The world’s most expensive keeper clearly disrespected his boss’s instructions.
Chelsea’s under-fire manager produced an almost perfect tactical performance, only to be undermined by the messy actions of his goalkeeper. Maurizio Sarri’s tactical masterclass was undermined by the shameful actions of Chelsea’s record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga, who refused to leave the pitch in the closing minutes of extra time in order to be substituted. Willy Caballero was left waiting on the touchline by an act of rebellion from the £71 million goalkeeper, who didn’t allow the penalty specialist on the field despite suffering from an injury to his hamstring. With the scores level at 0-0, Sarri was left furious and had to be held back by Antonio Rudiger after the match, such was his anger. Here’s what Maurizio Sarri did after Kepa saved penalty in shoot-out.
In stunning scenes near the end of injury time, Kepa refused to be subbed off – despite appearing to be injured. Manager Sarri was livid, briefly storming down the tunnel as Willy Caballero stood on the sidelines in disbelief. Minutes later the match with Manchester City went to penalties – and Kepa pulled off a save. The £71m man kept out Leroy Sane’s spot-kick, and Sarri was delighted. The Italian let our a huge roar of delight and was seen doing double fist pump before turning away from the cameras. Kepa couldn’t keep out any other penalties, as City won 4-3 to retain the Carabao Cup after a goalless 90 minutes and extra-time.
Kepa extraordinarily refused to be taken off, waving off his manager in a clear act of defiance. And Sarri ended up backing down, leaving Caballero sitting at the touchline and adding more fuel to the notion that the manager has lost his authority over his players. Incredibly, Kepa appeared to wink at the camera as the game ended 0-0 after 120 minutes and went into a shootout. Kepa conceded in the shootout on a fairly saveable shot from Sergio Aguero, before he managed to save from Leroy Sane. But City would go on to lift the trophy via a 4-3 shootout win, and there was plenty of reaction throughout the entire on-field saga. The mild-mannered Basque goalkeeper is known by his previous coaches for his professionalism, but there is unlikely to be any ramifications for him after a shambles was played out on the pitch.
The fact that Chelsea didn’t win the trophy is secondary, it’s Kepa’s attitude that angered many Chelsea fans and critics. If he was fully fit then he should have a word with Sarri and then ask should I still be subbed. Kepa should be obeying whatever Sarri is saying. Also if the player was refusing to move then it’s the captain’s job to tell the player to leave the pitch.