Olivier Giroud, Mason Mount and Antonio Rudiger were on the scoresheet in Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Manchester United, but Cesar Azpilicueta’s brilliant display went rather unnoticed.
The 30-year-old is Chelsea’s Mr Consistent, the team captain who is expected to perform on a week-to-week basis that his impacts sometimes went under the radar.
Azpilicueta predominantly plays as a right-back under Frank Lampard. But when Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri were not up to the task, he sometimes took on the role on the other side of the pitch.
In yesterday’s win over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, the Spain international played as a right centre-back in a back three and did the job brilliantly.
Azpilicueta made three tackles and two interceptions throughout the game and won three out of his four duels (75% win rate).
Not only that, the skipper also had a major impact in the final third despite playing a deeper role, making two key passes including his assist for Olivier Giroud’s opening goal.
It’s worth noting that the former Marseille defender has had six assists in the Premier League this season, the second-most among Chelsea players — with only Willian having more (seven assists).
Having an experienced, relatively consistent defender who can play different defensive positions and has a major impact in the final third, Chelsea fans couldn’t have asked for a better man as a leader.