Shay Given claims Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga ‘didn’t fancy it’ during Manchester City defeat
Shay Given pointed the finger of blame at Kepa Arrizabalaga after Chelsea suffered a narrow defeat to Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. Defending champions Man City struggled in the first half but burst into life after the introduction of Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez from the bench.
Mahrez had the simple task of tapping home Grealish’s cross at the back post on 63 minutes but former Premier League goalkeeper Given was baffled by Arrizabalaga’s role in the goal. It looked as though Arrizabalaga would cut out Grealish’s pass but the £72m star seemed to let the ball travel to the far post where Mahrez was waiting instead of attempting a save.
‘I don’t want to take anything away from the assist from Jack [Grealish] or the finish from [Riyad] Mahrez but Kepa’s just got to block it out,’ Given said on Premier League Productions. ‘People are saying he should get a touch on it, I think he can catch that. I think if he dives square of the ball he makes an easy save.
‘Maybe he thinks [Erling] Haaland is coming in to his eye-line but for me he can just dive on top of that ball. He must have thought someone was coming in. ‘He’s just got to dive on that. He’s in a good position but he doesn’t fancy it, looking at that he doesn’t fancy it.
‘I think maybe he’s thinking about making a mistake. He can catch it but maybe he’s thinking if I palm it out Haaland will have a tap in. ‘Or it’s a lack of concentration. I don’t know if he just lost concentration for a second.’
England forward Grealish admitted after the game that he thought his pass was short of pace and would be cut out by Blues goalkeeper Arrizabalaga.
‘I was speaking to Riyad – and he thought the goalkeeper was going to get it at one point,’ he told Sky Sports. ‘And so did I. ‘When I crossed it I was thinking Erling [Haaland] has got to be somewhere – I’m just hitting the space. And I asked him “where was you” and he said he pulled back.’
Chelsea initially impressed under Graham Potter but the Blues now find themselves 10th in the Premier League, 10 points outside the Champions League places. Ex-Premier League striker Chris Sutton has warned Potter that he won’t last long at Stamford Bridge unless the situation improves quickly.
‘You need more than pride and passion. Chelsea need better quality and that’s the issue this season,’ he told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Football Daily. ‘Is that display good enough? You look at Chelsea in the table. They are behind Brentford, they are behind Fulham. They are a mid-table team.
‘Whatever happened at the start of the season about the takeover and a change of manager, Chelsea shouldn’t be halfway through a season 10th in the Premier League. That, quite frankly, isn’t good enough. ‘They’ve got a tough FA Cup draw now and it is a situation where, if Potter doesn’t turn things around – and turn things around extremely quickly – I don’t see him lasting.
‘I don’t see the patience there from this Chelsea support as well. I think a lot of Chelsea fans have made their mind up about him already and that’s not going to change. ‘One win in eight in the Premier League – that isn’t anywhere near good enough. They are miles off fourth and have to go on an incredible run. Performance-wise, can you see Chelsea going on a run like that? Twenty goals all season – that’s not good enough.
‘Is Potter going to flick a switch and address that overnight? I know at Brighton, at times, his team struggled to score goals – then all of a sudden it clicked. But he had time there and there was a different outlook. You don’t get time at Chelsea to build.’
While Chelsea were left to reflect on another setback, Manchester City’s win closed the gap on Premier League leaders Arsenal to five points.