What Kepa Did Was Unforgivable And Has No Place Either At Chelsea Or World Football

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 24: Maurizio Sarri, Manager of Chelsea reacts during the Carabao Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 24, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

What transpired late in Chelsea’s League Cup clash against Manchester City last night was something which we haven’t seen in football before. A player completing disregarding a manager’s authority and being selfish while putting his best interests ahead of his team’s. It is clear that Kepa Arrizabalaga made a selfish decision to stay on the pitch and not accept being subbed out for Willy Caballero.

The Chelsea keeper went down with an injury in the dying embers of their encounter versus the Citizens, and so, Sarri wanted to replace him to make room for a fresh Caballero who would have been an ideal candidate to try and help the Londoners win the penalty shout. However, Kepa’s complete disregard of his manager’s authority was later labelled as a ‘misunderstanding’ by Sarri in one of his post-match interviews. According to BBC Sport, he said, “I misunderstood the problem and only realised the situation when the doctor arrived at the bench,”

“He understood I asked for a change for his physical problem. He said, ‘I haven’t a physical problem’ – and he was right.”

It remains to be seen whether the West London outfit takes any severe action against their first-choice goalie in the coming days. However, Sarri seems to be the one living on borrowed time at Stamford Bridge as the results on the pitch keep going against him. To his credit, the former Napoli boss managed to get a much-improved performance from his players as they narrowly missed out on winning the League Cup on penalties last night. 

The Chelsea chiefs will now have a big decision in their hands as they can either back the manager or choose to take the easy way out and fire him to save face. Either way, it seems like there is still a lot of rebuilding to do at Chelsea over the next few months as the club now faces a fierce battle to secure a top 4 spot in the Premier League. The Pensioners have also progressed into the UEFA Europa League Round of 16, so they should not lose hope in their quest to win some silverware this season.

Another major area of concern would be Chelsea’s impending transfer ban for the next two transfer windows which was announced by FIFA a few days ago. If the Pensioners fail with their appeal, then the ban will take place. As a result, the West London giants will have no other option than to keep all of their current players happy as the club authorities just cannot afford to be in their bad books especially without having the ability to make any incoming transfers. 

Unfortunately, all signs point towards the manager being the scapegoat here as Kepa is still the most expensive keeper in world football so Chelsea cannot afford to lose a player of his high value without bringing in any ready-made replacements. When all is done and the dust settles, last night will probably to go down as a major disgrace in the history of the famous London club. The fact remains that the Spanish shot-stopper made a massive mistake by disobeying his manager’s directions and someone like that has no place in the world of football.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.