It was a sight filmed by full-time television cameras. As Cesar Azpilicueta walked around the Stamford Bridge pitch, applauding the few Chelsea fans who had stuck it out to the end, one fan’s criticism irritated the Blues captain to the point of becoming entangled in a pitchside brawl.
Make no mistake: Azpilicueta is a huge Chelsea fan. It’s why, when he scored last night, he kissed the badge. It’s why he’s played such an important role for so many different head coaches. And it’s why he’s the only player at Stamford Bridge to have won everything. However, as he demonstrated late against Arsenal, this does not imply he is infallible.
Only the Spaniard knows why he held to Bukayo Saka in the Chelsea penalty area as the ball meandered away from them both. The Gunners were handed a soft but correct spot-kick, which Saka converted, much to Tuchel’s chagrin on the touchline. When the German faced the reporters, his frustration had not subsided.
“Look at the penalty,” the Chelsea head coach implored, ‘it is an unbelievable goal [to concede] from our ball possession. There are no tactics behind that. We have three ball losses in ten seconds, then we do a foul when there’s not even the slightest danger. We foul a person, it is a penalty, and we rob ourselves of six minutes to get an equaliser. What is there to analyse? There’s nothing to analyse.”
Chelsea need to fix Stamford Bridge problem
There were around 10,000 Chelsea supporters who were unable to buy a ticket for last night’s game due to the government sanctions the club continues to operate under. At least they didn’t miss a glorious victory in a London derby. In that sense, they were spared.
For the season ticket holders that did attend, there was an all too familiar feeling at full time: disappointment. Trips to Stamford Bridge over the past five months have become arduous. Tuchel’s side is simply not all-conquering at home in the fashion of Chelsea teams of old.