Alvarez responds to Kepas bid to copy Martinezs penalty mind games in Man Citys FA Cup clash with Chelsea

Kepa Arrizabalaga tried to copy the penalty mind games of Emi Martinez in Chelsea’s FA Cup clash with Manchester City, but Julian Alvarez prevailed.

WHAT HAPPENED? The reigning Premier League champions were awarded a spot-kick half-an-hour into a heavyweight encounter at the Etihad Stadium that they already led courtesy of a stunning free-kick from Riyad Mahrez. Argentina international forward Alvarez, who saw fellow countryman Martinez help his nation to World Cup glory in Qatar with more shootout heroics, stepped up from 12 yards and successfully converted despite the best efforts of Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa to put him off.

WHAT THEY SAID: Alvarez told ESPN afterwards of Kepa’s efforts to emulate Martinez: “The goalkeepers always try to do their thing, it doesn’t bother me at all. I try to be focused on my job. I had already decided which way I was going to shoot and well, it was a goal.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Martinez has mastered the art of distracting opponents when it comes to penalties, having starred in Copa America and World Cup shootouts, but Kepa is considered to have always been fighting a losing battle when it came to his personal duel with Alvarez. BBC Sport pundit Gary Lineker said when reacting to Kepa’s pre-penalty antics: “What about this… I think Alvarez is probably saying, ‘mate, I’ve just won a gold medal at the World Cup, I’m not worried about you’.” Micah Richards said “not quite Emi Martinez, is he?”, before Lineker replied: “Pound shop Emi Martinez.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

Mind games don’t work on @FIFAWorldCup winners 🙅#EmiratesFACup pic.twitter.com/wv4BD8NvJU