The Story Back Then At Chelsea- Frank Lampard’s Blues were lined up for a few key clashes in the days to come. Willian played the game of his life against Spurs, outshining with almost every touch of the ball as his brace lifted his side to a much-wanted victory over their arch-rivals. First, a stunner and then from the spot the Brazilian prevent Chelsea from any possible disappointment from the game. This was a much-needed relief for the side that managed only a win in their last five Premier League games before the derby.

Amidst the joy, the manager gave a statement on Cesar Azpilicueta’s injury that minutely concerned him in the game. He was subbed off at the later stages of the game, unknown to few that it was more than just a time-wasting act. As addressed in the press, the Spaniard suffered a minor hamstring injury and need a fitness test ahead of facing the Saints on Thursday.

The player was happy to get the opportunities that he was getting at the Londoners. He was part of the bigger picture, which really pleased him a lot.

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This opens the gate for Reece James to step up for the right-back role. The youngster has been in and out of the team but performed decently in whatever minutes he received. He was offered full minutes in Champions league outing against Valencia and in Premier League encounters with Aston Villa, West Ham and Crystal Palace. The 19-year-old also became the club’s youngest Champions League scorer by netting the leveller in a thrilling 4-4 draw with Ajax at Stamford Bridge in early November.

The lad deserved got praise in those games. Lampard described him as a super talent with an appetite to go very far. Also, former full-back and legend Ashley Cole called him a ‘Beast’ after a powerful the display against Palace. His attacking nature from his flank is outstandingly well but he keeps a sharp eye on his defensive capabilities as well. As a case, James became an essential part of the squad with big future ambitions.

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Although Cesar remained the preferred choice in the right-back position at Chelsea, with his vast experience and ‘Mr. Dependable’ nature, his age and consistency problem may dilute first-team opportunities sooner or later. Plus his injury woes are a concern too. Thus, James looks like a perfect fit at the spot. This is indeed a storybook tale for the youngster who came out from a loan at Wigan at the start of the season to become a possible regular in the Premier League. Thus, the boss can rely on him completely and give Azpilicueta a necessary rest for the boxing day clash.

Ralph Hasenhuttl and his boy’s journey doesn’t get easier with only three points clear of the drop zone even after registering an important win over Aston Villa in the previous weekend. Undoubtedly, the west London outfit were the favourites to take maximum points from the fixture and to close the gap on Manchester City, placed third. A game is also likely to ease up most of the pressure on James to look up and repeat his staring contributions to the club.

Author Name- Moinak Bannerjee