Petulant and disrespectful: Kepa Arrizabalaga the unfortunate highlight of an otherwise valiant performance from Chelsea who lost out to Manchester City on penalties.
We’ve got to say that Chelsea were about as good as we’ve seen them in recent times. The defensive unit looked solid, in stark contrast to their previous meeting with City, and the midfield were industrious in their efforts to subdue Guardiola’s core.
Kun Aguero had the chance to open the scoring after 25-minutes, meeting a well-placed ball from midfield maestro Bernardo Silva, but fired his shot way over the bar.
Chelsea rarely let City play, however; Antonio Rudiger was an absolute rock in the centre of defence and even David Luiz contained the opposition well.
Not until the 54th minute did Manchester City find the back of the net. Following a deft touch in the box and quick finish Argentine Aguero thought he’d given his side the lead only to find it had been ruled offside.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s only danger man going forward, came close to providing his side with the opener in the 66th minute.
Beating Vincent Kompany for pace to find some space behind, he lay up the ball perfectly for the onrushing N’Golo Kante whose momentum caused him to balloon the opportunity way over the bar.
Manchester City were lucky to escape.
Chelsea were served their own slice of luck as Rudiger slipped, Sane pounced and very nearly provided Aguero with the winner if it wasn’t for the well-placed Kepa.
This one just about the final positive contribution the world’s most expensive keeper would give.
A reoccurring injury should have spelt the end of the Spaniard’s final, and by all means looked to be, with former Manchester City stopped Willy Caballero preparing to replace him. But he refused to leave the pitch. Point blank, in front of thousands, Kepa disobeyed his manager’s orders thrusting both their futures at the club into question.
The obvious disregard for Sarri is bad enough. It’s genuinely unprecedented. However, it’s made considerably worse when you consider Caballero may well have helped lead Chelsea to glory.
The Argentine knows all about Manchester City having already won a penalty shootout for them at Wembley. A genuine advantage, and a chance gone missing.
Kepa was most certainly the villain.