Premier League

Mendy or Kepa? Tuchel reveals who Chelsea's No.1 is

Speaking after Kepa kept a cleansheet against Newcastle in the Premier League, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel revealed his plans for the goalkeeping position.

11:25pm on Monday 15th February 2021
Robin Bairner

Thomas Tuchel has lifted the lid on his long-term plans for the Chelsea goalkeeping spot, having surprisingly started Kepa Arrizabalaga ahead of Edouard Mendy against Newcastle on Monday.

It was the second time in succession that the former Athletic Club goalkeeper had featured – and it was also his second clean sheet.

That does not mean that he has become the new first pick in Tuchel’s eyes, as he made abundantly clear after the match.

When asked if Kepa would be his No.1 going forward in an interview with Sky Sports, he replied: “No, Edu will stay as our No.1. And this is clear. This was clear before the game and it stays like this.

“I’m happy that Kepa continued with his second cleansheet in a row. It was the moment to let him to feel the rhythm and continue to build up his confidence.

“It was clear before the game that we hoped for the very best performance and for a cleansheet.

“Edu will be in goal from now on because he recovered physically and mentally and today he’s the No.1.”

Kepa had caught the eye against Newcastle as he produced a succession of fine saves in the second half of the match, notably doing well to turn away a dangerous header from Joe Willock that had been heading for the bottom corner of his net.

It meant that Kepa secured a 7.7 FC Rating, which was his highest since a 2-0 win over Liverpool back in March 2020.

Nevertheless, summer signing Mendy is expected to be back in goal on Saturday, when the Blues travel to face Southampton in another Premier League match as they attempt to further secure their place in the top four.

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