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'Kepa will not be dropped for Mendy at Chelsea' - Nigeria legend Ikpeba expects tough times for Senegal star

10:26 BST 18/10/2022
Edouard Mendy Kepa Arrizabalaga Chelsea 2022-23
Nigeria legend Victor Ikpeba believes it will be a huge task for goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to displace inform Kepa Arrizabalaga at Chelsea.
  • Mendy's last league match was on September 3
  • Kepa has been the preferred keeper under Potter
  • Mendy had managed six matches before injury

WHAT HAPPENED? Despite the Senegal custodian returning from injury, the 28-year-old Spaniard has been the preferred number one keeper under new manager Graham Potter.

His performances in recent matches have been great, especially in the 2-0 Premier League win against Aston Villa, when he made a total of seven saves, including two stunning ones, to keep the Blues in the game at Villa Park on Sunday.

Chelsea manager afterwards praised Kepa's display terming it "world class." The superb display has also caught the attention of 49-year-old Ikpeba, who played 31 international matches for the Super Eagles and scored seven goals.

WHAT DID IKPEBA SAY? "But that's not the same Kepa happening and you have a new manager," Ikpeba said on Monday Night Football magazine show on SuperSport as reported by allnigeriasoccer," adding: "Mendy had his own bad games, bad runs and he's been given the opportunity - it's a little bit straight.

"When you have a goalkeeper that has won the Uefa Champions League, becomes the number one of the team and he's struggling at the beginning of the season. I have never felt that Kepa wasn't a good keeper.

"Sometimes he needs time to get used to the Premier League and he's shown that he's a talented keeper. He's shown a huge mentality. That's a winning mentality or fighting, having the opportunity to come back. He now has it, he's going to be the number at Chelsea.

"There's no way the manager is going to drop him. He's shown all his potential. A lot of money was spent on him."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The 30-year-old Lion of Teranga's last appearance for Chelsea came on September 3 when the Blues defeated West Ham United 2-1 in the league.

In total, he has managed six appearances this season and managed one clean sheet. Last season, he made 34 top-flight appearances and kept 14 clean sheets. Overall, he has played 71 matches in the league for Chelsea and kept 31 clean sheets.

WHAT NEXT FOR MENDY? He will hope to get the starting role when Chelsea, who are currently lying in the fourth position with 19 points, travel to take on Brentford on Wednesday.