'Seems a lot more assured': Even Aston Villa fans praised Chelsea star's display last night
A number of Aston Villa supporters had the grace to hail Kepa Arrizabalaga on social media for his efforts in goal for Chelsea last night.
EFL Cup supremacy was on the line, with Stamford Bridge the stage of honour.
Both Premier League outfits owed their goals to the craniums of their centre-forwards.
Timo Werner scored his first for Chelsea since the 5 May, only to be outranked by the teenage bonce of Cameron Archer.
With the tie all square after 90 minutes, the penalty nerves began to kick in.
Kepa keeping them out
Villa’s woes were almost instant as Ashley Young’s attempt crashed back off the bar.
Kepa then came in with a mighty save to deny Marvelous Nakamba, which ultimately made up for Ben Chilwell’s miss.
The Spaniard is a master of the shoot-out, having proved it on a number of occasions for the Blues.
He played a psychological game with the Villa takers, standing in front of the spot before their kick.
Clearly it worked on Nakamba, who couldn’t overcome the trap laid by Chelsea’s keeper.
But rather than being poor losers, some Villa fans credited Kepa for influencing the result, despite dipping his toes in the dark arts.
Here’s how they reacted on Twitter:
Kepa is superb for a penalty shootout— AVFC – The Religion 🦁 (@AVFCTheReligion) September 23, 2021
Definitely it’s an amazing spectacle. Seeing Kepa steal margins by messing with the ball, pushing the metaphorical envelope, trying to get into the heads of players, AY fighting for different end at the start, all factors in this that most folk look beyond. Next time, eh? #UTV— Rich Lord (@thisisrichlord) September 22, 2021
Good save from Kepa. You played well. #UTV— chris mcq (@Crsmcq) September 23, 2021
It’s endearing to see Kepa feeling the love from both sides of the Watford Gap.
Once the butt of jokes, a laughing stock in every social media chat room, the 26-year-old is well on the way to redemption.
Keeping a clean sheet against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend while standing in for Edouard Mendy must have done wonders for his confidence.
Add to that last night’s penalty adventures and the past seven days have been extremely kind to Kepa.