Soccer / league cup
Kepa Clears the Air – Was He Right or Wrong for His Action?
Image source It was an exciting EFL cup final yesterday, a game that started pretty well for both teams, a tactical battle by both managers, but ended in a somewhat perceived conflict between the Chelsea goalkeeper and the manager. A lot of talking points were flying from all directions after the mix-up at the later stages of the game. The blues were on the losing end as Mancity beat them on penalties to win their first silverware this season. Before I delve into the subject matter, let’s quickly take a look at what happened in the game… Brief Post-Match Analyses It was a fantastic atmosphere at Wembley, the stadium was filled with fans with the whole place buzzing with excitements. The Blues went into the game as the underdogs considering their recent poor performances and results and also the 6 nil thumping by Mancity in the premier league. While Man City were full of confidence going into this game, their season has been great so far and they were favorites to lift the cup. The First Half The game began in an interesting fashion as we saw few tactical changes made by Sarri, similar tactics he used to beat Pep’s side in their first encounter this season. We saw him use Hazard as the false 9, with both Willian and Pedro as the two wide men. Man City setup in their preferred lineup for the game. It was a tactical game by both teams, as Chelsea went for a more conservative approach for the most part of the game, before stepping the tempo up in the later part of the game. Mancity had more of the ball as expected, and tried to find their way through, but was forced mostly wide by Chelsea's tactical organization and discipline. The first half ended with City having most of the ball without any real goal scoring opportunity from both teams. The Second Half Sarri’s tactics worked in the first half, as he wanted to nullify City’s threats for the most part of the game, before surprising them with some clever play. The second half began in a livelier manner for Chelsea, as they began to pass through City’s press more easily and were able to display some clever play to hurt City which resulted in them having the better chances to win the game in the second half but couldn’t kill the game off due to some very poor individual decision making especially from Pedro and also a debatable offside call. The second half ended the same way as the second half and had to go to extra time to find a winner. Extra Time The 30 minutes of the extra time was the same story as we saw in normal time, but the blues can boast of having the better chances to have won the game if they were more clinical enough. Both teams tried to find the winner, but it was destined to be settled through penalty shootout before the main talking point of the game occurred… Kepa had gone to the ground twice in the later stages of the game, the second one triggered the manager to call for a goalkeeper substitution, which saw the Chelsea goalkeeper refuse to come off the pitch, insisting he was Ok to carry on. This action got the manager furious like an angry lion ready to devour. It was an incident raised a lot of talking points which got everyone with their own interpretation. Kepa Clears the Air Earlier today, I saw the comment made by Kepa about his action in the later part of the EFL cup final yesterday. According to Kepa in his media comments, he was just trying to let the manager know that he was fine to continue and it was just a misunderstanding. He said he felt that the manager thought he had a problem and wanted to sub him off, but he was only letting the manager know that he was fine to keep going and he wasn’t trying to be disobedient to the manager in any way. Prior to Kepa comments, Sarri had already said something similar in his post-match press conference that is was just a mere misunderstanding between the two and that he thought the keeper has problems and wanted to take him off to avoid going into penalties with physical problems. Was He Right or Wrong for His Action? For me, I think I am on the fence on this one. On one side, he knew he wasn’t injured and was able to continue, and saw no reason for the manager to take him off, maybe due to his passion to want to help the team win or he wanted to be the hero, capping off his wonderful job for 120 minutes to help the team win, which is pretty much the desire for any top player. On the other side, he disrespected the manager’s decision and should have gotten off the pitch regardless of whether he was OK to continue or not. As a player, he is meant to first obey the decisions of the manager first and then speak to the manager later if his decision wasn’t favorable to him. Also, Caballero is a fantastic penalty stopper and the change might have given Chelsea a better psychological advantage cos he knows the Mancity players very well and City also know that he is fantastic at saving penalties which might have been a huge factor in the shootout. Well, it is all cleared now, even though no one knows if it was a tactical decision by Sarri to bring in Caballero cos of his record at stopping penalties or he thought Kepa had problems and wanted to replace him, the bottom line is that both parties have cleared the air and have said their own side of the situation and they are valid. And that is a wrap… Do you think Kepa was right or wrong for his action? I would love to read your own opinions… Enjoy your day.