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Graham Potter lauds Kepa Arrizabalaga after Chelsea comeback

Chelsea manager Graham Potter has heaped praise on Kepa Arrizabalaga after the goalkeeper earned his way back into the starting XI.

Arrizabalaga was brought to Stamford Bridge back in the latter stages of the 2018 summer transfer window, following the shock departure of Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid. Arriving for a fee of around £71 million, the Athletic Bilbao academy graduate remains the most expensive goalkeeper of all time.

However, he has struggled to live up to the transfer fee. A string of mistakes, along with an infamous on-pitch feud with then-manager Maurizio Sarri in the 2019 Carabao Cup final, led to him eventually being dropped and replaced by Senegalese stopper Edouard Mendy.

Since Mendy’s signing in 2020, the Spain international has found his playing time to be severely limited. Consequently, he has often been linked with moves away from the Blues.

But he appears to have undergone a revival in recent weeks. He has started each of Chelsea’s last seven games in all competitions, keeping four clean sheets while conceding just three goals.

On Sunday, he played a starring role as Graham Potter’s men took three points from their away fixture against Aston Villa. He made a fine triple-save to deny John McGinn, Jacob Ramsey, and Danny Ings, and was later at his very best to keep out Ings’ close-range header.

And Potter has applauded for the 28-year-old for his performances. Speaking in a press conference ahead of Chelsea’s fixture with Brentford, the manager said: “I must admit I’ve been really impressed with his character and his personality.

“He’s very professional, he understands the game really well, and takes responsibility. It’s nice when those types of people get the rewards for their hard work and effort.”

Chelsea travel to Brentford on Wednesday evening, with the opportunity to close the gap on leaders Arsenal down to five points. Over the weekend, they host Manchester United, before a Champions League clash with Red Bull Salzburg in mid-week.

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