Kepa Arrizabalaga ‘will be ready’ to take over the number 1 jersey when Edouard Mendy takes off for AFCON
Kepa Arrizabalaga insists that he “ will be ready ” to take over the number 1 jersey when Edouard Mendy leaves for AFCON next year after the heroic shootings of the Spaniard in the Carabao Cup
- Kepa Arrizabalaga starred in Chelsea’s penalty shootout victory over Southampton
- The Spanish has had to settle for cup matches as stopper number 2
- Edouard Mendy is number one, but he is ready to go to the African Cup of Nations next year
- Arrizabalaga is ready to intervene and claim the number 1 jersey again
Kepa Arrizabalaga has insisted that he “will be ready” for Chelsea in January, when Edouard Mendy is likely to be absent from the African Cup of Nations after more heroics in shootings on Tuesday.
The Spaniard received the slightest of touches to save Theo Walcott’s penalty, while Will Smallbone went ahead of Southampton to give the Blues a 4-3 victory on the penalty spot in the round of 16 tie of the Carabao Cup.
It was a similar story in the previous round against Aston Villa and it means that Thomas Tuchel’s team is in the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time since losing the 2019 final to Manchester City.
Kepa Arrizabalaga helped Chelsea beat Southampton in the Carabao Cup
The plug is fighting hard to earn his comeback spot from No. 1 Edouard Mendy
Kepa made only his fourth appearance of the season in the win over Southampton, but it was the third time he helped the club to triumph on penalties this season and could be called up more regularly in January when Mendy is established as first choice. be absent for up to four weeks with Senegal in AFCON.
But the £ 72 million goalkeeper insisted: ‘Well, two months to go. Of course we know it can happen and I’ll be ready, but we have a lot of games until we start thinking about it.
‘Let’s go step by step and see what happens. If he goes to the African Cup, all the best and I will be prepared. But there is still a long way to go to get to that point. ‘
Chances remain few and far between for the Spanish international, but he recovered well after a bit of oversight in the Southampton draw, where he only partially saved Kyle Walker-Peters’ effort with his legs and Che Adams was available for. score the goal.
Mendy has been great for the Blues, but he’s likely to go to the African Cup of Nations.
That goal nullified Kai Havertz’s opening game in the 44th minute, which put Chelsea on track for another routine win, having beaten Norwich 7-0 on Saturday, but the visitors responded and Kepa denied Adam Armstrong, Smallbone , Lyanco and Mohammed Salisu after the break to send the tie to the pitches from the point of view.
“I have always said that I try to help the team in the best way, but I feel very good on penalties,” admitted Kepa, who also inspired the success in the penalty shoot-out against Villarreal in the UEFA Super Cup final. in August.
‘I’m sure. It’s a bit of luck, a bit of work, a bit of everything but I feel very good.
‘Of course I want to play more regularly. My last game was also a cup game, about a month ago, so sometimes it is not easy to step in and feel the same as if you played every week.
The Spaniard is likely to get his next match time in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals
But I try to be ready, train hard, get involved in the team. Also, I feel the confidence of the coach, this is really important. I have felt their support from the beginning and I think that when I enter I am ready to help the team. I’m happy to do that. ‘
Kepa’s next opportunity is likely to be in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals in December before potentially more minutes in January, which the Spanish ace hopes will include a two-match quarter-final clash in a competition that Chelsea has not won since 2015.
“December and January here are very busy, many games, but we have a high-quality squad to play every game with a strong team,” he said.
‘We are ready to reach a final. Let’s go step by step, but of course that’s on our mind. ‘