Kepa Arrizabalaga has been hailed a ‘mind-reader’ by Chelsea’s assistant manager Arno Michels after he saved a penalty against Plymouth in the Blues’ FA Cup win at the weekend.
Thomas Tuchel’s men were leading in extra-time 2-1 but conceded a penalty in the closing stages after Malang Sarr fouled Ryan Hardie. The Plymouth forward took the resultant spot-kick but he was denied by Kepa.
The Spaniard guessed the right way and ultimately spared the European champions’ blushes as they saw off the League One outfit and booked their ticket to the FA Cup fifth round, where they now face an away trip to Luton Town.
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Following the contest, Tuchel’s right-hand man Michels couldn’t hold back his delight for Kepa, going as far as to brand him a ‘mind-reader’ following his exploits from 12 yards.
“It’s not only about the penalty save but it’s also about the performance, it was a very good performance,” he said. “In the last matches, I’ve felt him very reliable in his game.
“His strength is to save penalties, he’s shown it a few times now: in the Carabao Cup twice, against Villarreal, and even in training, it’s hard to beat him.
“In penalty shoot-outs, he has the ability to read the mind of what the player is going to do.
“We are very happy with Kepa and he deserves this trust because he is a fantastic guy.
“To work with him for one year, it is hard for him because Edou (Mendy) is playing very good, but Kepa is constantly doing very good work in training, reliable work.
“He is friendly and an amazing guy. So I am very happy for him he could save us from a penalty shoot-out.”