Kepa Arrizabalaga cleaned up his muddied reputation at Chelsea to become one of the match-winners in a 2-0 victory away at Aston Villa.
Graham Potter’s side put in their worst performance since he joined the club in a match where Kepa made more saves (seven) than in any other game since joining for a world-record £71.6million from Athletic Club in 2018.
On paper, it looks like Mason Mount was the star man, scoring twice, first after latching on to a Tyrone Mings mistake early in the first half. Then he scored a stunning free-kick in the 65th minute, wrong-footing goalkeeper Emi Martinez to make it 2-0.
However, Villa spent 47.5 per cent of the first half camped in Chelsea’s box and peppered Kepa’s goal, with the visitors struggling after Raheem Sterling was played at right wing-back in the absence of the injured Reece James.
The England international couldn’t cope with Villa and, equally, the Blues struggled on the left after Ben Chilwell and Marc Cucurella were paired together for the first time.
Chelsea’s back three were often isolated in one-on-one duels against Villa’s front three – Leon Bailey, Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins all having chances to score.
There was a triple save in the 21st minute from Jacob Ramsey, Ings and Douglas Luiz that drew a particularly strong reaction from the away support near Kepa’s goal.
Kepa continued working on his technique behind the scenes, noting that his ability to claim crosses and save shots from range needed work.
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Chelsea’s Keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga with a Triplets of Saves !! 🚫
— Mwas Mchelsea (@MwasMchelsea_) October 16, 2022