There have been calls among certain Chelsea supporters for Kepa Arrizabalaga to return to the Chelsea side due to Edouard Mendy’s patchy form Thomas Tuchel believes Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is “absolutely ready to play” if called upon in the weeks ahead, although the Spaniard may have to remain patient as the Blues head coach has no doubts in his mind about Edouard Mendy’s recent performances.
have struggled defensively during the early weeks of the campaign. Only one clean sheet has been kept in their opening sixfixtures and that was in the season opener against Everton. There have been errors from Mendy along the way, the most notable of which came against Leeds United when he lost the ball inside his own penalty area to Brenden Aaronson.
was also fortunate in Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over West Ham United on Saturday; only a controversial VAR decision which saw Jarrod Bowen penalised for catching the Senegal international with a trailing boot stopped the Blues from conceding a late equaliser to the Irons.
Publicly, has protected Mendy thus far. He stated in his post-match press conference the goalkeeper had largely been unfortunate this season and that was a stance he maintained when asked how he would handle things with the 30-year-old.
“First, we deal with the players and then we tell you how we dealt with it,” Tuchel said. “It’s [goalkeeper] like I say, a very sensitive position in football in general. And not everything is about pure quality and decision making, it’s also about the feel, that you feel the confidence.
“Sometimes it’s also having luck as well. Somebody sent me an interesting quote about Napoleon, who asked his generals that they should not only have the best quality but also that they are lucky generals. This is also what you need from leaders and goalkeepers, and that they have a kind of momentum in which if they make a little mistake it’s not punished.
“He at the moment gets punished a lot for not a lot that he does wrong. But there are no doubts in my mind, the situation is calm, we have two fantastic goalkeepers, two fantastic guys. We are aware of it that he is in that kind of situation but first, we deal inside.”
Kepa’s confidence has largely been rebuilt under Tuchel but this summer Chelsea were ready to let the goalkeeper leave the club if the right offer was received. That didn’t happen and the 27-year-old has again taken up the role as Mendy’s deputy at Stamford Bridge.
“He checked his options [in the summer] which we were aware of,” Tuchel explained. “They were not satisfying for him or for us, so he stayed. I am very happy about that. I was always very clear with him that I wanted him to stay. And from my point of view, he’s absolutely ready to play. It’s on us if we give him the chance or not but he’s 100% ready given how he behaves and how trains.