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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