John Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Čech, Branislav Ivanović, Dennis Wise, Didier Drogba, Mikel John Obi, Ashley Cole, Gianfranco Zola, Eden Hazard ... and now César Azpilicueta: the 11 players who have made 200 Premier League appearances for Chelsea.
They’d sure make a tremendous starting XI — (4-3-3): Big Pete | Ash, JT, Bane, Dave | SuperFrank, Mikel, Wisey | Eden, Didier, Franco — though perhaps the famous “11 Azpilicuetas” could give them a run for their money. “A team with 11 Azpilicuetas could win the Champions League,” said Mourinho once, and while not even 1 Azpilicueta has won the Champions League just yet, he’s won just about everything else in his six years and change at Stamford Bridge.
But that’s not what it’s all about. That’s all in the past.
“[Two hundred] is a good number. Hopefully it can grow and there can be more games and more wins because it’s what it’s all about.”
Typical attitude from the most competitive player at Chelsea, the current acting captain, and the man who just made his 200th Premier League appearance for Chelsea in Sunday’s win over Newcastle. (It was his 283rd in all competitions, one more than Joe Cole and good for 41st all-time.)
The win at St James’, Chelsea’s first there in seven years, did not come easy, but then again, nothing ever does in the Best League in The World™.
"They defended quite deep, we had a lot of the ball, and in the end we had to dig in and score a late winner. Remaining patient was key. We kept our heads cool and we deserved to win the game. The team showed character and the will to win.
"Creating more chances from open play is something we will work on, I’m sure. We want to control the game and have the ball, and we want to be dangerous in front of the goal. As a team we know we can improve and we will work on that.
"I am sure in some games we will have to deal with a defensive opponent, in other games we will have to deal with a different type of game and player, but the Premier League is the best league in the world, and we know you have to fight every game to win points. Whatever it takes we have to work hard to win games."
Three wins from three matches have the Blues in third place, behind only Liverpool and Spurs on goal difference. We will eventually drop points of course, but it’s been just about the perfect start in that regard after finishing just fifth and failing to qualify for the Champions League last season.
It’s certainly provided a bit of a confidence boost, not just in terms of assimilating Sarri’s tactics and ideals, but setting goals for the season ahead. Eden Hazard has set his sights on the top spot in the league. Azpilicueta wants to be top in all the other competitions, too.
"We know how tough it is to even qualify even for the Champions League. Manchester City created a big gap with the other teams, and it’s up to us to fight for the title."
"Chelsea have our own pressure. We know we have won two of the last four Premier Leagues, and our standard is really high. We are in August, until May there is a big path to work, and we will see how far we can go."
"After the international break we will be playing every three days. It changes completely with Europe, with the cups, and we have to be ready. We have a good squad and we have been working really hard with the manager. We have the level to fight for everything."
-César Azpilicueta; Source: Chelsea FC
Captain Azpilicueta believes the team can fight for all the trophies. Certainly not a bad attitude to have with the armband.
P.S.: Happy Birthday!