exactly 1,000 minutes. Continue reading
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