2021 UEFA Super Cup Final: Kepa Arrizabalaga became the Match Hero as he was brought on from bench and save two penalty in the shoot-out as Chelsea won the 2021 UEFA Super Cup.
Thomas Tuchel has been known for his bold decision as he proved again on Wednesday night as Chelsea won their second UEFA Super Cup by substituting first choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for Kepa Arrizabalaga in the last minutes of the extra time mainly for the penalty shoot-out in which the Spain international saved two from seven penalties faced.
Kepa once denied Willy Caballero a similar chance in the 2019 where he refused to be substituted ahead of a penalty shoot-out in the League Cup Final against Manchester City in which they lost.
“We’ve won it all,” chanted the Chelsea fans and the Blues now only has the Club World Cup to win in December for the Russian billionaire to complete the set of UEFA trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League and 2021 UEFA Super Cup Final respectively.
Chelsea have lost in their three previous attempts to win the UEFA Super Cup in the Roman Abramovic era with two of those in penalty shoot-outs against Bayern Munich in 2013 and Liverpool in 2019 but last night blue was the colour as the tickertape showered the Belfast sky.
TUCHEL DECISION TO BRING IN KEPA AHEAD OF SHOOT-OUT IN THE 2021 UEFA SUPER CUP FINAL
Tuchel explained the decision to switch his goalkeepers was planned.
“No this was not spontaneous,” he said. “We talked about it with the goalkeepers when we came in the first cup game with I think was Barnsley [in the FA Cup in February].
“So we had some statistics and we were well-prepared that Kepa has the best percentage in saving penalties. The analysis guys, the goalkeeper coaches, showed me and introduced me to the data and then we spoke to the players that this could happen when we play in knock-out games, and since then they’ve known. It’s fantastic that Edouard accepts it… Of course we needed to do what was best for the good of the team so if we needed a sixth change before it was necessary, but I’m happy that it worked.”
Chelsea’s only concern now was an injury to Hakim Ziyech who landed awkwardly on his right shoulder. At a point, the concern grew slightly and was offered an oxygen.
But eventually, he managed to walk off the pitch with his and watched the second-half with his arm in a sling.
Chelsea fans also hailed the 22-year-old Trevoh Chalobah for his brilliant display throughout the 120- minutes of play. He make a strong first competitive start in defence even if he is again to be loaned.