Our new Spanish assist king
Inside Blue Mon 25 Sep 2017
We may have one of the Premier League’s best ever creators at Stamford Bridge in the form of Cesc Fabregas but it is another Spaniard who has taken the mantle of our leading assist man so far this season.
With 107 assists, Fabregas is second only to Ryan Giggs in the Premier League’s official all-time ranking. However, it is Cesar Azpilicueta who leads the way for the Blues in that department this season with four, all of which have helped to set up goals for another Spaniard, Alvaro Morata.
Of course, ‘Dave’ has long been a big fan favourite at the Bridge but his popularity has more to do with his dependability in defence and his ironman durability which saw him become just the fourth outfield player to appear in every minute of a Premier League-winning campaign last season.
While he remains strong in those areas, he has also shown a fine attacking instinct of late, scoring with a header against Qarabag in the Champions League and developing an excellent understanding with his new Spanish team-mate.
Much like how he set up Diego Costa for our winner at Crystal Palace last season, Azpilicueta’s first two assists for Morata against Everton and Leicester were pin-point crosses from the right which expertly picked out the head of his Spanish compatriot.
However, at Stoke on Saturday, he did things a bit differently, sending a searching long ball over the top of the Potters defence for Morata to break clear and give us the lead after less than 90 seconds before chesting down a Fabregas pass late in the game for the striker to score from close range and complete his hat-trick.
Morata was certainly appreciative of his contribution, sending ‘special thanks’ to his vice-captain in a social media post which was like by more than 338,000 Instagram users.
Prior to this season Azpilicueta had recorded 14 Premier League assists with the most important coming at the Hawthorns last May when his low cross was turned in by Michy Batshuayi for the goal which won us the championship.
His highest for a single season though is four, a mark which he should eclipse the next time he sets up a goal for the Blues.