Many of the plaudits for the victory over Manchester United on Sunday have gone to the maestro that is Eden Hazard. He has matured into such a wonderfully consistent player for Chelsea and he possesses that oh so rare talent of being able to change games at the very top level.
His run and shot in the first half at Stamford Bridge produced the game’s only and decisive goal which kept the chasing pack at arms length and put Chelsea within a couple of victories of another Premier League title – their first in half a decade of Manchester dominance.
But, in a very workmanlike performance, Chelsea have their defence to thank even more for grinding out the result against a dominant United side. It wasn’t always pretty but you will rarely see a better defensive display than The Blues put on in this game.
They allowed Manchester United time and territorial advantage. But, as soon as a United player stepped into the danger zone, within thirty yards of goal, a Chelsea man would step out and stem the advance.
Every one of the back line defended manfully but Cesar Azpilicueta possibly deserves the most credit for marshalling the left side so well, at a time where United have had so much success in the wide areas. Faced by the relentless Antonio Valencia, and the in-form Juan Mata, the Spaniard stuck to his task brilliantly. He rarely put a foot out of place all afternoon and has proven to be a superb left-back for Chelsea, even though he’s naturally right footed.
Jose Mourinho’s men made a huge stride toward the title on Sunday and they have no one to thank more than Cesar Azpilicueta in what was an excellent team performance.