Kepa Arrizabalaga was the Chelsea hero after saving twice in a penalty shootout as Chelsea beat Villarreal to win the UEFA Super Cup.
The Spanish goalkeeper had started on the bench but was introduced at the end of extra time to replace Edouard Mendy for the European Champions as they overcame the Europa League winners.
Chelsea started the game well, dominating possession and pinning Villarreal back inside their own half, unable to find an out-ball. But as so often last season, Chelsea struggled to create, until the 27th minute when a fine pass from Marcos Alonso allowed Kai Havertz to cut back, and though Ziyech’s connection wasn’t the truest, it was enough to send the ball into the far corner. Villarreal might have equalised just before half time, when Gerard Moreno crossed for Albert Moreno, but his left-foot volley clattered the bar, then bounced down and out.
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After half-time, Villarreal improved significantly and the game did with them, but it wasn’t until the 74th minute that they equalised, Moreno playing a terrific one-two with Boulaye Dia before sweeping an equally good finish into the top corner. Both sides created half-chances in the time that remained, but extra time always looks likely when Unai Emery is managing one of teams playing, and that was indeed what came to pass.
Though Villarreal looked the fitter side, it was Chelsea who were better in the first period of extra-time. But 120 minutes was a lot to ask from either side, so penalties looked inevitable – even though Mason Mount, on as sub, forced a decent save out of Sergio Asenjo.
Despite Havertz failing to score his spot-kick, Kepa denied Aissa Mandi and Raul Albiol in the shootout to gift the Blues the trophy.

Kepa was the hero of the hour

Image credit: Getty Images


Thomas Tuchel is an excellent manager, a major reason Chelsea finished the league season strongly and won the Champions League. But, though it doesn’t suit the tactical mavens, another factor of almost equal importance was the freshness of his squad. Ngolo Kante had January off, Antonio Rudiger barely played under Frank Lampard, and Kai Havertz was used only sparingly. So, when it came to the run-in, all were fresh – an advantage in any circumstance, never mind when playing teams with fewer options whose players had slogged through a season and a half with little break in between.

What Tuchel also did was stick two defensive midfielders in front of three centre-backs and pick wing-backs who were defensive specialists. That made them hard to break down, and with the players Chelsea have, they’re always liable to find a goal. But though that method can work well in cups, it’s not a way to win a title, because over 38 games, greater attacking variety is necessary.

The arrival of Romelu Lukaku might have addressed that problem, but he won’t be able to create all his own goals, and Chelsea still lack an elite-level creator. Mason Mount is a fine players, but his numbers are relatively low, and though Kai Havertz is talented and good, he’s not there yet. If almost everything goes their way, Chelsea are good enough to win the league, but though they have the winning habit, they don’t look quite good enough going forward to finish top after 38 games.

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Gerard Moreno (Villarreal) Scored a lovely goal and looked the most threatening attacker on show.

Moreno celebrates his equaliser

Image credit: Getty Images


Chelsea: Mendy 7, Zouma 6, Chalobah 7, Rudiger 6, Hudson-Odoi 6, Kante 6, Kovacic 6, Alonso 6, Ziyech 7, Havertz 5, Werner 5. Subs: Pulisic 6, Mount 6, Jorginho 6, Christensen 6, Azpilicueta 6, Kepa 8

Villarreal: Asenjo 7, Foyth 5, Albiol 6, Pau Torres 7, Pedraza 6, Trigueros 5, Capoue 6, Moreno 6, Pino 6, Gerard Moreno 8, Dia 6. Subs: Estupinan 6, Perez 6, Bardonado 6, Morlanes 6, Mandi 6.


this is the third year in a row the Super League has been won by a German manager, Thomas Tuchel following Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp and Bayern Munich's Hansi Flick.


7’ - The corner comes in and various defenders miss it, Werner then poking a toe around Albiol ... and Aensjo has to palm away!

27’ - GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Villarreal (Ziyech) Alonso swerves a lovely pass down the line, in behind Foyth and Albiol for Havertz running onto it. His cut-back is a good one, and arriving on the burst, Ziyech fiddles a finish against the ground and into the far corner. I've no idea why Villarreal were so high, nor why they had no defenders in the middle.

36’ - Chelsea win a free-kick near the left corner of the box and Ziyech swings a delicious ball out towards the far post ... and there's Zouma! But instead of going with his head he opts to extend a leg,unable to control a shot that flies over the top from a few yards, with the keeper nowhere. That was a good chance.

44+4’ - Gerard Moreno pulls right and sticks a tremendous ball to the back post where Alberto Moreno arrives, unmarked ... and what a connection he makes, absolutely lamping a volley against the bar ... and the ball drops in front of the line! What an escape for Chelsea!

52’ - Mendy sends the back three downfield to kick clear, only to slip, allowing Gerard to intercept. He strides into the space no longer occupied by Chelsea's back three ... opens his body ... and plants a shot onto the post!

73’ - GOAL! Chelsea 1-1 Villarreal (Gerard Moreno) This is a banging finish! A poor clearance from Rudiger picks out Moreno, who takes a touch and slides a fine reverse-pass for Dia, who backheels a return into his stride. But though he's in front of goal, Mendy is out sharply, so Morena sweeps a rising rasper into the far top corner!

99’ - HERE'S THE CHANCE! Azpilcueta chips a lovely ball over the top and down the line for Mount, who hooks a tremendous cross into the box. Havertz can't quite bring it down, Berbatov-style, but the onrushing Pulisic collects only to run the ball wide!

108’ - Pulisic drives and though his through-ball is straight at Torres, he runs into it and Mount picks up the loose ball, hammering a snap-shot that Asenjo turns behind! Naturally, the corner comes to nowt.

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