The Blues No.1 has not been seen on the pitch in the past month and their former goalkeeper is backing the significant decision made by Frank Lampard.
Kepa Arrizabalaga can kick-start his career again after being dropped for Willy Caballero, considers ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, but he worries that if the Spaniard fails to make a positive feeling soon then he is going to be sold.
Frank Lampard has chosen to utilize a 38-year-old No.1 goalkeeper before this world-record #71 million signing from Athletic Club following a run of terrible form earlier this year.
Caballero has started the past four matches, including appearances against top-four Premier League competitions Leicester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, along with playing in the Champions League round-of-16 match against Bayern Munich.
Schwarzer has been a No.1 and a No.2 in the Premier League, including a stint deputising for legendary goalkeeper Petr Cech in Stamford Bridge. He weighed in on the enormous call that Lampard made by falling Kepa for a protracted period.
“I’m not surprised but I think it was an enormous call,” Schwarzer told Target. “Whenever the manager decides to alter a No.1 because he does not believe the performances have been at the level they ought to be an enormous call itself.
“If a goalkeeper comes in and has a complete disaster then I can know a manager deciding to bring the No.1 back in – but he did not. Caballero has come in and done a project. You wouldn’t say he’s been outstanding but you would not say he’s done badly.
“You know with Caballero what you’re going to get. I believe that the fact he decided he thought he needed to create means he wants to stay with it for a little bit. I believe that Kepa is about his response and how he puts his head down.
“He was conceding too many goals, goals you’d analyse and state on another day he must have saved it. You examine it and if this stuff happens too frequently, you then ask is it a technical issue?
“I am not sure where they’re in in training and how they’ve adapted it. How are they trying to help him? There’s absolutely not any doubt that they’ll be trying to get him up to speed. Among those things for goalkeepers is that we’re pretty set in our ways.
“Kepa will have a way he trains, a way he likes to prepare for matches and in case you’ve got a goalkeeping coach and others trying to change it then that may lead to resistance occasionally.
“It can take some time to really take it on board and accept the necessity to attempt to take another technique and change things a little. That might take the time to do it and if they don’t adopt it then that may have a harmful effect.
“I believe with Kepa, he’s only trying to find his way. With Kepa, he’s not been in a club like Chelsea before and he is under the spotlight even more than at Athletic Club. This is still a learning process for him. He’s still young.
“For Kepa, it might be the best thing that has happened to him that he comes from the limelight he gets back to training and working hard. Then he might get phased back again in a few games’ time.
“There’s an expectation at the club. Chelsea have had a streak of goalkeepers that have been world-class and then when you aren’t seeing the same consistency in target then it stands out very much.
“With Kepa, that is the issue. He’s had to fill some enormous shoes from top-class goalkeepers. He has not played consistently at the level which Chelsea staff, owners and fans are accustomed to.”
Chelsea are now considered to be taking a look at possible replacements for Kepa with Ajax’s Andre Onana interested in getting the club’s new No.1.
Schwarzer does not feel like any choice will have been made with their advantage who has over five years left on his contract that’s worth around #170,000 per week.
“I think that he will return in the group between now and the end of the year and I believe it all depends on how he plays when he gets a chance,” Schwarzer added. “There are concerns but I do not believe that they will have made a decision on his future.
“I think when he comes towards the end of the year which will be his chance to prove whether he has heard, worked hard enough and begin performing better so that the club can make a determination on whether to stay with him or to look to bring somebody else in.”