Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has been the topic for discussion since causing a stir in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City at the Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening.
After a stalemate at Wembley, Chelsea lost the game on penalties as City won the penalty shootout 4-3. The game was tough and intense, but the drama caused by Arrizabalaga is what has been the talking point of the game.
Kepa refused to leave the pitch when Blues boss Maurizio Sarri decided to take off the young goalkeeper for Willy Caballero towards the end of extra time.
Sarri and assistant manager Gianfranco Zola were on the touchline roaring, but Kepa still refused to come, and football laws tend to back a player that’s on the pitch in case such a situation arise.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) laws of the game cover this very scenario under ‘Law 3’. Under the ‘substitution procedure’ section the law states: ‘if a player who is to be replaced refuses to leave, play continues’.
This means there was nothing Sarri could have done about Kepa’s situation, and the Italian was left frustrated on the sideline.
There have been calls for Chelsea to punish Kepa for openly disobeying the manager, but reports claim Chelsea’s board are not looking to punish Kepa for ignoring Maurizio Sarri’s substitution request in the Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City.
According to the Evening Standard, Chelsea are not planning to either fine or punish Kepa for his actions, with a club source saying that the goalkeeper and Sarri want to put the situation behind them.
Despite the public falling out, both player and manager have looked to play down the incident, brushing it off as a misunderstanding.
However, former Chelsea player Chris Sutton, says he would walk away from the job at Stamford Bridge if he was in Maurizio Sarri’s shoes, and that Kepa should be banned by the club.
Sutton, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, said: “Kepa should never play for Chelsea again. That should be his last performance in a Chelsea shirt. He’s a disgrace. I’ve never seen anything like it.
“If I was Sarri I would walk. You cannot be undermined. Why weren’t the players dragging Kepa off anyway?
“Kepa should be sacked, not Sarri.”
Sutton added: “It’s mutiny at Chelsea now. How do we see this situation panning out? Kepa has to go or Sarri has to go and I suspect Sarri will walk.
“He’s been undermined – it’s the worst thing that can happen to a manager.”