Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has taken a stand by dropping Kepa Arrizabalaga against Tottenham after his refusal to be substituted.
The €80m goalkeeper was fined a week’s wages by the club after he openly rebelled against his boss, refusing to leave the field during the final moments of the Carabao Cup Final against Manchester City.
Sarri and Kepa insisted it was a “misunderstanding,” but many were waiting to see what decision the Italian tactician would make for tonight’s big Premier League game with Spurs.
The fact Willy Caballero is starting instead suggests the Coach is taking a stand against the culture of so-called player power at Stamford Bridge which has been seen as undermining his authority.
“He said sorry to the technical staff, but it was not enough. He said sorry to the players and the club. We don’t want to kill him,” Sarri had said yesterday.
“I don’t know [if he will play], I have to decide yes or no. I think so [he is fit], he only had a recovery yesterday, but I think so. It will be the decision of the group, of all the players.
“It was really a very unusual situation, so the players were very shocked. It was impossible to react immediately.
“Will he start? I need to send a message to my group, whether Kepa is on the pitch or off it. I have to decide what is better for my group.
“He has to be [mentally read]. He made a mistake, there are some consequences. If it is to play he has to be ready, if it is on the bench then he has to be ready.”
Chelsea: Caballero; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Higuain, Hazard