Frank Lampard has been urged to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga following the goalkeeper’s latest mistake in Chelsea’s 3-1 win at Brighton.
The Spain international has come under fierce criticism for his performances since moving to Stamford Bridge as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper two years ago, with questions raised as the 25-year-old registered the worst save percentage amongst all regular top-flight goalkeepers last season.
Kepa has now come under criticism once more after allowing Leandro Trossard’s shot from outside of the area to squirm into the bottom corner on Monday night, whilst Chelsea are believed to be close to adding to their goalkeeping ranks with the signing of Edouard Mendy from Rennes.
Despite that potential arrival, however, Lampard insisted he is happy with Kepa and says he saw improvement in the goalkeeper’s confidence during his side’s victory against the Seagulls.
“I am very happy with Kepa,” Lampard told Sky Sports. “With the shot, I’m not sure if he could have done any better but I saw a bit more confidence in how he was playing. Kepa is here, he is our ‘keeper and I am happy with him.
“If we are bringing in competition it will be competition. That’s the nature of Chelsea. That goes through the squad, so we’ll see.”
Sky Sports’ pundit Gary Neville has urged Lampard to reconsider his goalkeeping options, however, insisting Chelsea will be unable to compete for the title amid the presence of an unreliable number one.
The former Manchester United defender says Kepa’s record against shots from distance is a major concern, and pointed to the arrivals of Alisson and Ederson at Premier League rivals as evidence of the transformative impact a solid goalkeeper can have on a side’s ability to challenge.
Should Kepa Arrizabalaga save this? Yes or no?pic.twitter.com/qrAVeInzh6
— Goal (@goal) September 15, 2020
“I don’t think he is [happy with Kepa],” Neville responded. “I wouldn’t be, but, yet I know full well, having been in a coaching position, been in a changing room, you have to back your goalkeeper. You must back your players, you have to support them publicly but privately that goal, it’s a really poor goal to give away.
“He conceded so many goals from outside the box last season, he’s conceded another one tonight and it will cost you. If you don’t have a top goalkeeper, you won’t win that league.
“At this moment in time he makes far too many mistakes. He lets too many goals into the back of his net that should be saved. 19 goals conceded from outside the box – that is a sorry story for a £70m goalkeeper.
“A few years ago, I used to be quite critical of Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet. 50 goals a season, but as soon as Alisson came everything became normal. It was the same at Manchester United in my time when we had that period between Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar. As soon as Van der Sar came, it became normal.
“Same with Manchester City in Pep Guardiola’s first season. Claudio Bravo kept letting goals in from everywhere and the save-to-shots ratio was poor. As soon as Ederson comes in, everything becomes really normal.
“If you don’t have your goalkeeper right you are going to massively struggle to get where you need to get to. You certainly will never win a league.
“You will not win a league with a goalkeeper who is letting goals in from outside his box, doesn’t dominate his area and concedes goals from set-pieces. It isn’t going to happen.
Since becoming the world's most expensive goalkeeper in 2018-19, Kepa Arrizabalaga has conceded more Premier League goals from outside the box (19) than any other goalkeeper. pic.twitter.com/vtzcyqAQ4O
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 14, 2020
“It’s a stark warning. Frank Lampard knows this. He’s played in championship-winning teams, he knows what he needs to do, he doesn’t like the goalkeeper, he wants him out and he’s going to bring a new one in because he knows Frank Lampard will be sacked as a manager if he doesn’t win the league in the next two or three years.
“He’s spent £200m so he’s got to do it. Pep did it, Jurgen Klopp did it and Sir Alex Ferguson did it.
“Every manager of any salt will be harsh. He’s got to be ruthless and do it for himself because that £70m, he wants to look after the club’s money, he wants to try and get it back, but unfortunately, it’s gone.”