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Real Madrid’s goalkeeper dilemma: Kepa Arrizabalaga or Andriy Lunin?

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In the midst of uncertainty, Real Madrid grapples with the question of their primary goalkeeper, prompting manager Carlo Ancelotti to address the matter humorously.

The ongoing debate took a new turn as Kepa Arrizabalaga, previously replaced after a shaky performance, saw Andriy Lunin take the stage confidently in a 4-1 victory against Barcelona.

Contradictory statements from Ancelotti have fueled speculation about a potential rotation policy.

While media outlets speculated that Arrizabalaga would handle league games, and Lunin would feature in the Copa del Rey and Champions League, Ancelotti insists no firm decision has been made.

Arrizabalaga’s initial role as the favored goalkeeper was influenced by the coaching staff’s positive view, especially Madrid’s goalkeeping coach, Luis Llopis. However, coaching reports on Lunin were initially negative, leading to discussions about signing another goalkeeper.

The uncertainty continued as Ancelotti alternated between Arrizabalaga and Lunin, with unclear messaging adding to the confusion.

The statistical analysis using expected goals on target (xGOT) reveals both goalkeepers surpassing expectations, with Lunin consistently outperforming this metric over his career.

Stylistically, Lunin distinguishes himself by coming off his line more frequently than Arrizabalaga, showcasing different strengths in handling crosses. Despite their differences, Ancelotti and his team recognize the strengths of both goalkeepers.

Contractual situations for Arrizabalaga and Lunin are unlikely to be decisive factors in determining the primary goalkeeper.

While Madrid faces challenges in signing Arrizabalaga permanently, sources close to Lunin reveal his desire for a contract renewal but no offer from Madrid as of now.

As the battle for the No. 1 spot continues, Real Madrid navigates the complexities of managing two capable goalkeepers in a season full of uncertainties.

Source: Mario Cortegana, The Athletic

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