Kepa Arrizabalaga was the unlikely hero as Chelsea began the brand new season as they ended the final with a European trophy by beating Villarreal 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to win the UEFA Super Cup in Belfast.
The Spaniard, who has misplaced his place as primary since becoming a member of the membership for a world document payment for a goalkeeper in 2018, was launched late in extra-time as an alternative to the shootout by Thomas Tuchel.
Kepa famously refused to get replaced by former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri in a League Cup closing defeat to Manchester City two years in the past.
But this time he rewarded his supervisor’s religion with saves from Aissa Mandi and Raul Albiol.
“It was not spontaneous,” stated Tuchel who defined the plan had been hatched within the FA Cup final season.
“We talked about it with the goalkeepers after the primary cup recreation towards Barnsley.
“Kepa has the very best share at saving penalties, the analysing guys and goalkeeping coaches confirmed me the information. We spoke to the gamers that this might occur once we play in knockout video games. It’s improbable how Edouard (Mendy) accepted it.
“There is proof that Kepa is better in this discipline. They’re team players. Edouard does not show the pride to not step off the field. He was happy to do it for the team and take this for the team.”
Chelsea’s win over Manchester City in Porto to elevate the Champions League for a second time in May was the fruits of a meteoric rise in Tuchel’s first 5 months in cost.
The German has bemoaned having to handle a 42-man squad throughout pre-season and will quickly have much more firepower to name on with Romelu Lukaku anticipated to finish a return to Stamford Bridge later this week for a membership document £97 million ($135 million).
But the depth of assets obtainable to Tuchel was on present early on.
Euro 2020 finalists Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell, Reece James and Jorginho all needed to accept a spot on the bench after their late return to pre-season coaching, however Chelsea nonetheless had far an excessive amount of for the Europa League winners within the opening half hour.
Bittersweet for Ziyech
Hakim Ziyech had a bittersweet night as he continued his tremendous pre-season kind into aggressive motion with the opening objective.
Marcos Alonso fed Kai Havertz down the correct and from the German’s low cross, Ziyech swept dwelling.
However, the Moroccan was pressured off earlier than half-time in a sling by a shoulder damage.
In stark distinction to Chelsea’s haul of now 20 trophies within the practically 20 years since Roman Abramovich’s takeover remodeled the membership, Villarreal’s Europa League closing victory over Manchester United in May secured their first ever silverware.
After an excessively cautious begin from Unai Emery’s males, going behind pressured the Yellow Submarine out of their shell they usually have been unlucky to not be stage by half-time.
“I am proud to represent Villarreal, our project and the Spanish league,” stated Emery. “We knew how to compete.”
Mendy scampered from his line to disclaim Boulaye Dia a debut objective earlier than Villarreal twice hit the woodwork both aspect of the break by way of Alberto Moreno and Gerard Moreno.
Villarreal have been the dominant pressure within the second-half as Chelsea bodily pale after their flying begin.
Tuchel turned to his bench to stem the tide as Mount, Jorginho and Andreas Christensen have been launched.
But the Spaniards lastly obtained their deserved equaliser when Moreno performed a intelligent one-two with Dia earlier than firing excessive previous Mendy.
Neither supervisor would have welcomed an additional half-hour simply days earlier than their respective league campaigns kick-off.
Chelsea had the higher of extra-time as Christian Pulisic fired inches large earlier than Sergio Asenjo produced a tremendous save to disclaim Mount.
Asenjo additionally gave Villarreal a dream begin to the shootout by saving from Havertz.
But Chelsea have been flawless with their subsequent six spot-kicks to permit Kepa to take centre stage.