HEAD-TO-HEAD: Cesar Azpilicueta vs Ryan Bertrand - How does the Chelsea star compare with the Blues loanee

Jose Fonte has been impressed with Ryan Bertrand in his loan spell with Southampton - but does he match up to Chelsea’s first choice left-back?

Head To Head Azpilicueta vs Bertrand

Central defender Fonte suggested that a series of strong performances with the Saints could see 25-year-old Bertrand work his way back into the England set-up, having been awarded two caps in 2012.

His career at Chelsea has never really taken off, making just over 50 appearances for the Blues since arriving from Gillingham in 2006, although he won the Champions League, the Europa League and the FA Cup during his time in West London.

His loan spell to the South Coast is his seventh away from Chelsea, and at the age of 25, it grows increasingly unlikely that a position in Jose Mourinho’s first-team will be his.

The man that replaced Bertrand following his arrival was Cesar Azpilicueta, also 25-years-old, and a consistent member of the Spanish national team. Despite being a right-footed, right-sided full-back, Azpilicueta was preferred on the left of defence than either of the natural options of Bertrand and Ashley Cole, and it appears as if Mourinho considers him to be the most adaptable - and most dependable - man in his back-line.

Both Bertrand and Azpilicueta have made played every minute of the Premier League campaign so far, and so we take a look at the duo to compare their respective seasons.

  PositionTeamAppearancesMins PlayedGoalsAssistsKey PassesAccurate Crosses
César Azpilicueta DF Chelsea 6 540 0 1 5 2
Ryan Bertrand DF Southampton 6 540 1 1 4 5

As can be seen, both full-backs have enjoyed good, if not spectacular, seasons as attacking forces, with Bertrand the only one of the pair to find the scoresheet so far; he netted the opening goal against QPR on Saturday. Both have registered one assist, with Azpilicueta setting up Diego Costa this weekend, and it is the current Chelsea man who has played one more key pass than his South Coast counterpart - five to four. However, Bertrand is much more precise with his crossing, playing five accurate balls into the box, compared with Azpilicueta’s two; due to the Spaniard’s left-sided play, he often cuts in onto his right foot, and it was no surprise to see his asset for Costa at the weekend coming from a chipped ball from his right.

This makes Bertrand appear more technically able from an attacking sense, but when viewed in a defensive manner, the current Chelsea man has fought for the right to hold a valuable place in the Blues back-line.

  Goals ConcededError Leading To ShotBlocksTackles WonClearancesDuels WonAerials WonInterceptions
Azpilicueta 7 0 1 17 25 31 11 15
Bertrand 4 0 2 6 6 31 12 13

Despite conceding more goals than Bertrand, Azpilicueta has put in a harder working shift combined this season, winning 17 tackles and 25 clearances to the six of each made by the Southampton man. He has made less blocks and won fewer aerial duels, but by a negligible number that hardly impacts across 540 minutes of Premier League action.

Whilst seeing another academy graduate leaving Chelsea, especially an English one, must not bring much pleasure to the Blues faithful, it is hard to argue against Azpilicueta as the best of the duo - and as one of the best full-backs in the division. He fought hard to break into the first-team, and now that he is guaranteed a starting role every week, the fan favourite is clearly not destined to lose his place with performances of such high quality in the Premier League.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch