How Kepa Arrizabalaga fared on Chelsea debut

Kepa Arrizabalaga kept a clean sheet in his first start for Chelsea against Huddersfield.

The Spaniard signed for the Stamford Bridge club from Athletic Bilbao for a whopping £71million after the Blues parted company with Thibaut Courtois.

The huge transfer fee is a club-record, meaning there is a lot of pressure on the young man’s shoulders, who only put pen to paper on Thursday before being thrown in the deep end this weekend.

We kept an eye on him throughout his Chelsea debut away at the John Smith’s Stadium, and things started in less than ideal fashion as the keeper scuffed his first kick out from the back to the delight of the home fans, who immediately got on his back.

For the first quarter of an hour the Spaniard didn’t have a great deal to do, but did invite more unnecessary pressure onto his team when playing a ball straight to Aaron Mooy.

Arrizabalaga was called into action for the first time on the 19 minute mark, when a long-range effort came his way. But the keeper dealt with it easily, catching the ball with a bounce.

On the half hour mark a dangerous ball was played into the Chelsea area, which fortunately for the Blues came to nothing.

Another keeper may have contested the cross with the incoming strikers, but Arrizabalaga opted to remain in his goal as the ball flashed past the box.

Five minutes before the end of the first half and again the keeper stayed rooted to the spot as a Steve Mounie header clattered the Chelsea post.

To be fair to the Spaniard, it came at him so quickly there was very little he could do, but the Blues were once again lucky not to concede.

At the break, Chelsea went in 2-0 up with Arrizabalaga’s sheet still nice and clean.

In the second half Arrizabalaga’s distribution didn’t get much better as he continually managed to find opposition players with his clearances.

He did become more relaxed however, and appeared visibly calmer when on the ball.

On the 72nd minute the shot-stopper was tested once more with a header from a set-piece, but rose to the challenge and tipped the ball over the bar.

One positive from his performance was the way he barked orders at his defence.

He might not know many of their names yet, and might seem quite young and unimposing between the sticks, but he wasn’t afraid to make himself heard.

In all it was a solid start for the keeper in what was a kind first match for the player – one that didn’t pose Chelsea any real problems.

Will Kepa Arrizabalaga prove to be worth £71m at Chelsea?

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