Joe Cole ‘surprised’ Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel dropped Edouard Mendy in goal for Kepa in Zenit loss
Joe Cole ‘surprised’ Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel dropped Edouard Mendy for Kepa against Zenit after recent mistakes – but Blues icon and Peter Crouch both admit the Spaniard played well in the Champions League draw
- Edouard Mendy made several mistakes when Chelsea lost 3-2 to West Ham
- And Blues boss Thomas Tuchel dropped Mendy for their Champions League tie
- Backup Kepa Arrizabalaga came in for the usually reliable Senegalese ‘keeper’
- Joe Cole and Peter Crouch expressed surprise at the German’s decision
- Chelsea was linked back to 3-3 at Zenit St. Petersburg in injury time
- But Kepa’s £71.6m signing played well and made several crucial saves
Joe Cole has admitted his surprise that Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel put Edouard Mendy on the bench for their Champions League game against Zenit St Petersburg.
Chelsea scored an equalizing goal in Russia in stoppage time, Zenit saved a 3-3 draw via Tuesday’s Magomet Ozdoyev goal, meaning the visitors fell from first to second in Group H of the Champions League, potentially putting them at risk. resulted in a more difficult last-16 draw.
Mendy made several errors in the Blues’ 3-2 defeat to West Ham in the Premier League but was solid overall with Cole expressing his shock that reserve Kepa was preferred, although he praised the Spaniard’s post-match performance .
Joe Cole has expressed surprise at goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (left) being dropped by manager Thomas Tuchel (right) before Chelsea’s Champions League game against Zenit St Petersburg
The German made the decision after Mendy made several mistakes in a 3-2 loss to West Ham
Before the game he said: ‘I am surprised. It is the first time that Mendy makes mistakes this weekend. If you have a bad game, you’ll want to have the next game to get it out of your system.
“But Mendy will miss games when he is at the African Cup of Nations, so Kepa needs playing time too. It’s an interesting one, he had to balance it.
“There is no doubt that Kepa is a top goalkeeper, there is talent there. He’s been fantastic when he comes in since he’s been second choice.’
But Cole and Peter Crouch praised Mendy’s backup Kepa after the game for his performance
The German saw understudy Kepa play well, while Chelsea allowed a late equalizer to draw 3-3
And fellow pundit Peter Crouch added: “Tuchel took a gamble with his team selection. He clearly puts more emphasis on the game against Leeds over the weekend with that team.”
Despite fellow commentator Glenn Hoddle saying that Kepa may have been “disappointed” at not achieving Magomed Ozdoyev’s late equalizer, the Spaniard made several key saves in the game and after the game Cole and Crouch praised his performance.
Cole added: “Kepa was excellent in goal. Chelsea were unlucky not to win,” Crouch continued: “I thought Zenit had a lot of opportunities and Kepa kept them in sometimes.”