Kepa Arrizabalaga's girlfriend asks club's 'real supporters' to back him after Carabao Cup final
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga's girlfriend has called on Blues fans to get behind the player after his miss in the Carabao Cup final penalty shootout against Liverpool on Sunday
Kepa, 27, has more often than not stepped up in shootouts, winning six of eight in his career before Sunday. That includes two in the Carabao Cup (Aston Villa and Southampton) earlier this season, and another in the UEFA Cup final against Villarreal. However, that wasn't the case against Liverpool. Kepa's blazed effort was the only miss in an epic shootout where 21 other players from both teams scored.
Bringing Kepa on with a minute to spare in extra time in place of the reliable Edouard Mendy, manager Thomas Tuchel has also copped up criticism. However, the decision made sense, as Mendy has a 40% career success rate in shootouts (2/5), compared to Kepa's 75% (6/8). Incidentally, one of Kepa's penalty shootout defeats came against Liverpool - 2019 Super Cup.
Nevertheless, Kepa's girlfriend, former Miss Universe Andrea Martinez, is calling on Chelsea fans to get behind the £70 million man following his latest setback at Stamford Bridge. She wrote on Instagram after she was at the game at the Wembley Stadium on Sunday night:
"One of the things I've learnt when I was a basketball player was that a team is always a team. There are no heroes, there are no villains.”
"In my personal opinion, this is a very unfair situation, and I'm not just talking about today."
Kepa had a topsy turvy stint at Chelsea since joining from Athletic Bilbao in 2017 in a deal that made him the world's most expensive goalkeeper.
Interestingly, in his previous appearance in the Carabao Cup final in 2019, Kepa refused to get substituted by former Blues boss Maurizio Sarri. The Blues went on to lose in a shootout to Manchester City.
A year later, the signing of Edouard Mendy saw Kepa replaced by the Senegalese goalkeeper as the Blues' new number one.
"@kepaarrizabalaga, we are so proud of you, as a goalkeeper and even more as a person."
"Humble, brilliant, kind, generous, intelligent, hard worker, talented and the most beautiful soul I've ever met. This is just the small line of a huge book. Let's go my boy, let's go guys. Love you."
Kepa to start for Chelsea on Wednesday in the FA Cup?
Having been the west London club's goalkeeper of choice for Cup games, except for finals, Kepa could have a chance to redeem himself immediately. Chelsea head to Kenilworth Road to face Luton Town in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday, where they'll look to return to winning ways.
Mendy's sensational performance on Sunday before his substitution drew much acclaim. However, he could be rested, as Tuchel's team are still competing on three fronts - Premier League, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup.