Cesar Azpilicueta has been a regular part of Chelsea defence ever since joining from Marseille in 2012. He was named as the club captain before the start of the 2019-20 season and Chelsea won last season Champions League trophy under his captaincy. The current European champions are at the top of the Premier League table with 16 points in seven games. Some of the football pundits regard him as one of the best one on one defenders. Now let’s look at how the Spaniard’s stats and how he has led his team this season in the Premier League.
Azpilicueta has featured in all seven matches and played in right-back or right wing-back position. He has played five full matches and has been subbed on and off in the other two matches. The defender already has added two assists to his name and his xA rate of the season is 1.01. Azpilicueta has made 46 recoveries and 15 of those have been in the opposition half. He has also made 30 interceptions this season. One of the shots attempted by Azpilicueta hit the crossbar and then it was converted into a goal by Ben Chilwell.
The above viz shows the stats of the first seven games played by Azpilicuta last season. He provided one assist and his xA rate was only 0.34. The Spaniard was focusing more on defence last season and this season he has been more of an attacking threat. There are fewer crosses attempts and touches in the opposition box are also fewer.
This is the pass map of Azpilicueta in the current season. From this, we can figure out that he has attempted a lot of passes into the opposition box. The two assists he provided were to Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku. Some of his passes have created a high xG rate and especially those balls that are inside or just outside the 6-yard box. These passes include 16 crosses, four smart passes and 27 long passes. Most of the passes have been forward passes.
The Chelsea captain has received around eight passes inside the opposition 18-yard box. Last year he also featured as a left-back in some of the games but this year his position is mostly towards the right. Azpilicueta has been placed in the right centre back position in back three and right wing-back in most of the matches. The defender has tried to come inside from wider positions to receive passes.
Last season Azpilicueta pass receiving locations were a lot similar to this year. One thing that can be noticed is that he played a lot wider last season. This season he has more touches near and inside the opposition 18-yard box. The team was playing under Frank Lampard during that time and he used his captain differently.
Cesar Azpilicueta has played some attacking football under Thomas Tuchel. The Spanish international player has shown a lot of improvement while going forward and is a constant threat. He attacks less than the other full-backs in the Chelsea team, but his performances have been good this season.