Football

Edouard Mendy is Chelsea's No. 1: Frank Lampard

Chelsea boss makes declaration after new signing keeps second clean sheet in three matches

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has declared new signing Edouard Mendy as the club's first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Mendy kept a clean sheet on his return to the first XI yesterday morning (Singapore time) in the Blues' opening Champions League Group E game against Sevilla, which ended 0-0.

"The way he has played in the three games since being here, he's played very well... So at the minute, yes," Lampard told reporters when asked if Mendy has become his No. 1, after another stellar showing at Stamford Bridge.

This was the second straight clean sheet that the 28-year-old Senegalese has managed since joining from French Ligue 1 club Rennes for around £22 million (S$39m) last month.

Mendy, who also had a clean sheet in Chelsea's 4-0 win over Crystal Palace in the English Premier League, missed last Saturday's 3-3 draw with Southampton due to a thigh injury.

He was replaced by Arrizabalaga, the world's most expensive goalkeeper following his arrival from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 for 80 million euros (S$128.5m), as the Blues threw away a two-goal lead against the Saints.

Against Europa League winners Sevilla, who dominated possession in the first half, Mendy showed fine reactions to claw away Nemanja Gudelj's header and also dealt comfortably with two other attempts on target.

"I said when he came in, it was good for competition. We knew his qualities and he's showing them already," added Lampard, who has also included technical and performance adviser Petr Cech as a fourth goalkeeper in their EPL squad.

The Czech, who played for Chelsea from 2004 to 2015, retired last year, but Lampard said including the 38-year-old was a "no-brainer".

The Sevilla stalemate was the first 0-0 draw for Chelsea since Lampard took charge before last season. Before the game, he had been in charge for 62 matches, with Chelsea conceding 99 goals and keeping only 15 clean sheets.

But former Chelsea winger Joe Cole believes there will be more shut-outs to come.

Cole said on BT Sport: "Mendy was excellent. Having (Ben) Chilwell, (Thiago) Silva and Mendy in this team - three new signings - makes such a difference. With them in the team, I think you will start seeing more clean sheets."

While he was also pleased with the Blues' defensive display, former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf was concerned that Sevilla had the upper hand in the first half.

"I don't see what I want to see, I don't see the players speeding up the game and doing something, changing rhythm," Leboeuf told ESPN FC.

Chelsea's most productive spell came after the restart when Kurt Zouma and Chilwell both headed straight at Sevilla custodian Yassine Bounou.

While Lampard was happy with a goalless draw, his counterpart Julen Lopetegui was also pleased that his side kept Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic quiet.

"Against a team who spent 250 million euros this summer and with good players in every position, it required a big collective effort," he said. - REUTERS


RESULTS

GROUP E

  • Chelsea 0 Sevilla 0
  • Rennes 1 Krasnodar 1

GROUP F

  • Lazio 3 Dortmund 1
  • Zenit St Petersburg 1 Brugge 2

GROUP G

  • Barcelona 5 Ferencvaros 1
  • Dynamo Kiev 0 Juventus 2

GROUP H 

  • RB Leipzig 2 Istanbul Basaksehir 0
  • Paris St Germain 1 Man United 2
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