Cesc Fabregas has suffered a severe drop in form since Christmas but thanks to an impressive first half of the season he will most likely finish the campaign with both the Premier League and Capital One Cup.
The 27-year-old initially left Arsenal to live out his dream of playing for Spanish giants Barcelona in 2011. No doubt the ex-Gunners captain was also in search of elusive trophies and the Catalan club provided that in his maiden season.
But the dream only lasted three years – with a lot of his time spent on the substitute’s bench – so a move to South West London appeared the perfect way to rescue his stunted career.
The midfielder joined Chelsea for £30m on a five year deal and immediately made an impact. His eight years at Arsenal meant that he was already very familiar with the demands of the Premier League and by December Fabregas looked set to break Thierry Henry’s assist record of 20 in one season.
But with eight games to go Fabregas has not been displaying the same explosive form which had earlier lit up the league.
Despite his recent lack of impact, Fabregas still has 16 assists to his name and Chelsea continue to sit top of the table with a seven point gap and a game in hand. Unfortunately for manager Jose Mourinho Fabregas’ slump coincided with their Champions League last 16 fixtures. The deep lying playmaker found it difficult to create opportunities for his forwards and the Blues crashed out on the away goals rule to French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Mourinho continues to show his faith in his player by still starting him in all but four of their league matches this season. If there was more time left then surely Fabregas would regain some of his form but with only six weeks to go he may not have enough time to really turn things around.
Fabregas is not the only Chelsea player to be struggling recently. The squad as a whole have experienced a dip though they continue to grind out results. Chelsea have won their last three from four matches and have suffered the least amount of defeats this season (two). Mourinho’s insistence on his players tracking back has ensured they remain sound in defence and having a world class goalkeeper in Thibaut Courtois has certainly helped.
Fabregas’ decline in form has also extended to his international matches. He played all 90 minutes of Spain’s clash with the Netherlands but failed to make any real impact. A 2-0 defeat put him under the spotlight particularly as he was given the honour of the captain’s armband for the friendly match.
Back home Fabregas had an eventful last game which saw Chelsea beat Stoke 2-1 but the Spaniard was left bruised and bloodied after a collision to the face by Charlie Adam’s out-swinging arm. The Blues next face relegation threatened Queens Park Rangers at their Loftus Road stadium with Mourinho’s men favourites to take all three points.
Although it is never good to see an experienced and influential player lose form fortunately for Chelsea they have an enviable points cushion. Hopefully next season he’ll be back to his best and able to make an impact throughout the year without a post-Christmas dip.