Former Chelsea goalkeeper Rob Green believes Thomas Tuchel’s style of football has helped Kepa Arrizabalaga rediscover his best form in between the posts.
The Spanish international had a good first season at Stamford Bridge when Maurizio Sarri was manager but he struggled badly under Frank Lampard, and it led to the Blues signing a replacement in Edouard Mendy. However, Green feels Kepa is now back at the top of his game:
“Under Sarri, he came into a Chelsea side that was focused on controlling the game, controlling the ball, getting Jorginho to play 600 passes or whatever. That was the focus of the game. Like it or lump it, love it or hate it, that’s what Sarri’s game was about.”
“With that, you have an element of control within the goalkeeping world that certain things are going to happen within a game. Frank’s game took it away from that. It was a lot more exciting… If you’re playing in games like that week in, week out while trying to also implement your own game, it’s very difficult as a goalkeeper. It was also something he’d probably never come across before.”
“Now he has come back into the Chelsea side under Tuchel, who moved to a back three because it gives control, who has Jorginho back in the centre, and all of a sudden he is looking back to his old self.”
The statistics show that Green is right to praise Kepa’s performances this season. The 27-year-old has saved 84.6% of the shots he has faced in the Premier League, while his +1.5 post-shot xG – conceded rating means he is saving more goals than the average goalkeeper.
While he may not keep his place when Mendy returns from the African Cup of Nations later this month, he will want to continue his excellent form if he starts for Chelsea against Plymouth this weekend.