Timo Werner has credited Kepa Arrizabalaga’s undeniable penalty shoot-out prowess for once again claiming victory for Chelsea.
Kepa’s gloves were the centre of attention last night after the Blues knocked Aston Villa out of the EFL Cup on penalties.
Werner’s header was cancelled out by the forehead of young Villa forward Cameron Archer.
Under the competition’s new format, the game went straight to spot kicks after the final whistle.
All eyes turned towards the Matthew Harding stand, as the two goalkeepers took their positions.
With Chelsea 2-1 ahead after Ashley Young hit the bar, Marvelous Nakamba stepped up for the away side.
Yet, he was denied brilliantly by the palms of Kepa.
Thomas Tuchel’s team went on to win the battle from 12 yards 4-3, with Reece James dispatching the final spot kick.
Kepa on call
Understandably, the Spaniard cloaked in green earned the plaudits from his colleagues in blue.
“Kepa is unbelievable in penalty shoot-outs,” said Werner.
“This season already he has saved us two opportunities to win titles.
“He’s a great guy and a great goalkeeper.”
The other penalty heroics in question arrived earlier this campaign.
Before domestic football blasted into life, Chelsea contested the UEFA Super Cup final with Villarreal.
As in the match against Villa, the tie finished 1-1 and was therefore decided by football’s version of Russian roulette.
Tuchel demonstrated his managerial nous by bringing on Kepa in place of Edouard Mendy just for the spot-kicks.
The 26-year-old kept out two Villarreal attempts, enabling Chelsea to get their hands on another piece of silverware.
He also made a pair of penalty stops in the Europa League semi-final triumph over Eintracht Frankfurt a few seasons ago.
All Blues fans know how that competition panned out.
His reputation across 90 minutes might be under debate, but Kepa’s class when the ball is placed on that small white dot can’t be denied.