Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has expressed his support for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, following his error in the Blues’ 3-1 FA Cup fourth round victory over Luton Town, according to Football.London.
A Tammy Abraham brace gave the Pensioners a commanding two-nil lead. However, the side’s concession in the 30th minute put the Premier League outfit under considerable pressure.
The Hatters’ mounting pressure was only alleviated in the 74th minute, when Abraham completed his hat-trick to restore Chelsea’s two-goal deficit, which ultimately sent the west Londoners into the fifth round.
‘General team moment of complacency’
The Spanish ‘keeper, whose vision was arguably obstructed, failed to keep out Jordan Clark’s tame effort on the half-volley. Despite getting a glove to the strike, he allowed the ball to squirm past him and into the net.
Speaking regarding Arrizabalaga’s error, Lampard suggested that the goalkeeper wasn’t the only one culpable for the goal.
“I’m as annoyed with the fact we let someone stand in our box with that space and get a shot away,” he said.
“It was a general team moment of complacency given how comfortable we were at 2-0, which isn’t good enough.”
‘On the flip side’
Despite the blunder, the Spaniard produced heroics to redeem himself. He instinctively palmed away Harry Cornick’s close-ranged effort to keep the side in front in the 59th minute.
And the Blues boss referred to the stop in his assessment of the 26-year-old’s display.
“On the flip side of that, Kepa makes a really top save in the second half to make sure it doesn’t go to 2-2. It’s very easy for people to focus on that but Kepa hasn’t been playing regularly.
“Today he’s come in – he’s been training excellently and is a good goalkeeper – and we can give him that one.”
The Chronicle View
Whenever first choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is rested, it provides Kepa Arrizabalaga with the opportunity to prove his doubters wrong.
Yet, instead of relishing the chance with both hands, he seems to be making the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
A player with his pedigree and price tag should be capable of keeping out Clark’s effort on goal. One might argue that his decisive stop in the second half made amends.
However, one big save shouldn’t take away from the fact that the error could have cost the side. And against a respectively better opponent, it may well have.