Chelsea battled back from a goal down to record a 3-1 victory over Leicester on Wednesday, and moved within one win of securing their first Premier League title since 2010.
Goals from Didier Drogba, John Terry and Ramires sealed the win as Jose Mourinho’s side extended their lead at the top to a hefty thirteen points, with Cesc Fabregas once again plating an important role in the Chelsea midfield.
In supporting Ramires to score the third of the night, the Spaniard notched up his seventeenth assist of a remarkable season at the heart of the team, the highest of any player this season equalling his best return which has only been bettered twice in Premier League history by Thierry Henry (20) and Frank Lampard (18).
The 27-year-old could certainly be forgiven then for wondering just why on earth he wasn’t selected in the PFA Team of the Year with his omission certainly a contentious decision.
Over half the team was made up of Chelsea players, with midfielder Nemanja Matic one of six of his team-mates selected. But the omission of Fabregas came as a surprise particularly given the number of assists he has produced this season, and the inclusion of Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho in his place has proved controversial to say the least.
Creating 17 goals for a title-winning team surely warranted a place in the team, particularly when you compare that to the Brazilian who has managed just four all season.
It must be said his form did suffer slightly during the third quarter of the season which coming at the time when the votes were cast probably resulted in him missing the cut; a period which coincided with Coutinho’s purple patch that looks to have had the opposite effect. But for much of the campaign Fabregas has proven to be one of the best midfielders in the division and has been a huge part of Chelsea’s impressive dominance that makes the omission a strange one.
Having fallen out of favour at Barcelona with his first team opportunities limited, it was no surprise to see him return to the Premier League last summer, and at £27m he has turned out to be one of the signings of the season.
Although the Liverpool midfielder has put in some great performances himself, his four goals and four assists means he hasn’t had as big an impact on his team as Fabregas has had with Chelsea, and ironically since he was announced as part of the shortlist for the main award, his side have failed to win a game.
One win in five league games has seen their hopes of securing Champions League football for another season all but disappear and they also endured a disappointing defeat to Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final meaning the season will go down as a disappointment.
Fabregas on the other hand will surely be pleased with both his individual achievements as well as the success of the team as he prepares to celebrate winning the Premier League as early as this weekend.
There’s certainly reason to question a system that means the leading assist-maker fails to make it into the team of the year, and in many people’s view he would be included. While it would be unfair on Coutinho not give him the credit he deserves for a fine season, Fabregas has to be considered as the unluckiest absentee. Were the votes cast at the end of the season, or even today, then you have to feel the outcome would be different.