Despite (not unexpectedly) losing the Community Shield to Manchester City, almost everything has gone quite neatly at the start of Maurizio Sarri’s term as Chelsea manager. With the 1-0 win over PAOK to start our Europa League campaign on Thursday, Chelsea have six wins from six games with 14 goals scored, and only 4 conceded.
But as the team continues to improve, there is one looming question hanging over Cobham. Who will be the club captain?
For a generation, this was not an issue or even a consideration. “Captain, leader, legend” John Terry owned the role. We have sorely missed his leadership since his departure. Gary Cahill had a turn last season; César Azpilicueta has worn the armband most often this season. Eden Hazard is also in contention and on Thursday, with none of those three in the starting lineup, Willian took on the honor.
But as much as this question has come up, Sarri has much bigger concerns with which to occupy his time.
“I don’t remember who was the captain at the beginning of the game. Who was the captain? Willian. And in the second part, Azpilicueta. I don’t know. I don’t remember. I understand that in England it is important. For me it is not so important.
“I have my idea [on who will be the captain]. I want to speak to the players and I want to speak to my club. It was not possible this week. Maybe it will be possible in the next week.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: London Evening Standard
(Ed.note: For such a supposedly insignificant issue, he’s sure making a big deal out of talking about to the players and the club...)
But Sarri’s probably right. At the end of the day, the armband is largely symbolic. Terry may have been the official Chelsea captain, but those squads of yore were chock full of leaders and even several national team captains as well. While the current squad is not yet to that level in terms of leadership, with Hazard growing in that regard, Azpilicueta carrying on the tradition of JT, and other veterans providing steady leadership as well (Giroud, Fàbregas, David Luiz), the identity of the official captain, if and when he’s revealed, probably won’t matter too much in the end.