When Cesc Fabregas decided to leave his ties with Arsenal behind and prefer Chelsea as his destination when leaving Barcelona this summer, it was a move which surprised many people in the football world. His arrival was down to the departure of Frank Lampard, but the question is, is he a worthy replacement?
Very few would’ve imagined Fabregas playing for the blue half of London and further yet under the leadership of Jose Mourinho, whom the Spaniard hasn’t always seen eye-to-eye with. Fabregas was bought as an obvious replacement for Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, who spent 13 years with the club.
“Frank is the history of the club, history nobody can forget,”
“Fabregas is the future; history is history but the future is more important at the moment.
“My opinion, and the opinion of my players, is that Fabregas is the right player to occupy that central position in midfield.”
Jose Mourinho speaking of Fabregas and Lampard during pre-season.
Lampard oversaw the most successful period in the clubs history after picking up multiple trophies including back to back league triumphs between 2005 and 2007, four FA Cups as well as the most coveted Champions League in 2012. The former England international was one of the most influential players in Mourinho’s first reign in charge but the tide has changed at Stamford Bridge with a new crop of talent coming through. After departing Chelsea, the 36-year-old has since made his own shock move back to the Premier League to Man City on a loan deal from parent club New York City.
Now we all what Fabregas is capable of in the Premier League having had a sensational spell with Arsenal for eight years, but the superb start to has made to his Chelsea career has only strengthened the case that this league is made for his talents. His return to his boyhood club Barcelona was an emotional one to say the least and although it seemed as though the Spaniard was performing well in Spain, he never really lived up to the clubs expectations and failed to dethrone the mainstay duo of Xavi and Iniesta who primarily played in his position. Now surplus to requirements in order to generate funds for the likes of Luis Suarez, the £33 million pound move to Stamford Bridge would seemingly look like a risk, but sometimes you just need to right environment to being out your best which Jose Mourinho quite shrewdly identified.
Above are both players stats for the last decade and we can instantly tell that both have telling contributions for both goal scoring and creating goals on a consistent basis.
In terms of goal scoring, Lampard has been superb over the years and until last year had hit double figures in terms of goals scored for nine consecutive years. Now most strikers would be happy with that in the Premier League but coming from a midfielder, you can instantly identify spot how essential Lampard was to Chelsea’s attacking play. In the 2009/10 season, Lampard managed a monumental 22 goals from the heart of midfield, helping his team lift the title that season.
The former West Ham player also carved up 17 assists for that campaign and was in double figures on that front for four out of six seasons between 2004 and 2010. That being said however, he has only managed 11 assists in his last four seasons for Chelsea despite playing at least 24 games in each.
Fabregas has been less prolific compared to Lampard in the goal scoring charts with his best tally of 17 for one season funnily enough coming in the same campaign as Lampard’s 22 goals. That being said, Fabregas only averaged just over three goals in the other six seasons for Arsenal. At Barcelona however, the 27-year-old managed 28 goals in his three seasons in Catalan giants.
Creating chances has also been Fabregas’s forte and his assists tally has been just as impressive as Lampard’s goal scoring over the years. The Spaniard has hit double figures in terms of assists for the last eight years with his highest tally coming in the 2007/08 season with 20. He has already continued the trend at Chelsea in his blistering start in a blue shirt by chipping in with four assists so far in only three games.
Influence in Midfield
Replacing Lampard and what he has done for the club is huge boots to fill but when you have someone as talented as Fabregas who is arguably at his peak age at 27-years-old, it seems like great fit to have him pulling the strings in what is now a star studded midfield for the Blues. Looking back at the statistics, yes Lampard may offer more in the goal scoring charts but with Fabregas you have someone who can cut open defences and pull strings even when the team isn’t on form, something which cost Chelsea last season.