KEY POINTS

  • Frank Lampard has defended under-fire goalkeeper Kepa
  • Kepa last played for Chelsea in their 2-0 loss to Liverpool
  • Chelsea recently signed Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has come in defense of his under-fire goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, saying the criticism diverted at the Spaniard is “unfair.”

Kepa was recently dropped from Chelsea’s matchday squad and his place was given to Willy Caballero, who stood between the sticks for The Blues during the League Cup match against Barnsley and Premier League match against West Brom. Even during the final few matches of the 2019-20 season, Lampard had replaced Kepa with Caballero.

The former Premier League champions signed Kepa from Athletic Bilbao for $91 million, which is still a world-record fee for a goalkeeper. The 25-year-old shot-stopper made many errors in the last year or so, the latest one coming against Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. It was Liverpool’s second match of the 2020-21 Premier League season and courtesy of a sloppy performance from Kepa, The Reds sealed the game 2-0.

Soon after the loss to Liverpool, Chelsea announced the signing of Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for a five-year deal, who is expected to compete with Kepa for the starting spot.

While many speculate Kepa would have played his final match for Chelsea, Lampard has made it clear that he does not want to give up on the Spaniard as yet.

Speaking in an interview with Chelsea TV ahead of their League Cup match, Lampard said, "I think it's been a difficult time for Kepa - I know it and he knows it. But we should certainly not jump to that conclusion. Also - and I felt quite strongly about this - we should understand that Kepa is a young man. A lot of the spotlight on him I think has become slightly unfair. I have to protect him because I know he's a good lad, playing with absolute professionalism and trying to do the best he can."

Kepa Arrizabalaga Kepa Arrizabalaga joined Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao for £72m. In this picture, Arrizabalaga warms up before the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Spain and Morocco at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad, June 25, 2018. Photo: OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

Chelsea’s next fixture is their League Cup face off against Tottenham Hotspur Tuesday.