César Azpilicueta: Chelsea's Next Great Right Back

Yesterday's demolition of Wolves featured a number of exciting Chelsea prospects: Victor Moses, Marko Marin and Lucas Piazon. Yet it was the assured performance César Azpilicueta that impressed the most
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Chelsea vs Wolves: César Azpilicuetais Chelsea's Next Great Right Back

As far as progressions into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup go, Chelsea couldn’t have had it much more straightforward than their rout of Wolves last night. Six goals from six different goalscorers capped off an accomplished team display against a below-full strength Wolves side, meaning Chelsea have a bit of momentum going into their London derby with Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime. The game also featured debuts for Lucas Piazon and César Azpilicueta, a first start for Moses as well as Marko Marin’s first competitive appearance for Chelsea. The teamsheet had an average age of 24 years last night, and judging from the way they brushed past Wolves, the best from this lot could be yet to come.

The first goalscorer, Gary Cahill, is much an embodiment of this as anyone else. Although he only joined Chelsea this January, he already feels like somewhat of a veteran of the team, having won an FA Cup with the club as well as being an integral cog to the side that defeated Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. Cahill started out a little shakily for Chelsea but has since promptly developed under the tutelage of John Terry and really come into his own. Surprisingly soft-spoken for such tank of a man, Cahill is exhibiting all the defensive nous – the blocks, the positioning as well as the last-ditch tackling that have served Terry so well as a defender, but, graciously for Chelsea fans, comes with none of the off-pitch baggage. I’ve often said this, but I feel it worth repeating; when the time comes for Terry and Lampard to hang up their boots, Cahill has to be a shoo-in for our long-term captain.

Chelsea fans can expect to see a backline of Azpilicueta - Cahill - Luiz – Bertrand at some point in the future

Another defender who caught the eye was César Azpilicueta, who was as effective going forward and supplying compatriot Juan Mata as he was classy in defence. The Spaniard is only 23 - the same age David Luiz was when he was signed by the club – and on his performance last night, should hopefully sort out the right-back position which has long been an issue for Chelsea. With the likely prospect of Terry seeing a lengthy ban from the FA, should one of Cahill or Luiz get injured, then Ivanovic would slot in at centreback alongside them, with Azpilicueta then fully acquainting himself with the right back berth. Between having Azpilicueta as a back-up right back and Ryan Bertrand as a understudy left-back (who produced another fine display last night and even had time to score a stylish goal), Chelsea fans can expect to see a backline of Azpilicueta - Cahill - Luiz – Bertrand at some point in the future. As far as young defences go, it's certainly not a bad one.

There were also some eye-catching turns in attack. Victor Moses, the winger signed from Wigan, was lively when he came on as a sub against Stoke, and played his part in the goal on Saturday, which saw the ball travelling from Luiz, to Cole, to Lampard, to Moses, to Ivanovic, to Mata, then finally for Cole to score. Last night, Moses played the full ninety minutes and in doing so not only scored a header, but also assisted Romeu’s penalty. On replay, it has to be said that there was more than a hint of dive in Moses earning it. This troubles me, as, with Chelsea already accruing somewhat of a reputation for going to ground too easily this season with Hazard and Torres, could find their image of this exacerbated by Moses’ antics last night. This could prove costly on occasions in big games when we genuinely deserve a spot-kick, and referees are reluctant to award one.

Nonetheless, that aside, Moses had a very good game, his relentless work ethic proving particularly popular with the Stamford Bridge faithful; football fans love a trier. There was even time for an appearance for little Marko Marin, who’s time in English football has so far unfortunately been blighted by a hamstring injury. He came on for Man of the Match Juan Mata (who scored the most delicious goal of the six), and in his brief twenty minute cameo exhibited all the dynamism and flair that turned so many heads at Werder Bremen. It’s early days, but there’s something about that beaky German that tells me he’s going to be a favourite of mine.

All the Media eyes were on John Terry yesterday – witness the headlines of “Terry earns some respite from trial,” “Terry enjoys six of the best”, but in truth, he was one of the quietest players on a night when all the young stars found themselves shining. Despite it being regarded as a bit of a joke competition compared to the other trophies, Chelsea will still do all they can to win the Carling, sorry, Capital One Cup. This is because any silverwear to them is silverwear nonetheless – a mentality fostered under Mourinho, who masterminded Chelsea to two of their four Carling Cup trophies, in 2005 and 2007 (the other two coming in 1965 and 1998). With Manchester City having a shock exit last night at home to Aston Villa, Chelsea will now be one of the favourites for the competition. The League Cup would be a great platform to continue fielding the more junior players to give them some much needed playing time, and although there will be far more bruising ties to come, on the balance of last night, the future, for Chelsea, is very bright indeed.

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