Kepa Arrizabalaga: ‘Mutiny at Chelsea’ after bizarre substitution that never was
Have you ever seen anything like it?
A player refusing to go off – and his manager losing the plot.
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga resisted Maurizio Sarri’s attempt to substitute him late in extra-time of the Carabao Cup final, which left his manager seething on the touchline.
Arrizabalaga had just been treated for cramp and, with the game at 0-0, Sarri was preparing to bring on reserve keeper Willy Caballero in his place ahead of a penalty shoot-out.
But after some furious finger-wagging and screams of “NO!”, Sarri was forced to give in.
Referee Jonathan Moss ran over to confirm whether Arrizabalaga was going off or not and Sarri, begrudgingly backed down before storming off down the tunnel before returning, leaving Caballero a bemused spectator.
Arrizabalaga went on to save Leroy Sane’s spot kick – bringing out a fist pump from Sarri – but Raheem Sterling netted the winning penalty as Manchester City were crowned Carabao Cup champions for a second year running with a 4-3 shootout win.
Sarri didn’t react at full-time and went straight off the pitch while his players looked dejected in defeat.
‘It’s mutiny at Chelsea’ – analysis
Former Stamford Bridge striker Chris Sutton described the scenes as “mutiny at Chelsea” and vowed Arrizabalaga “should never play for the club again”.
The incident comes after weeks of speculation surrounding Sarri’s position as manager of the club and concerns over his style of so-called “sarri-ball”.
“That should be his last performance in a Chelsea shirt,” Sutton told BBC Radio 5 live. “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. He’s been undermined – it’s the worst thing that can happen to a manager.”
Former England and Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas said it’s clear “there’s a lack of respect” for the manager, but said Sarri showed “a lack of class” by storming off the pitch following defeat.
“His players have done him proud today,” Jenas told Radio 5 live. “They are an inferior team to Man City now and they took them all the way. For him not to be congratulating the opposition or consoling his players shows a lack of class for me.
“The fact he went inside and was not out there with his players is one thing, but it has to be infuriating for one of your players to categorically tell you to ‘do one’ and say I’m staying on this pitch.
“This is a huge blemish. It all boils down to what is going on between Sarri and his players. That does not happen – there’s a lack of respect somewhere along the line.”