Top Premier League Goalkeepers in 2018/19: Kepa Arrizabalaga


On reflection Kepa Arrizabalaga has had a very successful debut season with Chelsea. The Spaniard moved from Athletic Bilbao for a huge fee €80m which made him the most expensive goalkeeper of all time at age just 24.

But Kepa has repaid the faith shown in Chelsea. He starred in a season that saw the Blues win the Europa League- their first European silverware since 2013. He helped the club finish in 3rd place and gain automatic Champions League qualification, though the Europa League win achieved that anyway. Chelsea lost just 2 games at home and they also reached the Carabao Cup final matching Manchester City throughout 120 minutes of football the game ended 0-0 but they lost on penalties.

Kepa is an excellent shot stopper with a potentially fantastic career ahead of him but at the same time if we talk about the Carabao Cup final we have to mention his low point this season. In the final Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri called for the Kepa to be substituted- he want fresh hands in the form of Willy Caballero for the penalty shoot out. But Kepa refused to come off. In the end he was dropped for the next game in favour of Caballero and fined a week’s wages.

But there are many positives to take from Kepa’s first season. He started the season off by keeping a clean sheet as Chelsea beat Huddersfield 3-0 and earned 7 points in the process. Overall he kept a clean sheet 14 times. His best period was the New Year, where he kept 2 clean sheets in a row, earning 14 points in a row. If there is to be a few criticisms of him it’s that he did not remain consistent throughout the season. This is shown in his final points tally of 62. Alisson ranked the number 1 goalkeeper in European Fantasy League earned more than double that.

The biggest low point for Kepa was when Chelsea were crushed 6-0 by eventual champions Manchester City. Kepa finished that weekend losing 10 points.

But there is a lot of hope for a goalkeeper who is still learning at the very highest level and one that on his debut season still finished ranked 3rd in the Premier League. His value this season in the fantasy league was just 6m and that is sure to rise for the beginning of next season where he will of course remain a Chelsea player after signing a 7 year contract with the Blues.

Kepa has his wish next season to be in the Champions League and it will also be interesting to see if he can break his points tally for this season. He has also ousted Manchester United’s David de Gea from the Spanish squad as first choice goalkeeper, so the future looks great for the 24 year old.

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Kepa redeems himself as Chelsea seal crucial second victory on the bounce

A week after the substitution fiasco at Wembley in which he refused to come off the pitch before Chelsea’s penalty shoot-out defeat by Manchester City, Kepa Arrizabalaga was back in the starting XI for Sunday’s clash with Fulham. The spotlight was therefore on the world’s most expensive goalkeeper throughout the west London derby, so Maurizio Sarri will have been relieved to see the Spaniard deliver one of his best performances since joining Chelsea from Athletic Club last summer.

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Kepa returns to Chelsea’s starting line up


Kepa Arrizabalaga returned to the Chelsea starting line up today. He was dropped for Chelsea’s 2-0 derby win against Tottenham Hotspur, following the League Cup shenanigans surrounding his substitution- or lack of it. However, he was reinstated for the club’s second London derby in two games, as they won 2-1 against Fulham.

There was a shaky start from the stopper, as in the 18th minute he spilled a ball into the box which should have been taken easily. He got away with his error though, as Ryan Babel (who’d been the ball’s target) turned his back on Kepa. This allowed the Spaniard to retrieve the ball before any further embarrassment could be caused.

10 minutes after that incident, with the score now at 1-0 after Gonzalo Higuain’s opening goal, Kepa made a terrific save. Aleksandar Mitrovic had fired a powerful header towards the top corner, but Kepa was equal to it and tipped it over the bar. However, he won’t have been happy with what followed. Ryan Sessegnon played the ensuing corner short to Babel who sent the ball towards the back post. Calum Chambers was found completely unmarked and scored with a first time finish that the goalkeeper had no chance of stopping.

Jorginho put the men in blue ahead in the 31st minute, giving Chelsea the lead going into half time. Kepa didn’t have that much to do for the majority of the second half, as Chelsea kept Fulham’s attacking talents at bay for large periods of time. The goalkeeper looked comfortable on the ball, as he usually does, passing the ball out from the back in the way Maurizio Sarri desires. He also saved efforts from Tom Cairney and Joe Bryan convincingly.

It wasn’t until the 88th minute when he was truly challenged again. Fulham substitute Floyd Ayite had made a darting run behind the Chelsea defence. The Togo international hooked the ball towards Mitrovic who powered a header towards the goal. The Serbian had plenty of space to aim for, but while it was a good effort, he placed his shot just within Kepa’s range. The Spaniard palmed the ball away from goal well, getting it to safety.

Chelsea were given another defensive scare in the 94th minute. Sessegnon had latched onto the ball in the box after Luciano Vietto had nudged it towards goal. The young Englishman finished well, sending the ball into the net with a first touch finish. However, Chelsea’s three points were saved by the linesman, as he raised his flag flagged for offside.

There were no more real chances in the game and Kepa marked his return to the starting line up with a win, even if he hadn’t quite managed a clean sheet. He may have got back into the team, but it is likely he’ll immediately be back out of it again- though this time not for disciplinary reasons. Chelsea host Dynamo Kyiv in the Europa League on Thursday, meaning Willy Caballero is likely to temporarily return to the Chelsea goal, before Kepa retakes his place between the sticks for Chelsea’s next league match, at home against Wolves.


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Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea and the thankless job

Maurizio Sarri

Who’d be a manager, eh? More specifically, who would be the Chelsea manager?

When Maurizio Sarri was courted by Roman Abramovich and the Chelsea board last summer I’m sure some details were glossed over when trying to entice the Napoli coach to Stamford Bridge. The toxicity existing within The Blues dressing room being the main thing.

Is there a Premier League club with a more concerning ‘player power’ culture?

In recent years, this Chelsea squad has downed tools to oust whoever they were unhappy with.

EPL Weekend Picks – Round 5

Alexandre Lacazette

Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Sergio Aguero, Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso are among the high-scorers for EPL Fantasy managers so far this season, but there are plenty of other players across the league who could be worthy of inclusion in your team this weekend.

GK – Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s big-money summer signing has picked up 12 points so far this season – Liverpool’s Alisson is the only goalkeeper with more – and he will surely add to that tally in the upcoming matches against low-scoring Cardiff and West Ham.

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EPL Game of the Weekend – Chelsea 3-2 Arsenal


The most exciting match from the second week of the 2018-19 Premier League season saw Chelsea defeat Arsenal 3-2 at Stamford Bridge, with Maurizio Sarri’s side surrendering a two-goal lead before striking late on through Marcos Alonso to pick up their second win in as many games.

Both teams put away chances in the first half, with Pedro and Alvaro Morata scoring for the hosts before quickfire goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi for the Gunners to level things up just before half-time, but it was the 2016-17 champions who earned the early-season bragging rights in this London derby.

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EPL Weekend Picks – Round 2


With the first round of Premier League action in the bag and the second fast approaching, let’s travel a little into the future and see which players could find themselves starring once again for their respective sides this weekend. For this one, we have gone for a 4-3-3 formation, as adopted by Liverpool in their 4-0 hammering (sorry) of West Ham last weekend.

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Kepa Arrizabalaga the perfect fit for Real Madrid


With the January transfer window only weeks away, reports in the Spanish press report Real Madrid are poised to sign Spain international goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga from La Liga rivals Athletic Bilbao. It is a deal which will impact directly on several players but crucially from the point of view of the European champions, will bolster their squad with a signing which fits their current transfer policy.

In recent years, Madrid have shown themselves to be a club who want their transfers to be cost-effective and straightforward. Kepa’s contract at San Mames expires in June 2018 but officials at Los Blancos are willing to sanction the triggering of the 23-year-old’s £17 million release clause in January to seal the deal and reduce the possibility of a contract renewal.


This would fit the new model at the Bernabeu of activating modest release clauses of promising young talent and would represent a further dismissal of the ‘Galactico’ era of signings. Dani Ceballos (from Real Betis) and Theo Hernandez (Atletico Madrid) arrived this summer for a combined fee of less than £40 million due to their respective release clauses. Jesus Vallejo and Marcos Llorente rejoined following stints away, while the previous summer only the returning Alvaro Morata – buyback clause – and Marco Asensio – a loan return – came in.

This sweeping up of La Liga’s perceived brightest young talent, before farming them out to non-title challenging sides looks set to continue. Dani Carvajal, Borja Mayoral, Casemiro and Lucas Vazquez are examples of those who have either progressed through the youth system at the club before temporary stints elsewhere in the top flight.

However, Kepa’s arrival is very much for the here and now. He is expected to compete with Costa Rican Keylor Navas, who’s season has been disrupted by injuries and for whom there are long-standing doubts over his suitability to be the club’s number one goalkeeper. Kiko Casilla – signed from Espanyol in 2015 – would be certain to leave the Spanish champions, for whom the long-term ambitions of signing Manchester United’s David De Gea appear to be officially over.

Kepa is the United goalkeeper’s understudy at international level and has produced an array of fine performances for Athletic, for whom he has started only 38 first-team matches. His rise to prominence has been sharp and his performances for Spain’s Under-21 side over recent years have earmarked him as a potential long-term number one at international level too.

As is becoming increasingly clear Madrid now value potential, affordability and the ability to adapt to life at the club – whilst not being burdened automatically with first-team football – are the main requirements of new signings, with the future of the club looking as bright as it’s illustrious past.

La meta con Kepa


El Real Madrid está siguiendo de cerca al portero del Athletic de Bilbao: Kepa Arrizabalaga. El cancerbero tiene juventud y experiencia. Con 22 años se ha hecho con la titularidad de la portería de los leones, desterrando al mítico Iraioz, además de formar parte de los habituales onces con las categorías inferiores de la Selección. Su participación más reciente fue en la final de la Eurocopa sub-21, donde ganó la medalla de plata. Entre sus características destacan los reflejos, el control con los pies y la seguridad en el juego aéreo, algo que ya ha demostrado en diversas ocasiones. Continue reading