Chelsea caretaker manager Frank Lampard has confirmed that Kepa Arrizabalga will be starting against Brighton & Hove Albion. He believes that the player has matured and deserves to keep his place in the starting XI.
Chelsea are in a free fall and are sitting 11th in the Premier League table. They were expected to make changes this weekend as several players in the starting XI were sub-par against Real Madrid and Wolverhampton last week.
Lampard did confirm that there were going to be changes, and he was ready to hand opportunities to those who were not playing. He was quoted by Absolute Chelsea saying:
"Tomorrow (Saturday) will be an opportunity for some players who didn't play in the Champions League, possibly didn't play at the weekend, to come in because it's a game where we absolutely need freshness and energy as well. So every opportunity, they should take."
However, fans who want Kepa dropped are set to be disappointed as the Spaniard will keep his place. Lampard added:
"I don't see any reason to do any different at the moment. Kepa's performances and maturity naturally, I maybe matured as a coach as I've come back, he's matured as a player, and I think he has been in good form. Edou has had a couple of injuries. He's still carrying a small one at the moment so the position as you see it doesn't change and not judging anything on my previous time at the club as opposed to what's in front of me now."
Frank Lampard heaps praise on Chelsea's opponents Brighton
Frank Lampard has admitted that Brighton have been impressive this season and have a style to their game. He believes the credit should also go to Graham Potter, who was signed from the Seagulls and later sacked by Chelsea this season.
The caretaker manager said:
"I think it impresses everyone, it's a certain style and identity. An identity they've worked towards with Graham working there before in a positive direction and the manager has taken it on and added his touches with stability. We've seen it on the pitch, they're a really good team offensively and defensively and everyone should understand that this is a really tough game for us falling in between two Madrid games and we'll need to be towards our best and physically compete with Brighton."
Chelsea don't have much to play for in the Premier League and could rest key players ahead of the second leg against Real Madrid next week.