Learn Why Thiago Silva yelled at Kepa as £71m Chelsea headache emerges ahead of Manchester United
Chelsea’s unbeaten run continued under Graham Potter against Brentford but the Blues were unable to take all three points from te Gtech Community Stadium
Kepa redemption continues
The defence in front of Kepa Arrizabalaga continues to change but the Spaniard’s performances in the Chelsea goal remain remarkably consistent. That is a sign of the confidence with which he is playing – and that confidence was crucial in helping the Blues keep another clean sheet and claim a point against Brentford.
With Reece James and Wesley Fofana ruled out due to injury, Ben Chilwell not in the squad due to his workload being managed, and Thiago Silva only among the substitutes, Graham Potter selected a somewhat makeshift backline that was made up of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Cesar Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella.
It was a rearguard Brentford were able to find a way through; the Bees tend to create chances no matter the opposition. That is when Chelsea needed Kepa to step up and the 28-year-old did so maturely. In the opening 45 minutes, he made two good stops to deny Ivan Toney and wasn’t afraid to step out of his penalty area when required to sweep up.
After the interval, Kepa denied Bryan Mbuemo from close range and stopped Toney once more. There was also a rather nonchalant piece of chest control to bring down a speculative Mbuemo effort from close to the halfway line. That in itself is another sign of the self-belief Kepa is now playing with.
Still, clean sheets aren’t achieved alone, especially five in succession. Kepa needs those in front of him to defend well and take charge when required. And with Silva, Chelsea have the ideal defensive leader. The Brazilian didn’t feature from the bench yesterday evening but still made his presence known.
It was during one of the Brazilian’s warm-ups on the touchline that he bellowed instructions across the pitch to Kepa, who duly took on board the guidance of his 38-year-old teammate en route to another shutout.
“Kepa [Arrizabalaga] was fantastic,” said a rueful Thomas Frank, the Brentford head coach, after the goalless draw. “Every time Chelsea come here, their goalkeeper is man of the match.”