KEPA GET-RID-OF-BALAGA: NEW BOY MENDY CHELSEA'S ANSWER BETWEEN THE POSTS
Clean sheets aren’t a thing for Chelsea lately. Conceding goals has simply become the new norm for them. And fans aren’t happy about this. Goalkeeping has been one of the big issues for the Blues, with Kepa Arrizabalaga performing way below his record-breaking price tag. But things look set to turn around with the arrival of Senegalese stopper Edouard Mendy.
Coming in late for Frank Lampard’s squad during the transfer window, the former Rennes keeper didn’t fail to impress in his early Blues career. Within three games, he managed to keep two clean sheets. Though it is relatively early to say he is the man for Chelsea, this is something to really look forward to. After all, this was something Kepa didn’t manage to do last season, so let the hype go on. But the good question is this: What makes Mendy so good in these early stages?
He is aggressive, literally. All that one wants from a keeper is for them to have the will to fight for the ball and Mendy has this in an abundance. Those clean sheets surely came from a keeper who does not give up easily. This kind of attitude will surely be of an asset not just for Mendy but for the club.
Mendy can surely fly. With a reasonable height for a keeper, coming in just short of 6”5, he takes advantage of everything. Compared to Kepa, he can surely catch the ball in the air with ease.
He has good catching skills and fast reactions. His performance against Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League group stage speaks for these aspects of his game, stopping two clear goal-scoring opportunities that kept the scoreline clean. His skills on these aspects so far are way ahead of Kepa’s, who has struggled catching and reacting to the ball quickly.
Mendy’s skill set will surely give confidence to the Blues in improving their defensive performance. With this big addition, they will be looking to put their past behind following a woeful season that saw them conceding the most goals among the top 10 teams in the Premier League.
This surely puts Kepa’s Chelsea future in jeopardy. His awful performance last season says it all, and things obviously have to change if Chelsea are truly serious to become title challengers. Lampard didn’t fail to heed to the faithful’s voice in signing a new man between the posts. The Chelsea manager surely is satisfied with what Mendy has shown in the early going of the season.
“At the moment yes; he's shown his quality. The way he's played, he's played very well, that's two clean sheets for him already,” said Lampard during his post-match press conference; before adding that at the moment he is Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper.
Mendy will surely bring confidence in manning the goal back since the Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois era. Being a young prospect and with many years ahead of him at Stamford Bridge, the Senegalese will be looking to keep their goal clean for a long time.