In the lead-up to the semi-final clash against Tottenham and the aftermath of Sarri’s press-conference on Saturday, it felt like a good time to analyse what leaders we have in the dressing room, who will fight tooth and nail to turn our fortunes around.
Chelsea have too many nice players, where I’m tired of seeing players laughing with the opposition in the tunnel before a game, picking up an opponent from the floor after a tackle and the swapping of shirts at full-time after a loss, which are characteristics all too common in this Chelsea side.
Cesar Azpilicueta wears the armband currently and maybe he deserves it due to his commitment to the team, however I feel he is not vocal or gritty enough to captain this side. When Hazard was systematically fouled against Arsenal, he just his hands up in the air instead of fighting against Hazard’s injustice. Every Chelsea fan appreciates Dave’s loyal service to the club, however I don’t believe he has the right character to lead Chelsea through difficult periods such as this.
Gary Cahill, the man who has won it all at Chelsea, just seems too much of a nice guy to be Chelsea’s vice-captain. Before we had vice-captains in Lampard, Drogba and Ballack to name just a few, but now we offer the captaincy based on time at the club instead of personality.
Hazard is undoubtedly the best player at the club, but this fact does not automatically warrant him becoming Chelsea’s next captain, especially as he is still yet to commit his future to the club.
Chelsea may have a future captain in their ranks already, with 18-year-old Ethan Ampadu being one of the most vocal players on the pitch. Young players from the academy understand what it means to play for Chelsea and are more likely to have that passion which has evidently been lacking in the first team this season.
This month we have let Cesc Fabregas leave the club, who was one of our only nasty players that didn’t mind leaving a boot in or telling an opponent what he thought of them. David Luiz is the closest senior leader in the team and he knows how to overcome adversity in a season, but in that Arsenal defeat I saw him just look to the heavens instead of rallying the team to get their marbles together.
Maybe we need to look to the board who signs the players, where early on in the Abramovich era, Jose Mourinho would sign players not just on their talent with the ball, but what they would add to the dressing-room.
Frank Lampard certainly understands the importance of having leaders in the team, with Derby signing 38-year-old Ashley Cole to help with their promotion charge. I am hoping Higuain can offer that bite Chelsea need, where I have heard he is a favourite in the AC Milan dressing room and likes a good fight on the pitch. Maybe this will be the Diego Costa replacement Chelsea fans have been praying for!
As Chelsea fans we should maybe accept that football has moved on, where having a spine of solid leaders in Cech, JT, Lamps and Drogba is now possibly an outdated formula. Let’s hope Chelsea can show that fight and leadership they had during the 16/17 season, with a very difficult second-half to the season ahead.
Written by Harrison Ferriroli