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By Ryan Moran

Sub-edited by Marcus Otty

Kepa Arrizabalaga will start in Chelsea’s dead rubber against Krasnodar for his first start in 52 days, since conceding three goals against Southampton.

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The Spanish goalkeeper has been on the periphery since the arrival of Eduoard Mendy from Rennes, who has kept nine clean sheets in 13 appearances. Kepa has conceded six goals in three games including a costly mistake to allow Che Adams to score Southampton’s second in the 3-3 draw back in October, his last appearance until now.

“I mentioned it when I spoke about him a while ago that these periods will happen in player’s career and sometimes, they make you stronger and better at the other end and I have no qualms with putting him back in,” said Frank Lampard.

Chelsea have kept eight clean sheets in 11 games since Kepa’s last game, winning eight and drawing three. In this time Chelsea have risen to third in the Premier League and confirmed their progression to the knockout stages of the Champions League, a point Lampard made in his press conference. 

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“The pressure is to win games, and I have to do the right thing game by game.

“At the same time with the game tomorrow, it’s an opportunity to give Edu a rest and give Kepa a game. As I say he’s training well, and he deserves it,” said Lampard.

Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi miss out with hamstring injuries, the latter’s was picked up in training. Billy Gilmour will also start, his first since returning from a lengthy knee injury last season.

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July 2024