Garth Crooks sends clear message to Chelsea FC fans about Cesar Azpilicueta

Garth Crooks praises Cesar Azpilicueta for his leadership skills in Chelsea FC's 1-1 draw with West Ham

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff
Antonio Conte
Chelsea FC manager Antonio Conte Photo: Screengrab

Garth Crooks singled out Cesar Azpilicueta for his brilliant leadership skills after Chelsea FC’s 1-1 draw with West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday.

The Blues defender scored for the west London side against the Hammers to give them the lead before they were pegged back in the second half by Javier Hernandez’s equaliser.

The draw dealt another damaging blow to Chelsea FC’s hopes of finishing in the top four this season and left them in fifth place in the table.

Chelsea FC are now 10 points behind fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur with just six games left to play this season and their hopes of finishing in the top four are now looking slim.

However, Crooks feels that the performances of Azilicueta and Antonio Rudiger in defence for the Blues should be one positive to take from Sunday’s disappointing draw.

Writing in his column for BBC Sport, Crooks said: “This was a difficult game for Chelsea. Had it not been for the leadership of Cesar Azpilicueta and the sheer enthusiasm of Antonio Rudiger, this might have been a different result for the Blues.

“In the end, a draw was a fair result. That said, this is not the Chelsea we saw last season, and not the same manager. Last season Antonio Conte kicked every ball on the touchline and the players never gave up.

“At the moment that desire doesn’t appear to be there. These are difficult times for the manager and his players.”

Chelsea FC will look to get back to winning ways in the Premier League when they take on Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday lunchtime.

The Blues won the Premier League title in style last season but have struggled to produce consistent form under Antonio Conte this time around.

MORE: Latest Chelsea news and views

MORE: Football transfer rumours and gossip

MORE:

MORE: The latest football transfer news

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

Laver Cup 2018
The Sport Review
Laver Cup 2018: Federer, Djokovic and fellow top-10s relish European defence – ‘We’re ready!’
The Sport Review
Take a tour of Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning house in Madrid
The Sport Review
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house with us
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Chelsea, Arsenal stars feature – Slideshow
Laver Cup 2018
The Sport Review
Laver Cup 2018: Rivals Federer and Djokovic ‘thrilled and excited’ to join forces on opening day
The Sport Review
Paul Scholes: What I really think about Man United’s progress
The Sport Review
Maurizio Sarri reveals Eden Hazard decision ahead of West Ham v Chelsea FC