Frank Lampard Speaks Candidly on Chelsea Goalkeeper Situation

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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, speaking yesterday at his Champions League prematch news conference, revealed one position in his starting lineup for tonight. Kepa Arrizabalaga, the world’s all-time most expensive goalkeeper (£71 million), but currently down on the depth chart, will get the nod versus FC Krasnodar on Tuesday night.

Lampard also reaffirmed that Edouard Mendy remains his first choice in between the sticks.

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Chelsea FC vs Krasnodar UCL Group Stage FYIs

Kickoff: Tue. Dec 8, 8pm local, Stamford Bridge

Chelsea starting XI Prediction: go to this link

Team news for both sides: go to this link

TV: BT Sport 3, Stream: BT Sport Monthly Pass

Form Guide:  Chelsea WWDWW,  Krasnodar WWLLW

Lamps said to his news conference yesterday: “There’s no pressure [to pick Kepa], and I am not saying it is being spoken about, it is to win games.”

“I do that through selections game-by-game and Mendy, of course, has made himself a permanent fixture at this point.

“The pressure to win games means I pick people in form whether it is a striker, winger or goalkeeper, whoever. At the same time, the game tomorrow is a chance to give Edou a rest and give Kepa a game.

“He is training well and he deserves it.”

With everything wrapped up, and nothing to play for, this is the perfect game for Mendy (acquired this summer for £22m) to rest, and for Kepa to get a start.

While the Spaniard may have broken the club transfer fee record when he signed in 2018, he’s strictly a cup keeper now, and as Lampard just said, there is no pressure for him to play, despite all the investment that the club have made in him.

Mendy is getting it done right now for the Blues and there is zero reason to fix that which is not broken. Getting dropped and staying dropped is nothing new for Kepa at Chelsea. Even before Mendy arrived from Rennes, the former La Liga star often saw himself getting passed on in favor of Willy Caballero for big games.

The manager was asked also about how Kepa was taking the demotion. Lampard said that Kepa has been quietly supporting the No. 1 from afar, and has responded well in training.

“He is also training well which is the main thing that I look at because the training particularly for goalkeepers, because of the one-on-one training nature, there can’t be one that drops their level,” the Blues boss continued.

“They have to all push each other and I see that in the group and I am very pleased with that from Kepa. His reaction has been spot on.”

Eventually, more likely in the summer than in January, Chelsea will probably have to try and find a new destination for Kepa. The situaiton is obviously not optimal for him.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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