Thomas Tuchel hails Kepa Arrizabalaga as ‘big part' of Chelsea's Carabao Cup progress

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Thomas Tuchel hails Kepa Arrizabalaga as ‘big part’ of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup progress
© Getty Images KepaArrizabalaga2610A.jpg

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has hailed Kepa Arrizabalaga after the Spanish international played a starring role in helping his side overcome Southampton in a pulsating Carabao Cup round of 16 tie.

The £72m signing, who has largely lost his starting role since Edouard Mendy signed for the club in 2020, was once again the hero and saved from Theo Walcott in a penalty shoot-out before seemingly putting Will Smallbone off ahead of his spot-kick.

Reece James then scored the winner in a 4-3 victory and Tuesday night’s heroics were the latest installment of what is becoming a theme in Kepa’s Chelsea career.

Indeed, he was the hero in their third-round win over Aston Villa in similar circumstances, as well as their UEFA Super Cup victory in Belfast against Villarreal.

“He produces and is also full of confidence,” said Tuchel.

“He has good experiences with us but we have to do it again and again.

“Just because you won a penalty shoot-out does not mean you do it again. Full credit and it is a special thing in football and he was again very concentrated and calm.

“Kepa was a big part of this.”

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