International football is largely over for 2020 and the Premier League is returning for the run-up to Christmas.

The next five weeks are jam-packed with action both domestically and in Europe, and hitting the ground running this weekend could give plenty of sides a timely boost.

If you're getting that fantasy team primed once more, cast your eye over our Opta-powered top tips...

 

EDOUARD MENDY

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy finally conceded a goal in the Premier League in his last appearance, although the Blues still recovered to beat Sheffield United 4-1.

There's no reason to lose faith in the Senegal international ahead of the visit to Newcastle United this weekend.

In fact, Mendy has saved six of the seven shots on target he has faced in England's top flight, giving him a save percentage of 85.7. No keeper in the division can boast such a figure this season.

 

BEN CHILWELL

Chelsea's new-found stability means filling the backline with Blues defenders is no longer a risk to your fantasy success.

Of course, Ben Chilwell is someone who can provide plenty of points regardless of doing any actual defending.

He has been directly involved in four goals (two scored, two assisted) in five league games this season, more than any other defender.

AARON CRESSWELL

However, the prize for 2020-21's most creative defender goes to West Ham's Aaron Cresswell.

His three assists and 17 chances created are the top figures in the competition among defenders and he has been a part of three clean sheets to boot.

With the Hammers facing struggling Sheffield United this weekend, Cresswell is well worth considering.

 

JACK GREALISH

Now that doubts about his place in the England team appear well and truly dismissed, Jack Grealish can focus on the more improbable task of keeping Aston Villa in the race for Europe.

Only Harry Kane (eight) has more assists this term than Grealish (five), and only Mohamed Salah (20) has created more chances from open play (17). The Liverpool star is also the only player with more touches in the opposition box (85) than the Villa captain (70).

What's more, Grealish has scored in each of his past four appearances in all competitions against Brighton and Hove Albion, including in all three meetings last season. They are his favourite opposition.

WILFRIED ZAHA

Crystal Palace's four wins from their first eight games owes much to the form of Wilfried Zaha.

With five goals and two assists, he has already equalled the number of goal involvements that he managed in 38 league games in 2019-20.

Palace face winless Burnley on Monday.

 

GABRIEL JESUS

No Sergio Aguero? No problem. Gabriel Jesus has been involved in 11 goals in his past 11 matches in all competitions (eight scored, three assisted).

The Brazil striker has also scored in each of his previous three games and will look to stretch that run to four for the first time since April 2018 when Manchester City face Tottenham.

 

PATRICK BAMFORD

Only four players have scored more goals in the Premier League this season than Patrick Bamford - and they are only one ahead of the Leeds United striker.

Bamford has hit seven in his eight league games in 2020-21, a scoring run not seen at the club since the days that Mark Viduka graced Elland Road (he managed nine in his first eight appearances).

Given Arsenal's inconsistencies, there is every chance Bamford will pick up where he left off prior to the international break.

Edouard Mendy was "the best on the list" of goalkeeper targets and had been followed by Chelsea for several years, Petr Cech has revealed. 

Chelsea opted to reinforce their options in goal following a series of error-strewn performances from Kepa Arrizabalaga, plus with the advancing years of Willy Caballero. 

Senegal keeper Mendy arrived from Rennes in a reported £22million deal and has played a big part in shoring up a Chelsea defence that had started the season in leaky fashion. 

In the six appearances he has made in all competitions so far, Mendy has conceded just a solitary goal, against Tottenham in an EFL Cup tie. 

Indeed, in the Premier League he has four saves in three matches and his 100 per cent save record is the best in the division. For comparison, Kepa has a 57.14 per cent save success rate having also played in three league games this term. 

Mendy is set for a swift Rennes reunion when the Ligue 1 side visit Stamford Bridge in the Champions League on Wednesday. 

Speaking to L'Equipe about Mendy ahead of that clash, Chelsea technical director Cech said: "I've been following him for three and a half years, when he was in Reims.  

"At the start, it was Christophe Lollichon [Chelsea's goalkeeper scout] who told me about him, because he had been unemployed.  

"Since then, Edouard has continued to improve, season after season. When it became clear last summer that a new goalie was needed to compete with Kepa and Willy Caballero, I internally suggested several names, including Edouard. And I insisted that I thought he was the best on the list. My advice was followed. 

"It is in the continuity of its performances with Rennes. He is a very calm goalkeeper, who knows how to remain simple and efficient, who reassures his team-mates.  

"He must continue to evolve at this level to keep his starting place, as the competition with Kepa and Willy remains open."

Cech won four league titles and the Champions League among a lengthy list of honours at Chelsea and retired in 2019 after a four-year stay with London rivals Arsenal. 

The former Czech Republic international was surprisingly included in Chelsea's Premier League squad for this season, however, a decision taken to boost the department in case of emergencies given the effect the coronavirus pandemic continues to have on top-flight squads. 

Cech is adamant he is ready to step in should former team-mate Frank Lampard need him. 

"Honestly, yes. When Frank asked if he could add me to the C1 list, I said yes, because I felt ready to play if the circumstances demanded," he added. 

"But we all hope not to get there."

Merseyside rivals Everton and Liverpool will be looking to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Sadio Mane respectively to maintain their excellent starts to the Premier League campaign this weekend. 

The Toffees, who are ahead of Jurgen Klopp's side at the Premier League summit on goal difference, travel to Newcastle United, while their city rivals host West Ham – sides that Calvert-Lewin and Mane have excellent recent records against.

Chelsea, meanwhile, will be confident of picking up three points at struggling Burnley, given Frank Lampard can call on a couple of the Premier League's most in-form players in Edouard Mendy and Ben Chilwell. 

Finally, Crystal Palace and Southampton will hope Wilfried Zaha and Che Adams can continue their hot streaks when they face Wolves and Aston Villa respectively.

EDOUARD MENDY

Edouard Mendy has impressed for Chelsea since taking over the gloves from the error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The former Rennes man travels to Burnley at the weekend looking to become the first Chelsea goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in each of his first three Premier League appearances for the Blues since Petr Cech in August 2004.

Given Sean Dyche's side have scored just three goals in their opening five games this season, do not bet against him achieving it.

 

BEN CHILWELL

Ben Chilwell has played in just three of Chelsea's six Premier League games this season but he has already created more chances (nine) than any other Blues players. 

The former Leicester City left-back has been directly involved in three goals in those three appearances, with one goal and two assists, and has contributed to two clean sheets.

Burnley look like they will have their work cut out trying to stop the marauding England international at the weekend.

 

MICHAEL KEANE

Everton's forwards have received most of the plaudits for the Toffees' superb start to the season, but there is a man at the back who has certainly contributed to their success. 

Since the Premier League resumed in June, centre-back Michael Keane is the competition's top-scoring defender with three goals.

Two of those have come this season and he heads to Newcastle United this weekend looking to add to that tally. 

 

WILFRIED ZAHA

Wilfried Zaha has brushed aside any disappointment at not getting a move to a Champions League club, starting the 2020-21 season in electrifying form. 

The Ivorian – who faces Wolves on Friday – has scored five goals already this season, which is one more than he managed in 38 appearances last term. 

With five goals and one assist to his name, he is also just one goal or assist away from matching his goal involvement total from last season.

 

SADIO MANE

Sadio Mane will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing West Ham this weekend. 

The Liverpool forward has scored in his last four games against the Hammers and boasts eight goal involvements (five goals, three assists) in eight meetings with them.

He has also been directly involved in five goals in his last four Premier League fixtures (four goals, one assist), which is more than in his previous 10 outings, when he scored just four goals.

 

CHE ADAMS

Southampton visit high-flying Aston Villa and former Birmingham City striker Che Adams will be hoping to get one over on his former arch rivals. 

After failing to score in his first 24 Premier League games, Adams has now scored six in his last 12, including goals in each of his last two appearances. 

He has not found the net in three successive games since he did for the Blues in early 2019. Villa have been warned.

 

DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been in red-hot form this season and sits second in the Premier League's scoring charts with seven goals from six appearances. 

Expect him to add to that tally when Everton visit Newcastle, given his recent form against Steve Bruce's side. 

The England international has scored against the Magpies more than any other opponent in the top flight, with all four of his goals coming in his last three games against them.

The unpredictability of the new Premier League season continued over the weekend.

Everton's defeat at Southampton saw the last unbeaten record fall, Sunday's result at St Mary's Stadium coming after the previously perfect Aston Villa had lost to Leeds United on Friday.

Chelsea and Manchester United combined for no goals but plenty of talking points, Liverpool's ongoing issues with VAR continued and West Ham were a nuisance again for a member of the 'big six'.

Leicester City may sum up the early stages best, though. The Foxes have now won on their trips to Arsenal and Manchester City, but have also lost twice in three home games.

The conclusion to draw from it all is this: draw conclusions at your peril. Instead, here are some of the more interesting Opta facts from the latest round of action.

 

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Pep Guardiola had won all nine of his previous matches against West Ham in his managerial career, but there was to be no perfect 10.

Manchester City had to settle for a 1-1 draw as they became the latest team to struggle to contain Michail Antonio, a player who certainly has a sweet spot when it comes to goals. Well, less of a sweet spot and more of an area, actually.

Antonio's 39 Premier League goals have all come inside the penalty area. Only Gabriel Jesus (42) has managed more than that out of the current players in the division, though both are still short of the leader in this particular category, Tim Cahill.

The Australian's total of 56 tops the list, ahead of a former Hammer in Javier Hernandez (53). They are the only two to reach a half-century of goals when only scoring inside the box, while other notable penalty-area experts include John Terry (41), David Unsworth (39) and Kevin Doyle (37).

VARDY PARTY IN NORTH LONDON

Jamie Vardy likes playing against Arsenal. The striker's late winner for Leicester City on Sunday was his 11th goal against the Gunners in 12 Premier League games. Only Wayne Rooney has netted more against them – and his tally of 12 came in 29 outings.

It was also Vardy's fifth time on the scoresheet at Emirates Stadium, the most by any visiting player. Tottenham's Harry Kane has managed four, by the way, and has also scored 10 in 11 north London derby appearances.

Only one other player in Premier League history has managed double-digit goals when facing Arsenal. Robbie Fowler scored 10 in 18, including a hat-trick inside five minutes at Anfield in August 1994.

DRAWING CONCLUSIONS... AGAIN

We should have seen the result coming from Molineux. When Wolves and Newcastle United meet in the top flight, a draw is seemingly on the cards. Well, it is 73 per cent of the time.

Jacob Murphy cancelled out Raul Jimenez's 80th-minute opener, meaning for the eighth time in 11 Premier League matches, this fixture resulted in a drawn outcome. All those games have also seen both sides score, making it the most played tie in the competition in which neither side have kept a clean sheet.

Wolves had 63.4 per cent of the possession, yet it turns out they do not need more of the ball to be successful. Under Nuno Espirito Santo, they have won just one of the 11 games in which they have reached at least 60 per cent possession, with the solitary success coming against a Manchester City side that played for over 75 minutes with 10 men.

You win some. You lose some. Yet when it comes to Wolves against Newcastle, you mainly just draw.

"I NEED YOU TODAY, OH MENDY!"

Is Edouard Mendy the answer to Chelsea's goalkeeping conundrum? Well, one dodgy pass aside, there were positive signs from the Senegal international at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Mendy repelled Manchester United's occasional attempts that were on target (there were four, in case you had nodded off during proceedings), making him the first keeper for the Blues to keep a clean sheet in his opening two Premier League outings since new team-mate Petr Cech in August 2004.

Edinson Cavani became United's oldest player to make his Premier League debut since Zlatan Ibrahimovic when sent on in the second half, but the Uruguayan was unable to find a breakthrough. A point for the Red Devils, then, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad have failed to win any of their opening three home games in the league – that has not happened for United since the 1972-73 season.

David de Gea believes Manchester United would have been more deserving of the victory than Chelsea after the sides played out a dour goalless draw on Saturday.

United's winless run at Old Trafford in the Premier League stretched to a fifth game - their longest such league streak since February 1990 - after failing to find a way through.

Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy produced good saves to twice deny Marcus Rashford, including in the final stages, and also Bruno Fernandes.

In doing so, the Senegal international became the first Chelsea goalkeeper to keep a Premier League clean sheet away at United since Thibaut Courtois in December 2015

And Mendy's opposite number De Gea feels his side were hard done by to take just a point, which leaves them 15th in the table after five games.

"For me, we created enough chances to win the game. It was a tight game against a good team, of course, but I think we deserved a bit more," he told MUTV.

"I think we had two or three big chances, especially with Rashy, but the keeper saves them. That is fine and, like I said before, we deserve a bit more. 

"It was a tough game and now we need to look forward to the next game."

The clean sheet for United was their first in the Premier League this season and De Gea, who had just the one save to make, considers that a big positive to take from the game.

"I think for us it is very important to start to keep clean sheets, especially at home," he said. "Today we defended really well and didn't concede many chances. 

"We always try in every training session to improve, to make the team better defensively, work with each other, and talk to each other. 

"It was important today to get a clean sheet against a top team like the one we played today. That's the way to keep going and the way to win games."

Mendy nearly scored an own goal with one stray early pass but was otherwise impressive in his fourth outing for the club, earning particular praise from Frank Lampard after the game.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also picked out the 28-year-old as the game's key player as he became the first Chelsea keeper to keep a clean sheet in both of his first two league games for the club since Petr Cech in August 2004. 

"There were two good teams on display, with quality at either end of the pitch," he told MUTV. 

"You can see their keeper today, I think he's the match-winner with those two fantastic saves from Marcus. 

"The one in the second half, an unbelievable save. I'm standing just behind it and following it to the top corner. Great finish, great save.

"The first one was well blocked with his right foot. So I think it's an even game. I think we started a bit slow and didn't really put our authority on the game, but after about 20, 25 minutes I felt we took over and built pressure.

"I've just got to praise their keeper because those two saves are fantastic."

As he squinted through the relentless Old Trafford downpour for signs of encouragement, entertainment or life in general, Frank Lampard must have recoiled at a familiar sight.

Chelsea's goalkeeper had done something comical.

Edouard Mendy moved to Stamford Bridge from Rennes due to Kepa Arrizabalaga becoming hazardously accident prone.

Back in the side after a thigh-injury absence gave Kepa the change to add to his expanding portfolio of gaffes during the raucous 3-3 draw against Southampton, the 28-year-old Mendy kept a clean sheet in the midweek Champions League draw against Sevilla.

Half an hour had been played on Saturday when Mendy compromised his chances of another, turning and inexplicably passing the ball just wide of his right post. Manchester United only having a corner was something of a relief.

Perhaps Mendy wanted to give himself something to do. Goalmouth incidents had been few and far between in a game where each side decided dressing up as the Michelin Man was the best way to protect their glass jaws. Caution reigned in the rain.

But five minutes after his dalliance with slapstick, the Chelsea keeper stood firm to impressively deny Marcus Rashford with his right boot after Juan Mata released the England forward.

Roles were reversed before the break, with Rashford darting in from the left and Mata striking sweetly from the edge of the box. Mendy tipped assuredly around the post.

Lampard's preference for his goalkeeper to build play from the back presents Mendy with a learning process. In Ligue 1 last season. 56.7 per cent of his passes were classified as long balls, with 21 per cent of his goal kicks finding a team-mate.

At Old Trafford, he completed 17 of 23 passes (73.9 per cent), with only three passes into the opposition half - a definite step in the right direction despite trying conditions.

Mendy also looked to have his angles right when Edinson Cavani stole in at the near post to flick into the side netting from his first touch in a United shirt. The veteran Uruguay striker coming close to a dream start in England briefly raised the temperature of a dour contest.

In the Sky Sports studio, Patrice Evra might have compared Harry Maguire's headlock on Cesar Azpilicueta at a 40th-minute corner (the lack of a penalty in this VAR age was stupefying) to Hulk Hogan, but the general torpor of the occasion was more suited to The Undertaker.

It was a match that felt like a thick hangover from the goal-laden excess of the Premier League's opening weeks. Perhaps a realisation that, after all those ding-dong affairs, we enter the bleak British winter this weekend and a long, hard slog awaits.

What, exactly, do the division's big hitters have to show for indulging in this early-season free-for-all? Exhausted from demands across multiple competitions and a compressed close season, all the usual front-runners are floundering to some extent.

United have no wins from three home games and sit 15th, three places below neighbours Manchester City, who have had their worst start for six years and are level with Tottenham on eight points from five matches.

Liverpool had the chance to pull level with leaders Everton by the end of Saturday, but they have had a historic 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa and a probable season-ending injury to Virgil van Dijk for their troubles.

Chelsea are sixth, having won two out of six. It might be time for all to take a breath and fall back on fundamentals, such as a reliable goalkeeper.

Mendy might have flirted with disaster but the best of his four saves - springing to push Rashford's stoppage-time drive out of the top left corner - meant he emerged with a second shutout this week. Lampard will hope he has found his Mr Dependable.

Chelsea will be without Edouard Mendy against Southampton but head coach Frank Lampard is excited to have Hakim Ziyech available at last. 

Goalkeeper Mendy suffered a thigh injury on international duty with Senegal and will be unavailable for Saturday's game at Stamford Bridge. 

Lampard must now decide whether to start Kepa Arrizabalaga, who played in Spain's 0-0 friendly draw with Portugal, or veteran Willy Caballero. 

Thiago Silva will also miss out but there is better news in attack, with Christian Pulisic in line for his second league game of the season and Ziyech finally ready to be in the squad nearly three months after arriving from Ajax. 

"Mendy won't be fit for the match tomorrow," Lampard told reporters on Friday. "We hope the injury's not too long. 

"Thiago Silva, after his trip, he's not unfit but he's not ready to play the game because of the travelling and the game he played, so he won't be in the squad.  Ben Chilwell is in the squad, so he's got over some of the feeling which took him out of the England squad around the injury that he's had for a while.

"Christian Pulisic is in the squad and fit to play. Hakim Ziyech is in the squad, not fit to start but fit to participate some minutes, we hope. 

"He's worked so hard, he's been fantastic in terms of his professionalism to get fit and he looks really good in training. 

"It's match fitness. I've got a really open relationship with him to know where he's at and how I feel about it, so it's just game minutes we need now.

"But yes, of course, I'm excited to get him in and around it to bring what we brought him to the club for, which is to create chances for us, to be the talented player that we saw at Ajax and I look forward to seeing him play." 

Defender Antonio Rudiger is also vying for game time, having played all three of Germany's recent matches despite having not yet made an appearance for Chelsea this season. 

"Every player can play their way into the starting XI, the squad, that's in every player's hands," Lampard said. "That's how I try and work here: things I do are always for the best for the team, for the club, because we're trying to get results every week. 

"Players all know that and the beauty of the window now being shut is we can get to work, know what the squad is, everyone knows they can contribute, and we'll need them and rely on them because of the amount of games we play. 

"Toni's the same as every player on that one."

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has returned to the Premier League club after suffering a thigh injury while on international duty with Senegal.

The Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) confirmed on Thursday that Mendy has left the group following hospital tests on his right thigh.

Mendy will undergo further examinations once he is back in London.

Senegal are preparing for friendly matches against Morocco on Friday and Mauritania next Tuesday.

Mendy only completed a reported £22million (€24.2m) transfer to Chelsea from Ligue 1 outfit Rennes in September.

He played in the 1-1 EFL Cup draw with Tottenham, in which the Blues lost the tie on penalties, before making his Premier League debut in the 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace.

Frank Lampard's Chelsea resume their league campaign against Southampton at Stamford Bridge on October 17.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard praised Edouard Mendy following his debut for the Blues in their EFL Cup loss to London rivals Tottenham as Kepa Arrizabalaga watched from the bench.

Mendy made his first Chelsea appearance after leaving Rennes in a reported £20million deal last week and impressed, despite Tuesday's 5-4 penalty shoot-out defeat in the round of 16.

Starting ahead of embattled team-mate and the world's most expensive goalkeeper Kepa, who was dropped for the 3-3 Premier League draw at West Brom as Lampard turned to Willy Caballero, Mendy produced a good save to thwart Sergio Reguilon in the second half.

Discussing Mendy's performance at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Lampard told reporters: "I thought he was very good. I think he made a couple of good saves, one particularly good save.

"He came and caught a few balls, even the one he comes for and doesn't catch, the idea that he wants to and be positive isn't a bad thing. Very, very pleased with every part of his game really."

Erik Lamela's equaliser cancelled out Timo Werner's first-half opener for Chelsea in normal time as penalties were needed.

Werner – a high-profile signing from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig – struck his first Blues goal 19 minutes into the contest before Tottenham's Lamela drilled past Mendy with seven minutes remaining.

The first nine penalties of the ensuing shoot-out were converted before Mason Mount clipped the outside of the left post with the 10th, allowing Spurs to progress.

"Listen, I don't think 'a shattering blow' is what it should be, I know it was a disappointing night to get knocked out of the Carabao Cup," Lampard said. "Mason will have many more nights for this club and for his country where he'll play in games of huge importance and he'll be the deciding factor in a positive way.

"So no, Mason's got my support at all times, and the team's, and everybody around it. You miss a penalty, it's a collective when you get this far in a game like this."

Lampard added: "We were dominant and you want to score more goals at that point because of the amount of possession and chances. Callum [Hudson-Odoi] had a good chance for us in the first half.

"I think probably Tottenham would have felt that, they would have felt that hard and they changed their game and went longer in their build, which meant our press, which had been fantastic in the first half, wasn't so relevant up the pitch. They turned us round and made us run backwards rather than being able to press forwards. And then it becomes really difficult, to be fair to the lads.

"We could have been better in the second half and maybe dealt a bit better with that physical nature of Tottenham's game but it slightly changed the case of the game but I think even so, they had some chances second half and so did we and at 1-0, one more goal finishes it for us and we didn't get that."

Frank Lampard feels the intense spotlight on Kepa Arrizabalaga has been slightly unfair as he revealed the goalkeeper may yet play again for Chelsea, despite the arrival of Edouard Mendy.

Kepa was first choice to start the new season but lost his place after the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool, during which he made a crucial error to allow the reigning Premier League champions to double their lead at Stamford Bridge.

Willy Caballero was selected on Saturday against West Brom, where Chelsea fought back from 3-0 down at half-time to salvage a point, while Mendy has joined from Rennes to add further competition.

The new signing may push Kepa further down the pecking order, though Lampard has praised the Spain international's professionalism in training since being dropped.

"I certainly wouldn't go to the point as far as saying he [Kepa] has played his last game for Chelsea," Lampard told the media ahead of Tuesday's EFL Cup clash with Tottenham.

"It's been a difficult time for Kepa, that's well documented. I know it and he knows it, but we certainly shouldn't jump to that conclusion. 

"Also, and I've felt quite strongly about this in the last week, there is also the understanding that Kepa is a young man, and a lot of the spotlight on him has become slightly unfair. 

"I have to protect him because I know he's a good lad. He's playing with absolute professionalism and attempting to do the best he can, as all the squad have to."


The Chelsea boss revealed Mendy has quickly settled into life at the club and is in the squad to face Spurs, along with another new recruit in left-back Ben Chilwell, who made his bow off the bench in the last round against Barnsley.

However, Hakim Ziyech is not quite ready for a debut in the midweek London derby. Christian Pulisic is also unavailable, though the winger is nearing a return to action for the Blues.

"It's all very positive, the early signs and interactions, as a man and also on the training pitch," Lampard said of Mendy, who cost a reported £20million fee.

"He settled in very well in those few days and we've made him very welcome, as always.

"It's competition. He's a good goalkeeper and we know a lot about him. We will see how we go."

Frank Lampard believes the arrival of Edouard Mendy at Chelsea can help push Kepa Arrizabalaga, though the Blues manager did not rule out the possibility of the Spain international leaving.

Kepa was entrusted to start the Premier League season, but Chelsea have been in pursuit of another goalkeeper throughout the window.

Mendy arrived this week in a £22million transfer from Ligue 1 club Rennes, with Kepa having made a calamitous error in Chelsea's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool last weekend.

While Mendy will not start against West Brom on Saturday, Lampard did not confirm whether Kepa would play, and also did not close the door on the world's most expensive goalkeeper potentially leaving on loan.

'There's no clarity on that one yet, about what will happen, and I'm not going to speak about the maybes of what might happen in the future," Lampard told a news conference when asked if Kepa could be loaned out. 

"I think the most important thing right now is the game this weekend, in which Mendy won't be involved in. I'll have conversations with all the goalkeepers and be very open about it and we'll see the way to move forward.

"I'm not going to talk about who starts because I need to speak to the goalkeepers themselves and I'd much rather it be a conversation I had with them rather than they read it from yourselves.

"I think with the dynamic of the goalkeepers, we know we've had problems in the goalkeeping area in the first two games of the season and at times last year. We know that and I think we can be very honest and open about that, and Kepa is in that search for the best performance levels.

"Mendy comes in of course to be big competition in that area. Now it's about how we move forward, about trying to get that performance level as best as can be."

Mendy has followed in the footsteps of Chelsea great Petr Cech, who joined the club from Rennes in 2004 and now serves as the Blues' technical and performance advisor.

Recently, Cech has also been out on the training pitch with the goalkeeping unit.

"I think a combination of both," Lampard said when asked if Cech was coaching or simply keeping himself fit. 

"With Petr, he has so much to give on that side of things. Obviously his day job here is to be technical advisor and he's a great help to me on that front.

"I think having Petr train with the goalkeepers and bring his experience is a great thing because he still has great quality. I think he retired pretty young to be fair. So he's training and keeping fit, which I think is healthy for him and the goalkeepers in the squad and that's as far as it goes. I've got absolutely no problem with it.

"It's something that I think is positive for the goalkeepers as a whole and Petr enjoys doing it, so why not give back and give that experience to the goalkeepers."

Edouard Mendy is not in contention to start for Chelsea against West Brom on Saturday, Frank Lampard has confirmed.

Chelsea this week paid a reported £22million to sign goalkeeper Mendy from Ligue 1 side Rennes.

The 28-year-old is expected to take over from Kepa Arrizabalaga, who the Blues made the most expensive keeper in the world when they signed him from Athletic Bilbao for £71.6m in August 2018.

Kepa has made two errors leading to goals in as many Premier League appearances this season, though, but will not be displaced just yet.

"To start tomorrow is not going to happen," Lampard said when asked if Mendy was in contention to start at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

"He's had a long week where he hasn't really trained, flew in yesterday and it just feels like too tight of a turnaround to put him in contention to start the game."

Asked if he had spoken to Kepa since Mendy's arrival was confirmed, Lampard replied: "I haven't spoken to Kepa since then no. The announcement came and we trained and I didn't see Kepa, but I will have a conversation with him and Willy Caballero over the next 24 hours or so.

"I have a very open line of communication with both of them. It's important as goalkeepers, they have their own small union in the training ground because of the nature of the way they work together.

"It needs to be a very positive feeling between the goalkeepers and I'm sure there will be. There's good competition there now, we know that and it's how we move forward."

Chelsea also secured deals for Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr and Ben Chilwell prior to the 2020-21 season.

Antonio Rudiger and Jorginho have consequently been linked with exits from Stamford Bridge, but Lampard was giving nothing away on their futures.

"I don't expect anything in the window, because they're our players and that's a fact. There are lots of rumours about them and others," said the Chelsea boss.

"Every player will always be a case-by-case solution, that would be a happy solution for the player, the club and myself. Yes, we have a big squad, we know that, but at the moment players remain ours and we'll see as it goes on."

Lampard was similarly guarded when questioned on whether Declan Rice could be bought from West Ham before the transfer deadline on October 5.

"Again, they're rumours. I can't talk about these things but I know it's your job to ask," he said.

"When players are ours it's not my position to speculate on what may be because that's not my job, and the same on the other side with players that are playing for other clubs.

"We have a game against West Brom. My biggest thing is about getting the squad ready for that game."

Chelsea made Kepa Arrizabalaga the world's most expensive goalkeeper when they shelled out £71.6million to sign him in August 2018.

Club director Marina Granovskaia said upon the announcement of his arrival: "Kepa is a talent we have admired for a long time and we are extremely excited about his arrival.

"He has already demonstrated fantastic quality and consistency and will be a big part of any success Chelsea have in the coming years. His long-term contract reflects the belief we have in him and we look ahead to the coming seasons with an enormous sense of optimism."

Just over two years later, though, and Kepa's long-term future at the club is far from certain, with the Blues having paid £22m to bring in Edouard Mendy from Rennes.

Chelsea said Mendy had joined to "complement our existing group" of keepers, but he will be expected to swiftly make the starting spot his own after Kepa committed two errors leading to goals across the opening two games of the Premier League season.

With the help of Opta, we look at what Chelsea can expect from Mendy and how he compares to Kepa.

Safe hands

Mendy (24) made nine fewer league appearances than Kepa (33) in 2019-20, with the coronavirus pandemic having curtailed the Ligue 1 season when most teams still had 10 more fixtures to fulfil.

He conceded 19 goals and kept nine clean sheets as Rennes qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history, while Kepa let in 28 more and shut out the opposition one time less.

Mendy registered a far higher save percentage than the Blues keeper (76.3 per cent to 53.5 per cent) and blew him out of the water in terms of goals prevented.

According to expected goals on target data (xGoT), the shots on target faced by Mendy were enough to concede 21 goals. However, he only let in 18 (excluding own goals) and was therefore responsible for preventing three goals.

For Kepa, the numbers tell a far different story. An xGoT value of 34 compared to the 45 goals he let in (excluding own goals) means he conceded 11 more than expected.

On that basis alone, it is easy to see why Chelsea were keen to seek out an alternative.

On the deck

The move to Chelsea means Mendy may have to adapt to a different style of goalkeeping, though.

In the Premier League last season, 51 per cent of Kepa's 198 goal-kicks ended inside his own box.

 

However, Mendy sent far more of his long, with only 21 per cent of his 163 goal-kicks finding a recipient in his area.

Furthermore, over half of Mendy's passes (56.7 per cent) were classified as long balls, with Kepa's ratio down at 33.7 per cent. Despite that, though, his average of 20.1 successful passes per 90 minutes was just 2.6 fewer than the Spaniard.

Unless Chelsea specifically want greater emphasis on long-range distribution, Mendy could require some time to adjust to playing a shorter passing game.

But if he is able to adapt, Kepa may find his game time at Stamford Bridge severely limited.

Chelsea have signed Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes on a five-year contract, the Premier League club said on Thursday.

The big-spending Blues have reportedly paid just over £20million to bring 28-year-old Mendy to Stamford Bridge.

Mendy's arrival in London will cast doubt over the future of the error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga, who made another costly mistake in Chelsea's Premier League defeat to Liverpool last weekend.

The towering Mendy helped Ligue 1 side Rennes qualify for the Champions League for the first time last season and now becomes Frank Lampard's eighth new recruit in the transfer window.

Mendy said: "I am so excited to be joining Chelsea. It's a dream for me to be a part of this exciting squad and to work with Frank Lampard and all of his coaching staff.

"I look forward to meeting my team-mates and can't wait to get started."

Blues director Marina Granovskaia explained that Petr Cech, Chelsea's former goalkeeper and current technical and performance adviser, picked out Mendy as an ideal candidate.

Granovskaia said: "As soon as Petr Cech and our technical team identified Edouard as the most suitable goalkeeper to complement our existing group, there was only one player we wanted to bring in.

"Edouard arrives following a season of real success with Rennes, he is ambitious for more, and we welcome him to our club."

Mendy, who will also compete with Willy Caballero for a starting berth, impressed during a three-year spell at Reims before making the switch to Rennes.

He kept 13 clean sheets and conceded just 31 goals in 33 matches in his only full season with Rennes before the French campaign was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cech also moved from Rennes to Chelsea, making that switch 16 years ago.

Chelsea have signed Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes on a five-year contract, the Premier League club said on Thursday.

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