Ashley Cole: Cesar Azpilicueta took my place, Chelsea defender is unstoppable

The former Chelsea full-back lavishes praise on his successor Cesar Azpilicueta

Ashley Cole has hailed Cesar Azpilicueta as an unstoppable Chelsea defender.

The Spain international has produced some of his best performances in a Chelsea shirt following the appointment of Antonio Conte as Blues manager earlier this year.

Azpilicueta has been a key part of the west London side’s resurgence over the past few months after he partnered Gary Cahill and David Luiz as part of a three-man defence.

Chelsea have managed to win their last 11 Premier League games since a 3-0 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in September which triggered Conte’s decision to switch to a 3-4-3 formation.

The Spanish defender turned provider on Saturday afternoon after Azpilicueta’s perfectly-weighted cross teed up Diego Costa to score his 13th Premier League goal of the season and seal a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace in the day’s early kick-off at Selhurst Park.

Speaking to Sky Sports after Chelsea’s slender victory over Palace, Cole picked out Azpilicueta for praise after the defender’s man of the match performance.

“He took my position! I used to see the way he trains, how he gets up against people, the way he recovers and gets back in position,” Cole said.

“He is unstoppable when he is at right-back. Now he has a little bit of protection as well with David Luiz”

Cole added: “He is strong, he is fast, he doesn’t want to be beaten – with that mentality, you’ll go a long way.”

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