Kepa Arrizabalaga: 'Mutiny at Chelsea' after bizarre substitution that never was

Maurizio Sarri and Willy Caballero
Maurizio Sarri was preparing to bring on Willy Caballero

Have you ever seen anything like it?

A player refusing to go off - and his manager losing the plot.

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga resisted Maurizio Sarri's attempt to substitute him late in extra time of the Carabao Cup final, which left his manager seething on the touchline.

Kepa had just been treated for cramp and, with the game at 0-0, Sarri was preparing to bring on reserve keeper Willy Caballero in his place before a penalty shootout.

But after some furious finger-wagging and screams of "NO!", Sarri was forced to give in.

Referee Jonathan Moss ran over to confirm whether Kepa was going off or not and Sarri, begrudgingly, backed down and then stormed off down the tunnel before quickly returning, leaving Caballero a bemused spectator.

Kepa went on to save Leroy Sane's spot-kick - prompting a fist pump from Sarri - but Raheem Sterling netted the winning penalty as Manchester City won the shootout 4-3 to lift the Carabao Cup for a second year in a row.

Sarri didn't react at full-time and went straight off the pitch, while his players looked dejected in defeat.

'It's mutiny at Chelsea' - analysis

Former Blues striker Chris Sutton described the scenes as "mutiny at Chelsea" and said Kepa "should never play for the club again".

The incident comes after weeks of speculation surrounding Sarri's position as manager and concerns over his style of play, the so-called "Sarri-ball".

"That should be his last performance in a Chelsea shirt," Sutton told BBC Radio 5 live. "He's a disgrace. I've never seen anything like it.

"If I was Sarri I would walk. You cannot be undermined. Why weren't the players dragging Kepa off anyway?

"Kepa should be sacked, not Sarri. He's been undermined - it's the worst thing that can happen to a manager."

'Kepa has completely undermined Maurizio Sarri'

Former England and Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas said it is clear "there's a lack of respect" for the manager, but said Sarri showed "a lack of class" by storming off the pitch following defeat.

"His players have done him proud today," Jenas told BBC Radio 5 live. "They are an inferior team to Manchester City now and they took them all the way. For him not to be congratulating the opposition or consoling his players shows a lack of class for me.

"The fact he went inside and was not out there with his players is one thing, but it has to be infuriating for one of your players to categorically tell you to 'do one' and say I'm staying on this pitch.

"This is a huge blemish. It all boils down to what is going on between Sarri and his players. That does not happen - there's a lack of respect somewhere along the line."

How it happened...

Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga struggles with cramp
Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga goes down with cramp towards the end of extra time
Willy Caballero is ready to come on for Chelsea
Reserve keeper Willy Caballero is ready to come on
Kepa saying he doesn't want to go off
Kepa screams back at his manager and signifies he doesn't want to be taken off
Maurizio Sarri shouting at Kepa from the touchline
Maurizio Sarri (left) responds furiously to Kepa while his assistant Gianfranco Zola looks perplexed
Maurizio Sarri and Jonathan Moss talking on the touchline
Referee Jonathan Moss joins in to ask Sarri whether he wants to bring off his keeper
David Luiz and Kepa Arrizabalaga
Chelsea defender David Luiz tries to calm Kepa down on the pitch
Willy Caballero returns to his seat in the dugout
Reserve keeper Caballero is left confused in the dugout, unsure whether the substitution is being made
Maurizio Sarri storms down the tunnel after the substitution doesn't happen
Sarri storms down the tunnel and the whistle is blown for the end of extra time

How you reacted on social media

Tony: What? Kepa on the transfer market tomorrow I think.

Craig: Chelsea keeper has zero respect for the manager! Don't care who you are, if he wants you off he wants you off.

Jonathan: Sounds like Sarri has lost the dressing room, the bench and his mind.

Robert: Disgusting! Kepa has just publicly embarrassed Sarri in front of everyone. Total disgrace.

Callum: I'm with Kepa there I don't think he should come off, he's played the full game so confidence is high, I don't agree with goalkeepers being subbed for penalty shootouts no matter how good they have been.

Will: It doesn't matter whether Kepa could continue or not, the manager made a decision to take him off and that should be the end of that. You can't refuse to work for your boss in any other line of work, why should football be any different?

Rob: Chelsea is broken from top to bottom. Player power has dominated that club for years. If Sarri leaves I would respect him so much.

James: Player power over everyone else at a club has been building slowly for the past few years. This is a pivotal moment for the way football clubs are run.


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