Player Performance Analysis: How This Chelsea’s Midfield Maestro Fared Against Leicester City?

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Cesc Fabregas would not have dreamt about being dropped to the bench under the new management of Antonio Conte. After all, the Spaniard had contributed immensely to the club’s Premier League title in the 2014-15 season. Fabregas was certainly not at his best last campaign but so were the other blues. However, Fabregas has quite clearly been the reserve central midfielder as Conte has gone for the central midfield partnership of N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic.

Conte’s choice certainly seems surprising given that Fabregas is currently the best passer in the team by a considerable margin. The vision offered by the Spaniard is second to none; the only aspect missing from his game may be goals and that exhilarating work rate that Matic provides. Fabregas was at his imperious best in the EFL Cup against Leicester City. The blues were 2-0 down, but produced a stunning comeback to win 4-2.

One of the few weaknesses of Fabregas’ game is that he tries to pass even when there is an opportunity to score. Last season’s tally of six goals in 48 appearances remains his best goal return for the blues. His best season in terms of scoring goals was in the 2009-10 campaign when he scored an astonishing 19 goals in 36 games.

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On Tuesday night, though, there was a difference as the midfielder wanted to make an impression. He possibly received the best possible game in order to do so. In the absence of any form of European football, the League Cup (EFL Cup) and FA Cup are seen as realistic opportunities to win a title. For Chelsea to be 2-0 down after 35 minutes in the third round of the competition was not ideal and Fabregas potentially saved the day for Conte.

The first goal by the Spaniard showed his understanding with Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, as the trio combined with great harmony. The second goal was classic Fabregas as he waited just on the edge of the penalty box and took his chance with aplomb.

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A sign of a top player is performing on the pitch, but a sign of a top professional is continuing to do his duties even when not selected. Fabregas falls into the latter category and he has truly earned the praise of Conte. The Italian says that Fabregas has shown no reduction in the training intensity even when he is not selected on a regular basis.

Fabregas will always remain an impeccable creator of goals, but the 29-year-old may have to score – at least for the time being – some on his own to persuade Conte about a place in the starting line-up for the league fixtures.

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