Frank Lampard has launched a passionate defence of Kepa Arrizabalaga after the Chelsea goalkeeper came in for further criticism following Saturday’s added-time defeat away to Newcastle United.
The world’s most expensive goalkeeper, who moved to Stamford Bridge from Athletic Bilbao in August 2018 for £72million, got a hand to Isaac Hayden’s 94th-minute header but could not keep it out as Chelsea again failed to keep consecutive clean sheets.
Kepa has been criticised on a number of occasions throughout the campaign for a side that has kept five shut outs while conceding 30 goals in 23 Premier League games.
Although the head coach has said that Kepa himself will have expected to perform better at certain moments this season, he also said that the 25-year-old has earned his team points in other games – most notably denying Watford’s Ben Foster in the final second of the 2-1 win at Vicarage Road.
“I will always defend all the players but goalkeepers hold their hands up as well,” Lampard said. “At times he has made good saves, at times he might feel he should do better.”
Asked if he had spoken to Kepa about his form after an eighth defeat of the campaign at St James’ Park, Lampard added: “I didn’t have a direct conversation with him.
“I am sensitive to the fact that they are understand the microscope.
“It is the same for any player. I try to push him, like everyone. He is a good goalkeeper. There have been times that he has saved us points.”