César Azpilicueta made his 445th career appearance for Chelsea last night, putting him level with the legendary Dennis Wise for seventh (7th!) on the club’s all-time list.
Unfortunately, that significant achievement was soured by the events that transpired on the climate controlled pitch inside icy St Petersburg’s Krestovsky Arena, as Chelsea contrived to fail to win yet another game, our third in our last four games. To make matters worse, in the last two games, we’ve not only given up the lead four (4!) times, we’ve relinquished top spot in both the Premier League as well as our Champions League group, and done so thanks to goals conceded in the dying moments of each game.
The results themselves may not be disastrous just yet, but their negative effects on our confidence, mentality, and belief are starting to be tangible.
These things have a tendency to snowball, be that in a positive or negative direction, and arresting this slide, blip, or whatever you want to call it, becomes more imperative with each passing game and bad result.
Azpi himself has been through plenty of ups and down during his near-decade at Chelsea, and he certainly knows this isn’t what we want to see from our boys in Blue.
“In the last two games, we’ve conceded six goals and that is not good enough. [At] Chelsea we have this ambition to win every game. We know a draw is not good enough and to finish second isn’t where we want to be.
“[We’re] having a tough moment in the last couple of games where the performances haven’t been very good and the results are reflective of the performances. We have to have a reaction. We know there is still a lot to play but we lost top spot in the Premier League and top spot in our Champions League group. So we have to face the reality and analyse ourselves.”
It’s the hallmark of any good team to not let one or two bad results turn into one or two longer sequences of bad results. It’s also the hallmark of most good teams to not give up many goals and especially many cheap goals. Defense wins championships after all, and defense is how Tuchel turned Chelsea’s fortunes around last season after that winter blip.
It’s time to make Chelsea hard to beat again, and that starts with Leeds United on Saturday.
“We are not at our top level and we have to have a reaction on Saturday. Hopefully, with our fans in this difficult moment we get the win, have a good performance from the fist minute, and from there, start building our confidence because at the moment it’s true we’re making a lot of mistakes.
“[We] need to recover that high intensity, the solidity from the whole team to not concede chances. We have conceded too many and I think that the key for our success was to defend well to not concede chances to be ruthless in front of the goal. We need to recover this.
“[We] play again on Saturday and we have the chance to have a good game, a good performance from the first minute to the last and hopefully we can get a result and from there build and not drop any more points.”
-César Azpilicueta; source: Football.London
So say we all.