On Saturday, we saw a Chelsea side, looking to go further ahead of everybody else in the league, play against a Spurs side, eager to push for a Champions League spot. Playing at Stamford Bridge, most people guessed right about the result, with Chelsea comfortably winning, adding to their impressive home record under Mourinho. The game hit the headlines for an Eto’o celebration and a Kaboul sending off, with the performances of the players overlooked, and especially one player in particular, Cesar Azpilicueta.
The Spaniard, a player who Chelsea fans were unsure about to begin with, has finally began to find his feet under Mourinho, playing at left back, replacing Ashley Cole. In his 18th start of the season this weekend, Cesar produced one of his best defensive displays in a Blue shirt.
Azpilicueta attempted 5 tackles, and won all 5, which was joint highest on the pitch alongside fellow Blue Matic. He won 6 out of his 9 (67%) ground duels and won both of his aerial duels, the most on the team – joint with Cahill. The full back also completed 4 clearances, with half of them being headed clearances. His drive and aggression to win the ball back was evidently on show, but in some cases it was too much, giving away 3 free kicks and entering the referee’s book with a yellow card.
The Spaniard completed 35 out of 41 (85%) passes; 11 (32%) of which went forward, 4 (12%) went back and 20 (56%) went to the right. He produced 1 successful long ball out of an attempted 4, which gave him a long ball accuracy of 25%.
Azpilicueta made the majority of his total passes in the defensive half with a massive 61%, and only made 39% of his total passes in the attacking half. This means that out of his 41 attempted passes, 25 out of 25 were made in the defensive half and 10 out of 16 in the attacking, which shows he was more accurate inside his own half. He completed only 1 out of his 3 attempted passes in the final third, but was able to pass the ball into the final third 6 times.
In possession he was reliable, taking 67 touches of the ball and only losing it 9 times. He made one interception and recovered the ball 6 times, 4 in the defensive third and 3 in the midfield third. He also completed his only attempted dribble in the match.
The full back continues to grow in confidence under Mourinho and this is showing in his performances, getting better and better as the games go on. He is finally settled down at Chelsea and showing why 7 million was a bit of a bargain for a player who works hard from start to finish. Soon he will get the praise he deserves from fans everywhere. Whether or not he will make the Spain squad is a big question, we will just have to wait and see.