Cesar Azpilicueta's pre-match rallying cry seemed to do the trick, as Chelsea stormed to a 2-0 victory over London rivals Tottenham in the Capital One League Cup final on Sunday afternoon. Prior to kick-off the Spaniard had expressed his desire to 'fight for the first title of the season', and fight, he did.
At left-back, he was given a hard time by the direct running of Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker. Nonetheless, he dealt adeptly with the Tottenham duo throughout proceedings, frequently showing Townsend, in particular, onto his weaker right foot and blunting his threat as a result. It, therefore, comes as little surprise that he reached full-time with a match best nine tackles.
He gave blood for the cause, literally in the second half, as he finished the game wearing a head bandage following a clash with Harry Kane; a vivid indicator of his commitment. This knock occurred towards the latter stages of an instrumental defensive performance, in which he recorded five interceptions - more than any other player - and four clearances.
In an attacking capacity, Azpilicueta linked up well with Eden Hazard. He provided a threat going forward whenever possible, despite finding himself mostly restricted to his own half. His defensive duties naturally remained the key priority. Needless to say, the duo formed quite a force down the left-hand side, accruing 111 touches between them.
His distribution will have disappointed somewhat, as he completed just 75% of his attempted passes. However, this was by no means the lowest success rate among the Chelsea squad. Clearly the intensity of the occasion had an impact on the usually cool-headed nature of Jose Mourinho's side.
Azpilicueta's display will probably fall under the radar following the goal scoring heroics of teammates John Terry and Diego Costa, but his input was vitally important to the club's superb victory. The way in which he suppressed the threat of both Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker should not go unnoticed.