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Azpilicueta rallies the troops after ‘really tough’ Spurs loss

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Seven games to go, plus FA Cup

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Leadership is one of those indefinable qualities that is praised at winning teams and questioned at losing ones. Last year, Chelsea had leadership. This year, we do not. Does John Terry’s departure explain all of that? Unlikely, but it’s a theory.

Stepping up in the wake of JT’s departure this summer was Gary Cahill, who was Chelsea’s on-pitch captain basically the entire season before already. But these days, in a simliar development to Terry, EBGC is found on the bench more often than not — in fact, the ‘EB’ part doesn’t automatically apply either after he was left home by England boss Gareth Southgate over the recent international break.

But these days, few things apply automatically anymore. Chelsea vs. Spurs at the Bridge. Captain Dave winning all the games. Chelsea showing a bit of fight and determination, especially in second halves of games. Sunday’s collapse was just the latest, most unwelcome one.

“It’s really tough. We started the game well, we scored the first goal and were in control but the late equaliser was hard to take because after the first half, and our performance, we didn’t deserve for it to be 1-1 but that’s football. [...] We had more chances to score goals, we didn’t do that and we know the Premier League is tough.”

With a massive eight-point gap to make up to the top four in just seven games, Chelsea look set for just our second-ever Europa League campaign and of course plenty of summer transfer drama and upheaval.

Azpilicueta won’t be going anywhere. And, mirroring his head coach’s comments, he’s also not quite ready to completely give up on the current season.

“There are still points to play for. With every game you play you are closer to the end and we have to make sure we try to get there. It’s a hard kick for us because our target was to get closer to them and after the game we are even further away, but it’s a massive target for us so we have to make sure we fight until the end to try to get that spot.”

-César Azpilicueta; source: Chelsea FC

Onwards.