Blame the defence, not just Kepa, says Nevin

Pat Nevin says goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has unfairly borne the brunt of the criticism for Chelsea’s defensive frailties last season.

The Blues struggled to find a steady central defensive pairing and conceded 54 league goals in their 38 matches, while Kepa was dropped several times by boss Frank Lampard in favour of Willy Caballero.

Kepa still made 45 appearances in all competitions, but was once again dropped after the 5-3 defeat against Liverpool in July and then left out for the FA Cup final.

Experienced centre-half Thiago Silva has joined and Chelsea have been linked with several goalkeepers in the close season, with a deal for Senegal international Edouard Mendy edging closer.

But former Blues winger Nevin told West London Sport: “My view of it is slightly different to a lot of Chelsea fans.

“I think Kepa has done OK. He has made a couple of mistakes and Chelsea have let in a lot of goals, but that is much more to do with the defence than the keeper.

“A lot of people have blamed the goalkeeper but I think that is a bit harsh.

“Also comparing him to the two keepers before him in Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois is harsh because they are the best in the business.

“He has made mistakes, and you can’t pretend otherwise, but everyone has got on his back.

“I think the bigger deal is what has been in front of him. Clarify and sort that and he could be there for 10 years.”