EPL

Edouard Mendy v Kepa Arrizabalaga: Chelsea keepers compared using Opta data

By Sports Desk September 24, 2020

Chelsea made Kepa Arrizabalaga the world's most expensive goalkeeper when they shelled out £71.6million to sign him in August 2018.

Club director Marina Granovskaia said upon the announcement of his arrival: "Kepa is a talent we have admired for a long time and we are extremely excited about his arrival.

"He has already demonstrated fantastic quality and consistency and will be a big part of any success Chelsea have in the coming years. His long-term contract reflects the belief we have in him and we look ahead to the coming seasons with an enormous sense of optimism."

Just over two years later, though, and Kepa's long-term future at the club is far from certain, with the Blues having paid £22m to bring in Edouard Mendy from Rennes.

Chelsea said Mendy had joined to "complement our existing group" of keepers, but he will be expected to swiftly make the starting spot his own after Kepa committed two errors leading to goals across the opening two games of the Premier League season.

With the help of Opta, we look at what Chelsea can expect from Mendy and how he compares to Kepa.

Safe hands

Mendy (24) made nine fewer league appearances than Kepa (33) in 2019-20, with the coronavirus pandemic having curtailed the Ligue 1 season when most teams still had 10 more fixtures to fulfil.

He conceded 19 goals and kept nine clean sheets as Rennes qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history, while Kepa let in 28 more and shut out the opposition one time less.

Mendy registered a far higher save percentage than the Blues keeper (76.3 per cent to 53.5 per cent) and blew him out of the water in terms of goals prevented.

According to expected goals on target data (xGoT), the shots on target faced by Mendy were enough to concede 21 goals. However, he only let in 18 (excluding own goals) and was therefore responsible for preventing three goals.

For Kepa, the numbers tell a far different story. An xGoT value of 34 compared to the 45 goals he let in (excluding own goals) means he conceded 11 more than expected.

On that basis alone, it is easy to see why Chelsea were keen to seek out an alternative.

On the deck

The move to Chelsea means Mendy may have to adapt to a different style of goalkeeping, though.

In the Premier League last season, 51 per cent of Kepa's 198 goal-kicks ended inside his own box.

 

However, Mendy sent far more of his long, with only 21 per cent of his 163 goal-kicks finding a recipient in his area.

Furthermore, over half of Mendy's passes (56.7 per cent) were classified as long balls, with Kepa's ratio down at 33.7 per cent. Despite that, though, his average of 20.1 successful passes per 90 minutes was just 2.6 fewer than the Spaniard.

Unless Chelsea specifically want greater emphasis on long-range distribution, Mendy could require some time to adjust to playing a shorter passing game.

But if he is able to adapt, Kepa may find his game time at Stamford Bridge severely limited.

Related items

  • PSG coach Tuchel unfazed amid growing pressure PSG coach Tuchel unfazed amid growing pressure

    Thomas Tuchel insisted he was unconcerned about his future at Paris Saint-Germain amid pressure on the coach.

    Tuchel's position as coach of the Ligue 1 giants is again being questioned after Tuesday's 2-1 Champions League loss at home to Manchester United.

    The German has won the league in both of his seasons in charge and led PSG to their first Champions League final in 2019-20 before they fell to Bayern Munich.

    Tuchel is ignoring speculation over his future, telling a news conference: "I don't go on the Internet to Google my name. I know how difficult it is here. That's okay for me. I expect nothing else.

    "I can imagine how it looks from outside. I can rely on myself and on my staff, everybody here at the Ooredoo [PSG training ground] and my relationship with the team. This is what we are going to do and hopefully we will produce results. That's what is necessary.

    "We are part of this club and we keep on going."

    Tuchel, whose side are second in Ligue 1, is contracted at PSG until the end of the season.

    Ahead of PSG's hosting of Dijon on Saturday, the 47-year-old said he was unworried if the club decided against discussing an extension.

    "The situation is clear because I have a contract and for me it makes no difference. Personally, I work the same way," Tuchel said.

    "The situation in the world is complicated with this virus [COVID-19]. It is difficult to make plans for a person but at the same time it is impossible not to communicate. If we don't talk about contract extension, we don't talk about contract extension, that's good. We have to accept it there is no resentment.

    "I do my work with my staff in the best possible way. I will give everything to win. I'm with my team and I want to win everything, that's clear."

  • Gomez-Matip partnership is not rocket science - Klopp Gomez-Matip partnership is not rocket science - Klopp

    Jurgen Klopp is confident centre-backs Joe Gomez and Joel Matip will have little issue forming an effective partnership in the absence of Liverpool talisman Virgil van Dijk.

    Van Dijk is set to miss at least the majority of the current campaign after suffering knee ligament damage in a challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during last week's Merseyside derby.

    Matip missed the midweek win over Ajax, meaning Fabinho stepped into defence, but Klopp's options are limited moving forward.

    Dejan Lovren left at the end of last season, leaving Gomez and Matip as the club's only remaining natural centre-backs.

    Klopp expects the duo to adapt and "fight together", although they are yet to start alongside each other in this role due to Van Dijk's dominance.

    "The reason for that is because I think Virg played pretty much all the games and one of them was injured," Klopp said.

    "As long as Dejan Lovren was still here and Dejan was in that moment fit, [he could play].

    "I didn't know they had never played together, I didn't know that, but they can play together – not a shadow of a doubt.

    "As I said for the Fabinho and Joe pairing, they need to get used to each other and the full-backs need to get used to them. The more stability you have in this line, the better.

    "We never had that really – especially one position was always with a lot of changes.

    "They will fight together, there is no doubt about that. It is football and it didn't become rocket science overnight. We can help them with information but then they will get tested every three days – that's the situation."

    Meanwhile, Klopp was asked for his thoughts on Marcus Rashford's work campaigning to end child hunger.

    The Manchester United forward spent Friday promoting offers of free meals from restaurants around the United Kingdom on his social media pages after the government voted against maintaining a scheme to serve this purpose through school holidays.

    "It's just nice to show in a time when obviously a lot of people who are really in charge of something and don't show any sign of proper leadership, that a boy grown up in difficult circumstances, blessed with a sensational talent obviously, never forgot his roots and where he is coming from," Klopp said.

    "That he has to do it then is a bit of a shame but is wonderful as well. I hope his mother is really proud of him. I don't know him but even I am.

    "He plays for United, which makes it really tricky. But it's really an absolutely wonderful, wonderful thing."

  • Guardiola reiterates defence of Aguero over Massey-Ellis incident Guardiola reiterates defence of Aguero over Massey-Ellis incident

    Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has reiterated his defence of Sergio Aguero over an incident that saw the Argentina striker put his arm around assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis.

    Aguero placed a hand on the female official during City's 1-0 win over Arsenal last week and drew widespread criticism on social media and from pundits.

    Match of the Day analysts Alan Shearer and Ian Wright were among those to condemn the action, while ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville called on Aguero to apologise.

    Guardiola defended Aguero in the aftermath of the game and once again backed his striker, who he said would have said sorry had Massey-Ellis complained.

    "I didn't speak to Sergio about this, but I'm pretty sure if she felt bad, he will apologise without a problem," Guardiola said.

    "All the people looking from outside judge, but I know the intention from Sergio. Sergio put his hands in a normal way, like he does many times to me, on or off the pitch.

    "Or when I hug him, when there is a substitution, or when sometimes he touches the referee as well or an opponent.

    "If I'd seen some aggression, maybe. But I think it was normal as I know him perfectly. He's been a huge star in the world, but he's humble, one of the nicest people I've met.

    "What is important is his intention, and his intention was normal, to talk to her in a normal way. It was not a bad word, it was just normal."

    Guardiola likened the reaction to the one Bernardo Silva received for a controversial social media post involving team-mate Benjamin Mendy last year.

    Silva apologised after posting a picture of a cartoon character promoting a chocolate brand in Spain next to a photo of Mendy with a caption reading: "Guess who?"

    The apparent reference to Mendy's race led to a one-match ban and a £50,000 fine, while Silva was ordered to undergo educational training.

    "It's the same with what happened with Bernardo. I know him perfectly well, it was a joke and this was a normal situation," Guardiola added.

    "I know perfectly, it's like Bernardo and what he had with Mendy. They are brothers and he was suspended."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.