When we announced the signing of Cesar Azpilicueta last season, many fans were left scratching their heads and asking “who?”. Azpi began his career at Spanish side Osasuna, and he soon caught the eye of French giants Marseille. Two impressive seasons for Marseille and one lengthy cruciate ligament injury later and Chelsea came calling with a bid rumoured to be around €7million. In the early games of the season, Azpi looked nervous and out of sorts. It’s a huge step up from Marseille to Chelsea, and it showed. Azpi struggled to cement his place.
It wasn’t until Rafa Benitez’s arrival that Azpilicueta really got the chance to prove himself. With Benitez seemingly preferring Ivanovic as a centre half and David Luiz as a central midfielder, the role was Azpi’s for the taking…and take it he has. Having already notched up 4 assists this season (the same number as Oscar), Azpilicueta is quickly proving himself to be an attacking full back very similar in style to his counterpart at left back – Ashley Cole. Like Cole, Azpi loves to get forward, and his crossing is dangerous and exciting. Most likely a product of his original position as a midfielder, Azpilicueta whips the ball in to the box at the earliest opportunity. It gives Chelsea a different dimension when attacking, and has caused devastation so far this season.
Azpilicueta’s success has shown that despite what the media and many managers may say, there are players out there that are not only affordable, but capable of making the step up to a big team. If he continues to develop and progress, Azpilicueta has every chance of becoming a tremendous player, and Chelsea’s first choice right back for years to come. With players like this coming through and last year’s acquisitions having a full season under their belt to settle in to the club, this sure is an exciting time to be a Chelsea fan. Bring on Mourinho!