Senegal’s opening World Cup loss against the Netherlands saw the continuation of Edouard Mendy’s terrible performance.
Edouard Mendy got criticism for his performance in Senegal’s World Cup defeat to Holland.
Edouard Mendy’s first performance against the Netherlands merely heightened the harsh spotlight, which was intended to help him escape the hostility at Chelsea and regain some confidence.
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Caught in a no-man’s-land for Cody Gakpo’s header to give Holland the lead in the final 10 minutes was questioned, and the error was exacerbated by a clumsy save on Memphis Depay’s shot that was headed into Davy Klaassen’s path to make it 2-0.
The two mistakes severely cost Senegal a crucial Group A point in a game that, up until the final 10 minutes, was largely forgettable. Mendy will cause Chelsea and Graham Potter considerably deeper worries.
His once-immaculate body has taken a drastic turn in the wrong direction by 2022. After making some high-profile mistakes and losing his job to Kepa Arrizabalaga in 2020, the goalkeeper who helped revamp Chelsea’s defense after his £22 million transfer from Rennes is no longer the trusted first choice at Stamford Bridge.
Kepa’s once secure position at Chelsea now appears to be in danger due to his surprising return to form and Mendy’s uncertainty. As 2023 approaches, concerns have surfaced regarding Chelsea’s goalkeeping situation prior to the January transfer window.
The uncertainty surrounding Mendy’s future is further increased by the fact that he apparently turned down a new offer over the summer before losing first place. When Chelsea resumes play on December 27 against Bournemouth following the World Cup, Kepa is anticipated to keep his spot.
There are four possible remedies for Mendy’s performance decline and the Blues’ resurgence of goaltending uncertainty. The questions facing Chelsea’s head coach over the holiday break will only grow, however, given the uncertainty inside the group for Graham Potter.
The first course of action is to keep working with Mendy in the hopes that he regains the form that made him such a good acquisition for Chelsea. As Kepa has shown, it can be flippant to write off players entirely, and trying to retroactively argue that Mendy was never that good is a false claim; for a while, he was genuinely among Europe’s best. However, it is clear that taking this route entails risk.
Another path Chelsea has already begun down is giving Kepa the top place. The 28-year-old made some exceptional saves and was at ease with Potter’s possession-based strategy. Given Kepa’s experience with the position and the necessity for investment in other areas during the January window, this is the most likely course of action in the short term.
The addition of Gabriel Slonina in January following his £12 million transfer from Chicago Fire introduces a wild card, albeit the 18-year-old would probably benefit from a loan rather than finishing the season on the bench.
The last decision anticipates the upcoming summer and the potential for Chelsea’s new owners to make an investment in a more significant first choice, which is a possibility. Both Diogo Costa of Porto and Mike Maignan of AC Milan have recently been mentioned as prospective targets who have performed well this year.
Finding a long-term replacement has proven to be a difficult road, as Chelsea have learned since the bitter departure of Thibaut Courtois in 2018, and one that Mendy hasn’t fully resolved given his recent form. More action may be required.