Can Cesc Fabregas rediscover last season’s form?
Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Porto was a huge step in the right direction towards lifting the considerable cloud that has hung over Stamford Bridge this season, but the game could also serve as a wake-up call for Cesc Fabregas.
The Spanish midfielder was dropped to the bench for the important Champions League game that Chelsea could not afford to lose, but the team managed to get the job done in front of a very happy, yet relieved, home crowd.
Coral may still consider the Blues’ chances of going all the way in Europe this season as slim at 14/1, but if Fabregas can rediscover the sort of form that saw him register eighteen Premier League assists then Chelsea could enjoy success away from the league.
Fabregas has been a regular starter this season as Mourinho has stuck faith with a player who was so influential in Chelsea’s title-winning campaign. However, he will be the first to admit that he has struggled to have the same impact this season, and while this could be said for a number of his team-mates, the Spaniard found himself on the sidelines as Chelsea managed to finish top of Group G.
It was arguably Chelsea’s best performance of the season, and while Fabregas will undoubtedly be pleased that the team have reached the Champions League knock-out stages, he may have to look at his own performances and look at where he can improve to force his way back into Mourinho’s plans.
Fans may have to take a look at the line-up to see if Chelsea are worth backing with Coral to come away from Leicester with all three points, but the game could see Fabregas remain on the bench. The Spaniard has certainly not become a bad player overnight; his superb range of passing and ability to link-up play was a joy to behold last season as the team strolled towards the Premier League title with unerring ease, and it is these high standards that Fabregas will have to meet once again if he is to prove his critics wrong.
It would be highly unwise to write the 28-year-old off, especially as he has plenty of years at the top level ahead of him – but only if he remembers what made him one of the best central midfielders in Europe last season.
Fabregas has been singled out by Mourinho and the press for underperforming this season, and although he is not alone in this regard, it is up to the Spaniard to win his place in the team back. Chelsea’s number four has already voiced his anger over the poor season that his team has endured, but made a valid and poignant point about their current predicament when he said: “we’re the only ones who can turn things round. Nobody is going to give us a helping hand. We’re still in a position to challenge the big boys in the Champions League, but in the Premier League we need to get our act together right away.”
This may apply to himself, but if Chelsea are to turn their fortunes around and improve their Football Betting odds, then it will require a collective team effort to rediscover the qualities that not only made them so difficult to break down at the back, but also a formidable force going forward at the other end of the pitch.