During extra time in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, Chelsea’s goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, was set to be substituted for Willy Caballero. Kepa had been down injured and Maurizio Sarri decided to take him off as he wanted Caballero to be in goal for the penalty shootout. Kepa refused to come off and we saw an incredible moment, that was highly embarrassing for Chelsea. Sarri was furious that Kepa wouldn’t come off and even attempted to leave the technical area before coming to his senses and returning to the dugout.
Here's the Kepa Arrizabalaga situation for anybody that missed it. Maurizio Sarri has to be backed on this one and Kepa has to be dropped until he learns his lesson. You just can't do that.#CFC https://t.co/FF80kACrky
— PremPlace (@PremPlace) February 24, 2019
In the post-match press conference, Sarri tried to say that it was simply a misunderstanding between him and the player, but that clearly isn’t true. But now, the player and manager have released follow-up statements regarding the incident.
From chelseafc.com, Kepa said:
I was very happy to play in my first Cup Final for Chelsea yesterday and very proud of the team performance. I have thought a lot more about yesterday’s events. Although there was a misunderstanding, on reflection, I made a big mistake with how I handled the situation. I wanted to take the time today to apologise fully and in person to the coach, to Willy, my team-mates and to the club. I have done this and now I want to offer the same apology to the fans. I will learn from this episode and will accept any punishment or discipline the club decides is appropriate.
Maurizio Sarri said:
Kepa and I have spoken about the incident. It was a good conversation. There was a misunderstanding yesterday but he realises he made a big mistake in the way he reacted. He has apologised to me, his team-mates and the club. It is up to the club if they want to discipline him according to the club rules, but for me this matter is now closed. The team performance as a whole was extremely positive and it is a shame to see how this incident has overshadowed our efforts in what was a very competitive Cup Final. Everyone’s focus is now on the next game and we must all now put this behind us.
During the game, Chelsea were quite impressive and carried Sarri’s game-plan out as he would have wanted. They held Manchester City to a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes and extra time, which is quite impressive. But their good performance has been overshadowed by these events. Kepa was clearly in the wrong, and really should be dropped for his behaviour.
Chelsea also announced that the Spaniard has been fined one week’s wages, which will be donated to the Chelsea Foundation.