Premier League • England

Kepa refuses to blame obvious reason for Chelsea slump as goalkeeper’s comments make bad reading for Potter

Kepa Arrizabalaga Chelsea 2023 TEAMtalk11

Kepa Arrizabalaga has refused to make excuses for the current Chelsea malaise and insists hard work is key to turning things around.

The Blues sit tenth in the Premier League table after suffering their eighth defeat on Saturday. Graham Potter’s men went down 1-0 at home to bottom-of-the-table Southampton as James Ward-Prowse buried yet another exquisite free-kick. The result means the west Londoners have won just one of their past eight top-flight matches, taking seven points.

The fans showed their displeasure after the Saints reverse, with boos ringing out around Stamford Bridge.

The damaging loss heaps further pressure on Potter, who replaced Thomas Tuchel earlier in the campaign.

Chelsea’s new owner, Todd Boehly, cannot be accused of lacking in ambition, with £300m spent in January.

But there seems a lack of direction at the moment and the Bridge is far from a happy place.

It would be easy for players to blame the fact there has been an influx of new faces to the club.

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But Kepa is having none of it, with the Spain international pulling no punches in his assessment of the situation.

“Everything is going against us right now, we are in a bad moment and we have to stick together,” he told Chelsea’s website.

“We have a big squad, a lot of players and a lot of quality but the things they are not going well.

“But it is not because we changed six or five or one player, it is more general, we are not doing well, it is clear and we have to improve.

“It is time to stick together and time to work, work and work.”

Kepa’s words food for thought for Potter

Kepa has enjoyed a return to the first team following injuries to first-choice keeper Edouard Mendy.

The Spain interantional has enjoyed 15 top-flight outings and 22 in all competitions.

The former Athletic Bilbao star was Chelsea’s number one for two seasons before Mendy’s arrival. But he has played only a bit-part during the past two campaigns.

Now back in the limelight, the 28-year-old has an opportunity to stake a claim for a permanent first-team berth once again.

However, he is playing in a side devoid of confidence and with the fans becoming increasingly frustrated.

Reports suggest the Chelsea board will give Potter more time to sort things out.

He arrived from Brighton with a big reputation, but that will only get a manager so far.

It is all about results. And Kepa’s worlds that ‘everything is going against us’ will certainly be a worry.

It is Potter’s job to lift the players. And the sight of them walking off the pitch after losing to Southampton will have been hard to bear for the boss.

Things will not get any easier for the players as they face a tough London derby next week.

A trip to the north of the capital awaits against a Tottenham side who have now moved into the top four.

Spurs have won three of their last four league games. And there is nothing to suggest that what is usually a feisty derby will be anything less than another full-blooded encounter.