Nowhere to hide for Kepa as Lampard lays out Chelsea defensive stats

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has returned from injury ahead of schedule to pile the pressure on Kepa Arrizabalaga.

It is a major boost for Frank Lampard ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League opener against Sevilla, after the Chelsea manager made it clear where his side’s defensive problems lie.

He left Spain goalkeeper Kepa with nowhere to hide when addressing Chelsea’s record of 63 goals conceded in his 43 games in charge, replying to answers about the world’s most expensive keeper’s form with: “I am aware of the stats.”

He added: “The other stat is that since I’ve been here, we’ve conceded the second-least shots in the Premier League, I think behind Manchester City. It helps sometimes to narrow down some of the issues.

“The issues are that we don’t concede many shots on our goal, but when we do, we concede goals.”

That is a damning indictment of Kepa and places him firmly in the spotlight as Mendy prepares to displace him as Chelsea No1.

“It is something we are all aware of when we look at recruitment,” added Lampard. “More importantly, you are aware when you work on the pitch. We don’t concede many chances, but the chances we concede, we let in too much. It is something we work on specifically.”

Mendy has recovered from a thigh injury picked up while away on international duty with Senegal, and Lampard is weighing up whether to throw him straight back in tonight.

But even if he decides not to rush his £22million signing’s return, he believes Mendy will finally resolve Chelsea’s defensive woes.

It was fitting that Lampard chose to draw comparisons with City when assessing Chelsea’s issues at the back.

(AFP via Getty Images)

He has taken the Pep Guardiola approach to solving the problem by splashing out on Mendy to replace underfire £71.6m signing Kepa.

City’s boss did the same when finally losing patience with Claudio Bravo’s shot-stopping stats after the Chile international’s error-strewn debut campaign at the Etihad, securing Ederson and, with him, domestic dominance.

Mendy’s injury earned Kepa a short reprieve, but the 26-year-old was guilty of another error in Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Southampton.

Cesar Azpilicueta tried to offer his countryman some words of encouragement.

“In football, we have difficult times,” he said. “In my position as captain, obviously I know him from a long time ago. I always try to help him.

“Sometimes you feel like everything goes against you. You have to have the character to face it. I have no doubt Kepa will work hard to reverse the situation.

“The whole squad are fighting for targets as a collective. When you are a goalkeeper, it’s a completely different situation, but he will keep working hard, giving his best.”

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