The Spanish right-back has been receiving mixed reviews from fans. What is your opinion on the 23-year-old?
Since first utilising the Brazilian in midfield during the FIFA Club World Cup Rafa Benitez has been pushing forward David Luiz in to a more advanced position on a regular basis. With club captain John Terry currently out injured that has led to a defensive re-jig. Branislav Ivanovic has predominantly been used as a powerful right-back during his time in London but has been asked to play alongside Gary Cahill in the heart of defence in recent weeks.
That has meant an opportunity for Spanish right-back Cesar Azpilicueta to feature much more regularly for The Blues. The 23-year-old was a summer signing from Marseille costing in the region of £7 million and was described at the time by Juan Mata as ‘already a complete player’.
Obviously brought in as a player for the future he was perhaps not expecting to feature quite as much as he has been recently under his compatriot Benitez.
He featured in the game with Swansea City in the League Cup on Wednesday as Chelsea were beaten at home by the Welsh outfit; leaving them with an uphill task of overturning a 2-0 deficit in South Wales to reach Wembley.
In terms of criticism after the game much was levied at Ivanovic for an uncharacteristically poor performance and Fernando Torres whose languid displays continue to frustrate the Chelsea faithful. However Azpilicueta did not find himself immune to such criticism. Most of this stemmed from his poor delivery throughout the fixture and in recent weeks; which is odd considering he started his career as a right-winger in the youth system of Osasuna.
On the other hand not everybody was quite as critical of the young Spaniard’s performances. While his crossing may have been off the boil many fans were impressed by his energy down the right hand side and clever runs beyond Ben Davies; even if his end product was not necessarily up to scratch.
Here are some Tweets highlighting the issue…
I think Cesar Azpilicueta should have the Chelsea right-back role as first choice what a young player he is— Liam O'Hare (@ArgyleTillIDie4) January 9, 2013
Don't think I am wrong in saying Azpilicueta has been CFC's best summer buy.— Shivam(@shivamLM) January 9, 2013
Rate Azpilicueta— D∆niel (@DanielBruce_22) January 9, 2013
Compare and contrast Cole's contribution to that of a newbie Azpilicueta in recent weeks. Says it all, doesn't it?— ♛ DANNY ♛ (@DannyDoes) January 9, 2013
Azpilicueta isn't cutting it at right back. Crosses are poor, often caught in possession & out of position— dabs (@darrellsHungry) January 9, 2013
Azpilicueta's crosses are terrible. We need a better right back— ChelseaFCNews (@CFCFanNews) January 9, 2013
Ivanovic should start playing at right-back, where he's used to and dump this Azpilicueta guy back to the bench, where he belongs.— Derek (@The5pecial0ne) January 10, 2013
And if Azpilicueta ever shoots again, I will look for him...— James Ward (@jamesagward) January 9, 2013
What is your opinion on Cesar Azpilicueta so far? A hot prospect or not good enough?
image: © geetarchurchy