Kepa is having a bad season, there is no doubt about it.
The Spanish goalie made a good impression last season, arriving on the back of a world record transfer fee, and looking worth every penny, especially when his age was taken into consideration.
Under Maurizio Sarri he wasn’t perfect, and the incident in the Carabao Cup final endeared him to nobody, but he was making good saves and his play with the ball at his feet was exceptional, and unquestionably a step up from what Thibaut Courtois was capable of.
This season has seen a really stunning decline from the Basque stopper. At first a lot of blame was put on the defence in front of him, and there’s no doubting they have’t helped. But regular errors on his part can no longer be defended, and we’re approaching a crisis point where competition may need to be brought in as soon as January to stop things getting very serious indeed.
Some have blamed him for Bournemouth’s goal yesterday, but to us that seems like people picking holes in his form, knowing he’s struggling. Chelsea failed to clear a set piece properly, and the ball was flicked back into the danger area, where Dan Gosling met it with a clever over his head kick. Kepa had rushed out to close the angle, and the ball went over his head into the net.
Yes he was left stranded and looking foolish, but coming out was the right thing to do. Gosling would otherwise have been in acres of space, and in this case it certainly was the fault of the defending outfielders. Not only did they fail to clear the ball in the first place, and fail to push the offside line to play Gosling off, they were slow to react to the ball dropping to him.
Kepa could hardly stand rooted on his goal line, and give the Bournemouth player the time he wanted. All he could do was rush out to cover for his defenders’ mistakes, and he was left totally isolated by the decision.
There are plenty of errors we can blame Kepa for – no need to add this one to the list when it wasn’t really his fault.