The abrupt postponement to the global sporting calender will have likely caused many fans across the world to be filled with a gap in their lives as if something is missing, however Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga may be a little more infuriated with the fact it has happened at this moment in time.
Of course, the Spanish goalkeeper has not had his best season in between the sticks and has even had to be dropped by Frank Lampard due to some rather disappointing performances (The Sun).
Indeed, the 25-year-old’s form has been rather patchy over the campaign as he has conceded 43 times in his 33 appearances across all competitions for the Blues so far, keeping a rather poor eight clean sheets (TransferMarkt).
At the beginning of February, Spanish media outlet El Mundo tried to offer an explanation as to why one of their national team ‘keepers was performing so badly and struggling. They revealed it had to do with Arrizabalaga and his girlfriend going through a difficult period together.
Could that have made sense? Perhaps, as the £36million-rated shot-stopper’s figures were a lot better during his debut campaign which may suggest the huge £71.6m price-tag he arrived in west London with did not weigh down on his shoulders.
Barring the fact he effectively hammered the final nail into Maurizio Sarri’s coffin with his antics against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final, the 25-year-old managed to produce 23 clean sheets in his 54 appearances, conceding 51 times (per TransferMarkt).
He made a number of telling contributions last season as he helped Chelsea to a Champions League spot and a Europa League title. One brilliant stop against Watford – something he did in the current campaign as well when denying Ben Foster with a goal with the last piece of action; a good reactionary save against Fulham in the dying moments and breathtaking efforts against Vidi in the group stages of the European tournament whilst saving penalties in a shoot-out against Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final.
However, after being dropped and replaced by Willy Caballero for a handful of games, it seems Arrizabalaga is raring to go and has returned to the goalkeeper many would expect to see for a world-record fee for a ‘keeper.
He may have only been in between the sticks for two matches before the pandemic struck, but he pulled off a magnificent triple save against Liverpool in the FA Cup before keeping a second consecutive clean sheet against Everton just days later in the Premier League.
Indeed, the spotlight on a ‘keeper can be extremely intense as it is easy to point fingers at that one individual as the man to blame for conceding, however it appears he has bounced back from Lampard’s decision and is starting to show that he can be the shot-stopper needed at Stamford Bridge.
Thus, the current postponement will surely have been infuriating and untimely for Arrizabalga as he would have been looking to build on two solid outings.