Football
Gary Neville on subbing on Kepa Arrizabalaga for Edouard Mendy: “They obviously know Kepa’s got an excellent penalty-saving record, but I still don’t understand it. Mendy’s been outstanding and made saves all the way through the game, he’s got the atmosphere, the feeling, he’s warmed up.”
Monday 28 February 2022 13:26, UK
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Jamie Redknapp criticised the “ridiculous” call to bring Kepa Arrizabalaga on for Chelsea’s Carabao Cup final shoot-out defeat – in which he missed the deciding spot kick.
Kepa was brought on in place of first-choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for the shootout – as he was, successfully, for August’s Super Cup penalty shootout win over Villarreal – but skied the decisive penalty of Sunday’s final at Wembley after failing to save any of Liverpool’s 11 attempts, handing the Carabao Cup to Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The Spain international had been Chelsea’s goalkeeper for the rest of the competition, but was dropped for Sunday’s final for regular number one Mendy, who made a number of stunning saves to keep the scores level in normal and extra-time.
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​​​​​​After all the outfield players then scored in the Wembley shootout, Kepa was unable to match the exploits of Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher in scoring from the spot as he blazed over.
“I don’t like it, it is a rubbish idea,” said Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp of the unusual substitution. “I think it is a case of being too clever for your own good. It just complicated it. How could anyone say they wouldn’t have won it if Mendy was in goal? It’s rubbish, it’s nonsense – he didn’t even get near to a penalty.
“Mendy’s one of the world’s best goalkeepers, and then you bring on Kepa instead, ridiculous.”
But the substitution was defended by Jamie Carragher.
“There is method in it,” countered Carragher. “We shouldn’t forget that this was the decision Thomas Tuchel made in the Super Cup when Kepa came on and Chelsea won.”
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Reacting to Kepa’s miss, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said: “We feel bad for him, of course. It was a bit harsh that he was the guy to miss the one and only penalty but there is no blame.
“I take the decisions when I take the decisions and I can’t re-judge them when I know the outcome. We don’t know what would’ve happened if we left Mendy on the pitch. No blame on Kepa. Blame on me as I’m the guy who takes the decisions. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. This is life as a football coach.”
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He told Sky Sports: “We did it before, and Kepa is slightly better in penalty saving. That’s why that was the decision. It’s pretty unusual that all 11 players need to shoot, he took it a bit too quick, sometimes these things can turn around against you. We take the decisions when the decisions need to be made, and not after when everyone can judge. We have reasons to do it, and nobody, I just said in the dressing room, I hope no one loses a night of sleep because it’s not necessary and certainly not Kepa. It’s how a final is, one team has to lose – and we were part of a brilliant football match.”
Sky Sports’ Gary Neville: “I don’t like it [subbing goalkeepers on for shootouts]. It’s not the time to analyse that, it could’ve paid off. They obviously know Kepa’s got an excellent penalty-saving record, but I still don’t understand it.
“Mendy’s been outstanding and made saves all the way through the game, he’s got the atmosphere, the feeling, he’s warmed up.”
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© 2022 Sky UK

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