At the end of the 4-2 home defeat to Arsenal, our third horrendous home defeat in a row, César Azpilicueta was spotted by the TV cameras walking up to a fan in the stands and having a clearly rather unfriendly exchange. It was just words, nothing more, but it was still not a great look and only added to the frustrations — both collective and personal — with Azpi getting whistled for a foul in the area as time wound down after Bukayo Saka conned the referee (and VAR) with one of the oldest tricks in the book, grabbing the defender’s arm and falling down.
Obviously, it’s not nice to have players and fans yelling at each other, even if such things are generally more tolerated (at least when coming from the fans) in the heightened emotional states that professional sports can engender.
(Here’s a related hot take: maybe we shouldn’t be yelling abuse and obscenities constantly at the players. And by maybe I mean definitely. I know, I know, you paid for your ticket and it’s your right. But it’s just football, only the most important from the less important things in life. It’s entertainment.)
In any case, Azpilicueta sat down with Sky Sports ahead of Thursday’s game at Old Trafford, and explained the incident that looked worse than it was and ended in rather respectful way as well.
“It looked worse than it was. It was at the end of the game and I was angry with my performance, I was angry with the result, with the penalty and everything. I spotted him in the crowd but nothing to do with him, it was just an exchange of words and it looked worse than it was.
“We spoke clearly that he wanted more fight from the team and he was right and I just expressed my view that in this moment, everybody, we were having a moment of difficulty. We were having 15 (thousand) people less in the stadium, we were in a moment of difficulty and we needed to push altogether in the same direction.
“The other day after the game, I saw him again, I gave him the captain’s armband and I think when there’s respect and I’m the first that I look at the images and it’s not really me, I was really angry.”
-César Azpilicueta; source: Sky
Even head coach Thomas Tuchel admitted afterwards that the fan may have had a point. Fortunately, we have since managed to beat West Ham United with a late goal of our own, restoring some happy vibes.
But it’s another big test coming up tomorrow, as we take on Manchester United at Old Trafford. Let’s channel any anger and frustration in the right direction and get the three points!