Chelsea reportedly think Kepa Arrizabalaga’s struggles could be down to goalkeeping coach Hilario. The Spain international has struggled ever since moving from Athletic Bilbao in the summer transfer window of 2018. And he’s set to miss the Blues’ visit to Manchester United on Saturday night.
Chelsea signed Kepa as Thibaut Courtois’ replacement two years ago, installed with the belief the Spain international could be a Stamford Bridge hit.
However, the shot-stopper has struggled for form throughout his two years in the capital.
Kepa has continued to toil throughout this season, conceding three last weekend in a 3-3 draw with Southampton that set Frank Lampard’s side back.
It’s not gone unnoticed that Chelsea have named Petr Cech in their Premier League squad for the campaign, though the Czech international isn’t expected to play.
And Goal say that, within Chelsea, there’s question marks over whether Hilario could be contributing to the 26-year-old’s struggles.
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Hilario is the one goalkeeper to register a worse save percentage ratio than the Spaniard did last term in 10 or more Premier League games since 2003-04.
And what they do with their goalkeeping coach remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, new Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has claimed Kepa is helping him to settle into life in the Premier League.
Mendy arrived from Rennes during the summer transfer window and the No 1 jersey is currently his to lose.
“Before my first match, absolutely he wished me good luck,” said Mendy.
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“He never holds back if he thinks he sees things that I might have missed, just as Willy Caballero does as well. And we know, as goalkeepers, that we have to stay unified and united.
“I have a very good relationship with Kepa and the group of goalkeepers we have. We’re all very open and all understand that the team is the most important thing here and doing what’s right for the group.”
Former Chelsea star Tony Cascarino believes Kepa is currently the club’s third-choice goalkeeper.
The former Blues striker told talkSPORT: “He’s gone from number one to number two goalkeeper, and after [the Southampton] performance he’s probably number three now.
“He won’t even make the bench now as [Willy] Caballero will be number two.
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“I’m a bit surprised [Lampard] chose to play Kepa; he doesn’t fancy Kepa and it’s obvious.
“Caballero has done very little wrong, but because they’ve paid such a high fee for a player they need to justify playing him to give him an opportunity to perform.”
Chelsea have struggled when playing against Manchester United in recent times.
They lost three times to the Red Devils last term – twice in the Premier League and once in the Carabao Cup.
However, they did win the FA Cup showdown between the two sides in July – making the final in the process where they were later beaten by Arsenal.
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