The Spanish Connection
The Unexpected Connection Between Cesar Azpilicueta and Alvaro Morata
Think back to the summer; Chelsea had just signed Alvaro Morata for £58m from Real Madrid, a new club record. This sparked a lot of speculation: was Cesc Fabregas going to provide the same assists that he provided to Diego Costa previously? But no, instead it was Cesar Azpilicueta providing the majority of assists.
The connection between the two began before the season began; Azpilicueta helped Morata to find an apartment with cars and helped Alvaro settle in London. This was the beginning of the most lethal partnership in Europe so far.
The first goal came at home to Everton where Cesar crossed the ball in for Morata to head past Jordan Pickford in the 40th minute to give Chelsea a two-goal lead. The game ended 2-0 to Chelsea with Morata’s header a key moment in the game.
The following game, Cesar assisted another header for Morata this time to give Chelsea the lead over Leicester with a pinpoint cross in the 41st minute. The goal gave Chelsea a narrow lead just before half-time, a key goal in a 2-1 victory for Chelsea.
The next assist came a few weeks later just two minutes in; at the Bet 365 stadium, Alvaro Morata put Chelsea in front from a long ball by Cesar Azpilicueta. But the partnership didn’t finish there for the game as a lofted Cesc Fabregas ball was chested across the box by Azpilicueta, which resulted in Morata poking the ball into the corner for his hattrick.
The next link-up was probably the most vital; a tense game between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge was locked at 0-0 before Azpilicueta’s perfect cross found Morata in space on the edge of the box for Morata to head home past De Gea, a match-winning moment.
The sixth came on Boxing Day, where Azpilicueta crossed the ball in for another Morata header, similar to the goal against Manchester United, giving Chelsea the lead over Brighton. The goal was key as it set Chelsea on their way to a win to leave them just one point behind second.
The partnership is the best in Europe; no other combination has six goals between them. The six goals matches Cesc Fabregas to Diego Costa's record in 2014/15 and Frank Lampard to Didier Drogba in 2009/10, quite impressive considering both of these are assisted by midfielders and we’re only just over halfway through the season, and long may it continue.
However, since then, Chelsea has hit a poor run of form more recently, falling to a shock defeat to Bournemouth 3-0 at home, and Morata has suffered with a back injury and the loss of a close friend back home in Spain. As a result, the goals for Alvaro have slowed down, especially after his suspension for a red card against Norwich; but on the other hand, Cesar Azpilicueta has stood in as captain multiple times this season as well as being one of Chelsea's most consistent players.
Alvaro Morata started the season very quickly and was up at the top of the Premier League scoring charts; however, now he is 12 goals behind Harry Kane at the top of the charts. Morata is currently level on goals with Wayne Rooney and one ahead of Alexandre Lacazette and Anthony Martial. Alvaro Morata is also a goal behind Roberto Firmino and two behind Leicester's Jamie Vardy and Romelu Lukaku. However, the top of the Premier League scoring charts is looking like a two horse race between Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane and Liverpool's Mo Salah. Currently Kane is a goal ahead of Salah with 22 goals, however, last time out the two faced, Salah scored two and Kane scored a penalty as well as missing on in a dramatic late draw.