Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel explains why Kepa is named in line up ahead of Edouard Mendy

Chelsea: Tuchel previews Newcastle clash

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Thomas Tuchel has explained his decision to start Kepa Arrizabalaga ahead of Edouard Mendy for Chelsea for the second game running.

The Spaniard was gifted a chance in the FA Cup as the Blues beat Barnsley on Thursday and has been named in the starting line up again for Monday night’s fixture against Newcastle.

Kepa lost his place as Chelsea’s No.1 when Mendy arrived in the summer transfer window last year. The world’s most expensive goalkeeper kept producing high profile mistakes and cost his side not just clean sheets but points too.

Tuchel followed suit after his appointment and continued to name Mendy as his No.1. But things appear to be changing.

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An impressive display in midweek has earned Kepa a second successive start and a chance to make the spot his own.

When asked for his reasons on why Kepa is in the line up, Tuchel told Sky Sports: “Well we need a strong Kepa in our squad and he had a good game in the cup so we decided to give him another match to build up a bit of rhythm, a little bit of confidence, to trust.

“At the same time, Edu [has] the chance to mentality recover – it’s a demanding position mentally and concentration wise.

“With one decision we have both advantages.”

Should the 26-year-old impress then he may go a long way to rebuilding his confidence and potentially saving his Chelsea career.

Another man who has kept his place is Tammy Abraham. The 23-year-old scored the only goal in the victory over Barnsley and is facing a three-way battle for the central striker spot with Timo Werner and Olivier Giroud.

Tuchel has been inconsistent with his striker choices so far which suggests he’s still testing his strikers and yet to choose his preferred forward.

Like Kepa, the Newcastle fixture is a good chance for Abraham to prove what he can do.

“We need strikers, we need goals,” replied Tuchel when asked about the line up.

“Tammy delivered (in the FA Cup). Today we think it’s not such a high chance to drop from the No.6 because they have a single 6. The 10 is not so open normally so we opted for Tammy, he’s in good shape and the guy to break the last line.”

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