Richard Buxton: Stamford Bridge in troubled waters
Kepa is just the latest in a long line of Chelsea mutineers
Brutus continues to take multiple forms within the Chelsea dressing room.
Eden Hazard was accused of forming a treacherous triumvirate that knifed Jose Mourinho in the back, while Diego Costa, another alleged protagonist, did the same to Antonio Conte.
Now Maurizio Sarri knows how it feels to be on the receiving end of such insubordination.
The refusal of Kepa Arrizabalaga to leave the pitch in the Blues' eventual 4-3 League Cup final defeat by Manchester City at Wembley yesterday morning (Singapore time) was a sliding-door moment.The match finished 0-0 after extra-time.
Sarri already knows he might not see out the season with Chelsea. His stint at Stamford Bridge could be over by the end of the week.
Given the choice, a repeat of their 6-0 humiliation by City a fortnight ago would have been preferable to the Italian than being rendered powerless in this very public upstaging.
On the say-so of the world's most expensive goalkeeper, a potential turning point for Sarri's beleaguered tenure rapidly devolved into a final nail in his managerial coffin at Chelsea.
Until Arrizabalaga's open defiance in the throes of extra-time, Sarri appeared to have temporarily jarred the west Londoners' revolving door.
He resisted the temptation of familiarity and sent on someone other than Mateo Kovavic in Ross Barkley's place.
Chelsea had matched the reigning EPL champions pound for pound, offering hopes of ending their manager's career-long silverware drought.
Had his final substitution been allowed to go unchallenged, they would have doubtless gone one better in the ensuing penalty shoot-out.
City's trepidation at the sight of their former goalkeeper Willy Caballero preparing to take to the field was inevitable.
The Argentinian's spot-kick heroics saw them best Liverpool in the 2016 showpiece, and he would almost certainly have given his current employers an upper hand in the same scenario.
No one knows Pep Guardiola's side better from 12 yards than Caballero.
Having faced Sergio Aguero and company daily for three years, Caballero would have been an invaluable asset to Sarri during the shoot-out.
Like those who went before him, however, the former Napoli coach found his authority severely undermined as Arrizabalaga ultimately allowed player power to win through again.
He is not the first to learn where the true power behind the throne lies in the English capital.
But Sarri is just as culpable as his petulant No. 1 for how events played out.
If the usually sanguine 60-year-old had stood his ground, rather than storming off down the tunnel, he could have been marking the 16th major trophy of Roman Abramovich's ownership.
By nature, Chelsea managers cannot command respect from their inner sanctum because they are afforded neither the time nor tools to achieve it.
Overruling a largely autonomous crop of players would go some way in arresting Abramovich's now-botched vanity project.
The Russian billionaire's continued absence has seen chaos reign both on and off the pitch.
A looming two-window transfer ban will prove a poisoned chalice for whoever succeeds Sarri, with Hazard's long-touted move to Real Madrid finally set to materialise.
For now, all parties continue to sing rather unconvincingly from the same hymn sheet.
A simple misunderstanding, rather than mutiny, is the stock response to the Wembley wobbler.
Arrizabalaga insists he was playing for time. All he has done is run down the clock on Sarri.
CHELSEA: Arrizabalaga, Emerson, Luiz, Ruediger, Azpilicueta, , Jorginho, Barkley (Loftus-Cheek 89), Kante, Willian (Higuain 95), Hazard, Pedro (Hudson-Odoi 79)
MAN CITY: Ederson, Zinchenko, Laporte (Kompany 46), Otamendi, Walker, D. Silva (Guendogan 79), Fernandinho (Danilo 91), de Bruyne (Sane 86), Sterling, Aguero, B. Silva