“And I think at this moment Azpilicueta is unbeatable. For many, many matches I haven’t seen one player beat Azpilicueta in an individual duel” - The Special One.
When you can keep England’s best and arguably the world’s best left back out of the team, you must be something special.
Ashley Cole must be trying to figure out what he’s doing wrong, but the truth is, he is not at fault.
Azpilicueta has been nothing short of a revelation. Be it playing in his more accustomed position of right-back, or shouldering the responsibilities of the left-back, he has been on top of his game.
Not to forget those blistering (although occasional) runs. Remember his goal against Arsenal in the Capital One Cup where he was the farthest man up the pitch. What about his assist for Torres’ goal against Galatasaray in the Champions League?
Chelsea fans might see a defender win the Player of the Season award for the first time since John Terry was chosen as the Player of the Year in 2005
A steal from Marseille at (what now seems) a paltry £7m, Azpi has been rising in confidence ever since.
He never stops running and chasing the opponents, and wins almost every tackle, rarely making any rash challenge. He stays up on his feet till the last moment, and doesn’t dive in to get the ball.
His technique of keeping his arms behind his back while blocking crosses is commendable. In fact, if not for him, the number of balls in the box would have been considerably higher. He has also bettered his heading abilities, often criticized by many.
And he’s so focussed and down to earth (reminding us of a certain Juan Mata).
What makes him really deserve the Chelsea Player of the Year award is his consistency. His persistence and ever-improving performances have made him an integral part of Mourinho’s style of play, starting 18 of the 29 games in the league.
Such has been his importance to this Chelsea side that Ryan Bertrand, very much part of the team a while back, has been forced to spend his time at Aston Villa instead.
He is a perfect role model for the kids today who aspire to be defenders. Total commitment and concentration. Strong, keeps his head down, and is never afraid of powering through.
His incredible displays for Chelsea earned him a fully deserved call-up for Spain’s friendly against Italy, where he was rock-solid as usual and put in some great crosses, and which Spain won 1-0.
Watching his energy and never-say-die attitude fires me up. I'm certain it motivates the other Chelsea players to give it their all too.
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