Antonio Conte told Chelsea star thriving without David Luiz

The Spurs legend hails the performances of Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta in recent weeks

Cesar Azpilicueta and Alvaro Morata Photo: Alvaro Morata/Instagram

Cesar Azpilicueta has been thriving in the Chelsea team in the absence of David Luiz, according to Garth Crooks.

The Spanish defender has been marshalling the Chelsea back three in the absence of Luiz after the Brazilian was dropped for the visit of Manchester United.

The Blues have managed to keep four clean sheets in their last five Premier League games with Mohamed Salah the only player to beat Thibaut Courtois over the past couple of weeks.

The west London side have utilised Azpilicueta at centre-half and wing-back this term and the versatile Spain international has provided one goal and five assists in 12 appearances.

The 29-year-old impressed during Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool FC at Anfield last weekend as Conte’s side managed to tame Klopp’s impressive attack.

And ex-Spurs forward Crooks has heaped praise on Azpilicueta for his composed performances in the Blues defence over the past few weeks.

“Azpilicueta is doing all the things Luiz was doing for Chelsea, and looking magnificent at the same time,” Crooks told BBC Sport.

He added: “Chelsea may be struggling to retain the Premier League title but there are still big trophies on offer and Azpilicueta will need all his team-mates – including Bakayoko – on point if they are to get their hands on any of them.”

Chelsea won the Premier League with two games to spare last season to win their second title in three seasons.

The Blues signed six players in the summer transfer window to bolster their squad ahead of a return to the Champions League.

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