Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has revealed his players will continue to stand by Kepa Arrizabalaga, despite another costly error. The Spaniard made a swift return to the starting line up this afternoon against Southampton, as the Blues threw away the lead on two separate occasions in the chaotic 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues appeared to be cruising in the first half as Timo Werner opened his Premier League account with a brace.
Danny Ings restored hope for the visitors before Che Adams capitalised on a horrendous lapse in concentration from Kurt Zouma and Kepa at the back to equalise.
Kai Havertz looked to have won it before Jannik Vestergaard levelled things up in stoppage time from Theo Walcott’s shot across the face of goal.
It was another familiar outcome for Lampard, whose side have struggled at the back all season despite spending £220million this summer.
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Lampard refused to throw his goalkeeper under the bus after the game, despite another forgettable afternoon in between the sticks.
“He has to be strong enough, that is what it is like in elite sport and goalkeepers have to deal with that,” Lampard said.
“He will have the support of myself and his teammates. It’s a shame, because he made some good saves.”
Kepa lost his place in the side to Willy Caballero earlier in the season before the arrival of Edouard Mendy from Rennes.
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The £22m man then took his place for the Carabao Cup defeat at Tottenham before keeping Crystal Palace at bay before the international break.
However, Mendy picked up a thigh injury while away with Senegal and is now set for a spell on the sidelines.
The world’s most expensive goalkeeper was therefore brought back in by Lampard for today’s clash but Southampton’s second goal proved he remains short of confidence.
Zouma sold Kepa short but the former Athletic Bilbao man slid to the side of the ball, allowing Adams to bare down on an open goal.
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He tripped before attempting to square the ball to strike partner Ings before the ball was blocked.
Adams then gobbled up the chance at the second time of asking to equalise 10 minutes after the interval.
Thiago Silva was sorely missed at the heart of the Blues’ defence.
Like Mendy, the Brazilian was declared unfit for the contest and there was a real lack of leadership at the back for Lampard, who was able to call upon Chilwell following his withdrawal from the England squad.
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