By: Azeez Okeyale
[Analyses]–As the international break approaches, clubs will suspend their league matches. Players called up will join up with their national sides. Stars will be born. Injuries will happen. Momentum will drop. Some players on the fringes will build fitness. Some others will make a case. Teams will regroup.
Of the several possibilities that the break offers at this time, two things are clear. First, one club in Manchester managed by Jose Mourinho will not be the happiest at the timing. They are currently on a good run of form and would fancy meeting anyone presently. With ten goals scored, none conceded, their forward man Romelu Lukaku topping the scoring charts with three goals to his name, everything seems rosy at Old Trafford and a recess is the least on their wishlist.
On the other hand, Chelsea while they may be non-committal in their assessment of the international break at this time, still have Spain to thank for producing a large chunk of names on their team list. And not just squad members, but key players turning the tide on a predicted impending crisis. So, they will not be reluctant in watching Spain play as they may potentially see another signing for their threadbare squad.
Chelsea has a rich and rewarding history with Spanish players in recent times with Juan Mata and Fernando Torres going on to win the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup making major impacts. While Mata delivered the corner from which Drogba scored the equaliser at the Allianz Arena, Torres won it. Torres came on as a substitute for Didier Drogba on 24 April 2012 to score a last-minute goal against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final, which gave Chelsea a 2–2 draw, and also eliminated Barcelona from the tournament, as Chelsea won 3–2 on aggregate.
With Cesar Azpilicueta on the fringes of the first team in 2012–13 season, Chelsea won the UEFA Europa League, making Mata and teammate Fernando Torres the first players to hold the Champions League, Europa League, World Cup, and the European Championships simultaneously.
Chelsea would go on to add Diego Costa and Fabregas to their ranks in 2014, both instrumental in their capture and recapture of the Premier League crown in 2015 and 2017. The forward weighing in with 20 goals in both league seasons and with Cesc contributing 18 and 12 assists respectively.
Although Costa is out of favour at the Bridge, 2015 acquisition Pedro, 2016 buy Marcos Alonso and the rest of the Spanish contingent are still proving their worth to the Chelsea cause. Not least Azpilicueta who has proved handy, versatile and invaluable to the Chelsea back line since breaking-in in 2013 featuring in all roles apart from the goalkeeper position. He is currently the Vice-captain and is holding the fort well in the absence of Cahill.
So far this season, all of Chelsea’s goals in the league have either been scored or assisted by a Spaniard. The Blues have scored six times this season. Morata, Chelsea’s record signing has been responsible for two goals and two assists, Marcos Alonso has two goals to his name, Fabregas has one and David Luiz of Brazil is the only outlier. Even Luiz’s goal came off the head of Morata.
Azpilicueta created for Morata to finish against Everton and Alonso fed off Pedro’s pass against Tottenham.
It’s a symbiotic association right now for Spain and Chelsea apart from the tension with the ousted and dual national Costa and no wonder there would be no grumblings about the break from the West and Blue side of London.
Azeez Okeyale is a trained Agricultural Economist from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. He is a Creative Content Associate at WriteHelp NG. In his spare time, he enjoys teaching.
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