Chelsea have looked a different force this season than ever before. The famed ruggedness of the old has made way for pure finesse. The major reason for the transformation is a summer signing. Not Diego Costa, not Didier Drogba. It’s the former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas.
Signed amid mixed reactions from the Chelsea faithful, Cesc Fabregas has quickly become an integral part of this Chelsea side. His passing, like a ticking clock at the heart of the Chelsea midfield has become key for the club’s shift in playing style. Last season, Chelsea were unable to break down packed defences, which is crudely called a parked bus. That cost the Blues a lot of points as the inability to kill such games off became a regular occurrence. Fabregas was brought in precisely to rectify that issue.
Fabregas has a near telepathic understanding with several players at Chelsea. It is almost as if this bunch of players was brought up together. While Fabregas’ dynamic with Costa is well publicised due to the latter scoring aplenty, Fabregas bonds on a similar level with a few others as well. Fabregas and Oscar have been shuttling between the no. 4 and no. 10 role whenever they have played. There is a constantly dynamic rotation between the two and that gives defences several reasons to worry. Also, Fabregas has been very solid going forward thanks to a scintillating partnership with Hazard.
Very often, from a quarterback position, Fabregas punts a long ball to the left flank finding Hazard in space. He also forms a deadly midfield tandem with Nemanja Matic. The Squawka scores show clearly how good he has been. He has an impressive total score of 32.31, an attack score of 24.61 and a possession score of 17.82. All these numbers, taken on a per 90 minute basis, underline his worth to the Chelsea lineup.
Fabregas is the Premier League leader in assists at a rate of 0.75 assists each game. That is a crazy number, that seemed unsustainable at the start but he has done well to maintain it. He has been the pass master at Chelsea and his Key Passes and Chances Created numbers too reflect the same. He makes an incredible 2.57 key passes per game, also creating a mind boggling 3.31 chances each 90 minutes.
He has made the most passes, with a rate of 84.33 passes each 90 minutes. No wonder Chelsea look sloppy when he has an off day. His 57.29 forward passes each 90 minutes help Chelsea keep the steady barrage of attacks going on. He also completes passes at an astounding rate of 87%. One would usually expect that for a player passing so much the completion rate would be lesser, but nothing of the sort in case of Fabregas.
The key question mark raised by the fans upon his signing was over the defensive side of his game. Mourinho likes his players to defend from the front and it was deemed crucial that Fabregas too possess the willingness to do the dirty work as well. He has done very well in that regard. If it were Hogwarts, he would surely be graded at an E – Exceeds Expectations. He has learned to tackle properly, foul when needed and he has looked more at home at Chelsea than he did at Barcelona.
What a mistake by Arsenal to not sign him back when the opportunity presented itself! Thankfully, he is now enthralling one and all in the Blue of Chelsea. He has been key to Chelsea’s play so far, being the catalyst in the transformation. If Chelsea are to bounce back from the recent disappointments and get onto another winning streak, which is crucial to win the League, Fabregas is integral to their plans. Fabregas needs to be playing at his best in order for Chelsea to get to their best. And as far as signings go, this one is a 10/10.
Author’s Note: All the statistics used were sourced from Squawka.