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Kepa in, Mendy out: Tuchel justifies change in Chelsea XI vs Tottenham

Edouard Mendy, Kepa Arrizabalaga - Chelsea
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The Senegalese has once again been in stellar form this season, but he did not even make the bench for the London derby.

Edouard Mendy was dropped from the Chelsea starting XI to face Tottenham due to a “huge hit” he suffered in their Champions League campaign opener, Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.

Mendy was a surprise absentee from the Chelsea squad on Sunday, with Kepa Arrizabalaga taking his place between the sticks and third-choice goalkeeper Marcus Bettenelli on the bench.

The former Rennes star cemented his role as the Blues’ first-choice shot-stopper following a string of superb displays after joining the club on a £22 million transfer in the summer of 2020.

Conceding only a single goal in the opening four Premier League games of the new campaign while also keeping a clean sheet in the Champions League win over Zenit, he has managed to maintain his great form in his second season at Stamford Bridge.

“Edou got a huge hit and we tried everything in the last days,” Tuchel told Chelsea’s 5th Stand App. “He never felt fully comfortable in diving and getting another hit on it.

“Yesterday in training, we decided if a miracle doesn’t happen overnight then Kepa will play.”