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Chelsea 4-3 Watford, Player Ratings: Future captain César Azpilicueta proves he's a 'model footballer'

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1. CÉSAR AZPILICUETA 8.6
Minutes played90
Touches65
Passes38/50
Shots2*/3
Take-ons2/2
Tackles6
By definition, the more often an underrated, unsung hero gets called the underrated, unsung hero, the less he actually remains that underrated, unsung hero.  For now, I think we're still on the underrated, unsung side of the ledger, though Azpilicueta did get nominated for the Premier League Player of the Season (alongside once equally underrated N'Golo Kanté), so time's running out on this whole unsung business.

Not that any of that should take away from Azpi's season, his first Man of the Match award, his dedication, his competitiveness, his versatility, his leadership, and his overall drive to be the best he can be every single minute of every single day.

Conte summed it up best after the game:
"It's been a massive season for him. Azpi played in a fantastic way. When you have this type of player it's great for the coach. If I ask him to go and put on the gloves and stay in goal he's ready."

"He's a model footballer and able to play in different roles. Today he played as a wing-back, he scored one goal and could have had two or three. He's having an amazing season."

2. WILLIAN 8.4
Minutes played90
Touches73
Passes44*/52
Shots1/2
Take-ons5/8
Block+INT+RECs16
Willian was unsung once, too.  Then we discovered that he's a bit of a free-kick god.  And lo, it was good.  (Well, sort of, since last season was a barely mitigated disaster.)

In any case, Willian got just a second start in his last ten games, but he does have an appearance streak that dates all the way back to the first match against Spurs this season.  Too many games for me to count, but it's actually one-match longer than the streak Cesc Fàbregas is on.

And speaking of Fàbregas...

3. CESC FÀBREGAS 8.3
Minutes played12
Touches18
Distribution10/14
Shots2*/2
Fàbregas seemingly can't do much wrong these days, and whether he's starting or just coming off the bench, he's making good things happen, both for himself and of course for others.

In this one, he scored the winning goal in a little over ten minutes of work and then led the post-match celebrations and lap of honor.  Can't ask for much more than that.

STARTERS:
Begović (5.8), Aké (7.0), Terry (7.1), Zouma (6.1), Kenedy (6.2), Chalobah (7.0), Kanté (7.5), Azpilicueta (8.6), Hazard (7.5), Batshuayi (7.5), Willian (8.4)

SUBS:
Aina (6.6), Fàbregas (8.3), Pedro (7.2)

OVERALL:

2016-17 player ratings - watford h