Former West Ham and Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Shaka Hislop has been impressed by what he has seen from new Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga so far this season.
The young Spaniard joined the Blues during the summer transfer window as a replacement for Thibaut Courtois, who linked up with Real Madrid. Many fans and pundits were initially critical of the Blues’ decision to go for Kepa as he previously had no experience playing in the Premier League and furthermore is not familiar with the English culture.
Many fans of the club would have rather preferred for them to swoop for the likes of Jack Butland and Kasper Schmeichel, both of whom were linked with moves to Stamford Bridge during the summer transfer window.
So far, Chelsea have defied expectations. Many pundits and even fans expected that they would struggle to finish in the top four this season following the departure of Courtois, who is regarded as one of the best keepers in world football. Their lack of firepower up front was another concern. Alvaro Morata currently remains the club’s first-choice striker even though he failed to find the back of the net on a regular basis last season.
The Blues have been in great form, however, and have enjoyed a great start to life under Maurizio Sarri. They have won all four of their league games so far and are behind Liverpool in the standings only on goal difference. Kepa has performed solidly and proved that he may not become another Claudio Bravo. Bravo arrived at Manchester City during the summer of 2016 from Barcelona with a big reputation but failed to establish himself at the club. He currently serves as Pep Guardiola’s number 2 behind Ederson.
Hislop told ESPN, as reported by The Daily Star: “What I’ve seen of Kepa in a Chelsea shirt, as with Athletic Bilbao, an incredible shot-stopper. I can’t think of many, well I can only think of four more, better than him in the league.
“I think that’s an outstanding acquisition by Chelsea. Watch that space, he may move up.”