AP NEWS

Kepa dropped by Chelsea for Premier League game

February 27, 2019
1 of 2
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga reacts after stops a shot from Manchester City's Leroy Sane during a penalty shootout at the end of the English League Cup final soccer match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley stadium in London, England, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

LONDON (AP) — Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was dropped for the Premier League game against Tottenham on Wednesday, three days after refusing to accept being substituted in the League Cup final.

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri chose to play Willy Caballero instead at Stamford Bridge. Kepa, the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, was among the substitutes for a match that had big ramifications in the race for Champions League qualification.

Sarri said he would be sending a message to his squad whatever his selection decision over Kepa, who was fined one week’s wages by the Chelsea board on Monday for his act of insubordination during Sunday’s penalty-shootout loss to Manchester City.

Sarri was furious when Kepa refused to come off, insisting he was fine to continue at Wembley Stadium even though he seemed to be struggling with an injury late in the game. The Italian coach later called it a misunderstanding.

“It’s a choice,” Sarri said of his decision to omit Kepa. “It’s a message to my group — that we are a group, we are 25 players. It’s my choice.”

Chelsea is in sixth place and three points adrift of Arsenal, which occupies the fourth and final Champions League spot.

___

More AP English soccer: https://apnews.com/PremierLeague and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports