Kepa to Make First Chelsea Start Since October Against Krasnodar

* Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi are out with hamstring injuries

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will make his first appearance since October in tonight’s UEFA Champions League tie against Krasnodar, team Manager, Frank Lampard announced yesterday.

Kepa, 26, has lost his number one spot to Edouard Mendy this season and sustained a shoulder injury in October.

The Spain international has started only three Premier League games and has yet to appear in the Champions League this campaign.

“Kepa starts,” said Lampard.

“It is about attitude and how you play, his situation now is different with Mendy’s form.

“But Kepa is training brilliantly well and acting brilliantly and I have no qualms about putting him back in.”

Kepa joined Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 for £71m, a world record fee for a goalkeeper, but has struggled for consistency.

He last played in Chelsea’s 3-3 draw with Southampton on 17 October.

When asked if he is under any pressure to sell Kepa, Lampard said: “No, there’s no pressure. The pressure, and I’m not saying this has been spoken about, is to win games.

“I have to do the right thing game by game of course and Mendy has made himself a permanent fixture at this point.”

Scotland Under-21s midfielder Billy Gilmour will also start at Stamford Bridge after recovering from knee surgery, but Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi are out with hamstring injuries.

Chelsea have already secured top spot in Group E with a game to spare after beating Sevilla 4-0 last week.

Russian side Krasnodar are guaranteed to finish third in the group so will move on to the Europa League.

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