GB Views: Chelsea’s key to winning for the Premier League has been for there for almost a decade.
Chelsea have a real case for possessing the best captain
Jose Mourinho has won all there is to win in football.
The Portuguese manager has won 2 champion’s leagues and titles in 4 countries, a CV big enough to earn the respect of any player, manager and owner.
It takes a lot to earn his respect and high profile fallings out with Paul Pogba, Iker Casillas and Eden Hazard prove it takes a lot to impress him.
So, it’s high praise for Chelsea’s César Azpilicueta that way back in 2014:
"Azpilicueta is the kind of player I like a lot. I think a team with 11 Azpilicueta's would probably win the competition (Champions League) because football is not just about pure talent."
The Spanish international has won 8 trophies under 9 managers at the club, making more appearances than Didier Drogba in the process.
His adaptability and resilience has been key to this success. With Jose Mourinho’s title winning campaign in 2014-15 he was a hard-hitting reliable left back, combining with a prime Eden Hazard while also covering for the Belgian’s defensive frailties.
Fast-forward two years and the player, now established as one of the best defenders in world football, was incomparable in his quality as part of a back three under Antonio Conte.
The Italian manager was insistent on ball-playing defenders and Azpilicueta thrived under his new responsibility.
Transport ourselves to the pandemic ridden 2020-21 Champions League campaign and the now Chelsea captain was instrumental in holding back the frightening attacking line-up of Manchester City.
The captain lifted the European trophy high above his head in front of a reduced crowd of die-hard blues, an iconic moment symbolising a nine-year journey after joining Chelsea in the summer of 2012.
Just three months after their last previous Champions League win.
This season, however, is different.
The two previous title wins came when Chelsea had arguably the best squad and manager in the league.
Now despite European glory and the addition of £97.5 million striker, Romelu Lukaku, this season is about as predictable as the first season of Game of Thrones.
Liverpool’s first 11 is still close enough to the side that won the title in 2020 to beat anyone in world football. Manchester City have the greatest manager of the modern era as well as a squad struggling to contain its sheer quality. While Manchester United, when playing well, have the greatest goal-scorer in history at the point of their attack.
Cesar Azpilicueta now leads a Chelsea side full of youth and quality but still question marks persist over their temperament and maturity against teams they should be beating.
West Brom, Wolves and Aston Villa all delivered Chelsea damaging blows to their title hopes last season, although it should be said that Thomas Tuchel did steady the ship following the sacking of Frank Lampard and, despite the turmoil, Azpilicueta continued to deliver solid performances.
Azpilicueta remains the only survivor of the dominant Jose Mourinho Chelsea that won the league so convincingly won the league nearly six years ago.
Azpilicueta must now act as the guiding hand to the newer Blues who haven’t yet tasted domestic success.
Chelsea arguably may not have the best squad to win the league, but they have a real case for possessing the best captain.