Cesar Azpilicueta named the Premier League's best defender

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Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta is the best defender in the Premier League, according to Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.

The former Manchester United and Liverpool stars know quite a bit about defending themselves following long and successful careers at the top of the English game.

Since retiring in the past couple of years, both Neville and Carragher have taken on roles in the media, and have earned widespread praise for the unique insight they provide during the flagship Monday Night Football show.

In the build-up to this week's clash between Queens Park Rangers and Sunderland, the former foes were unequivocal in their support for Azpilicueta when discussing the dying art of defending in England's current top-flight.

Both Neville and Carragher identified Jose Mourinho's Chelsea team as the most tactically resolute side in the division, and picked out the Spain international for special praise when it comes to his traditional defensive displays.

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"Azpilicueta is as near to perfect as possible when it comes to defending." - Gary Neville

"I'd say, for consistency of performances, it would be one of the Chelsea lads – and I'd probably say Azpilicueta," enthused Neville. "For technical defending, not making a mistake, not being in the wrong position, not getting caught out.

"I don't see him making a mistake. And I have to say the Chelsea defenders aren't far behind him; Gary Cahill, John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic.

"But Azpilicueta, when I watch him, he's as near to perfect as possible when it comes to defending; he's immaculate."

Neville and Carragher in agreement

In previous years, supporters would never have believed a day would come where Neville and Carragher were on the same side, given that they spent their entire careers representing two bitter Premier League rivals.

However, the ex-Anfield man was in agreement with the old Red Devils right-back, whilst also suggesting that players of Azpilicueta's ilk are few and far between in the modern era, with most marauding full-backs more focused on the attacking aspects of their game.

"I totally agree," he said. "I think those Chelsea players, all of them, they defend properly.

"We see that in terms of the number of goals they've conceded, the clean sheets they keep.

"Azpilicueta is an out-and-out defender. You very rarely see anybody get the better of him. He'd be my number one."

Quality signing

The former Marseille man has gone quietly about his business at Stamford Bridge, since signing for Chelsea for a relatively modest £7 million fee in the summer of 2012.

Arriving as a right-back following impressive performances in the Spain U21 set-up, he has been successfully converted into a left-sided defender, keeping Ashley Cole out of the team for the majority of his final season in west London.

Mourinho knows exactly how important a player that Azpilicueta has become in the Blues side, and praised the 25-year-old's attributes, claiming earlier this year that a team of 11 Azpilicueta's would be capable of winning the Champions League, so impressive is the character and personality he portrays on the football pitch.

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