On the 12th June 2014, Chelsea FC signed the magic midfield dynamite, Mr Francesc Fabregas, for a fee believed to be around £30 million.
Immediately unveiled in the prestigious number 4 shirt, once worn by fan favourites such as the great Claude Makélélé, as well as the elusive – and somewhat error prone – David Luiz.
Despite an early career in North London, with the ever-hated Gunners, having scored 57 goals for them, in 303 appearances between 2003 – 2011, Blues fans could not help but be delighted with the signing of the Spaniard, a winner of European Cups, World Cups, as well as multiple La Liga titles.
The early signs were promising with an immediate love affair beginning with Brazilian born Diego Costa, resulting in impressive results against the likes of Burnley, Everton, and most noticeably Arsenal – who can forget the magic ball played over for Costa to lob the helpless Wojciech Szczęsny? Continuing on Fabregas contributed with 2 more assists agaisnt Swansea, in a comfortable 4-2 win at the Bridge, with his first Chelsea goal coming days later against German outfit Schalke in the Champions League.
Impressive statistics continued to flood Cesc in glory, becoming the first player to assist in 6 successive Premier League games – having started the run with his last 2 matches at his spell at Arsenal – as well as playing 123 passes against Crystal Palace, and some more fine assists against the likes of Manchester United and West Brom.
However, after a five-goal demolition of Swansea, at the Liberty Stadium – appropriately also a rugby stadium given the nature of the score line – Fabregas, and the Blues form seemed to hit a snag.
Frustrating games against the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City, with points dropped in both, as well as shock FA Cup defeats to lowly Bradford City followed.
Much was said about Fabregas’ apparent lack of performances in the second half of seasons, with some saying it was the sole reason why Barcelona allowed one of their prized La Masia products to hunt for pastures new.
Jamie Carragher claimed he was blatantly not ‘tactically astute enough’, an opinion I will come back to later.
Yet as we all know the Chelsea dream was completed, although rudely interrupted by a Champions league knock out to PSG, the BPL title came back to the Bridge, with our man Cesc grabbing a key goal against London rivals, QPR.
Disappointing results followed – at the Hawthorns especially where Fabregas was somewhat peculiarly sent off for kicking a succulent pass into the unfortunate path of the Baggies players – however this was simply deemed as being a ‘Title hangover’, and all was quickly forgotten, and instead the focus was on the teams’ marvellous on field success.
After months off to recharge the batteries, and regain fitness, Chelsea began their pre season tour against MLS side, New York Red Bulls, a dismal performance ensued, with the Americans coming off 4-2 winners.
Concerns were not even raised, without even a murmur of worry on the endless supply of Chelsea social media pages.
Poor results and performances continued against PSG, Barça, Arsenal and Fiorentina. A tremor began to shake through the hardcore Chelsea Fan.
Nevertheless the Special one also seemed the confident one, and expectations where high ahead of the season opener against Swansea.
A 2-2 draw followed with a horrific game at the Etihad next, as well as a home loss to Palace days later. Things were certainly gloomy in West London, and Cesc Fabregas was beginning to crumble.
His first assist came against Israeli Champions, Maccabi Tel Aviv, his seventh competitive match of the season.
An assist followed against former club Arsenal, yet one must not forget they were 10 men down for the majority, thanks to a devilish display from King Costa, sending Gabriel Paulista to the showers.
This nightmare season continued for Chelsea with loses to Porto, Southampton, West Ham and Liverpool.
Charismatic Jose was sacked after a 2-1 defeat to Leicester, and fingers were pointed at the players.
It was clear big players in the dressing room, such as Hazard and Fabregas had let ‘the gaffer’ down.
Rumours circulated about an apparent revolt against the Portuguese, however some players quickly shot these down publically, such as Fabregas and his social media statement.
For me it was obvious, yes Jose had ‘lost the dressing room’, and discontent was evident between him and players such as Costa. However, the main reason for Chelsea’s poor start (and end) to the season was quite obvious.
It may seem crazy to you, maybe you feel you’ve read down to hear for nothing now, but I genuinely believe our poor results recently were down to one thing: Fabregas’ positioning on the football field.
Cesc was initially deployed as one of 2 deep lying midfielders, alongside Matic, when he arrived back in London.
As already explained things started wonderfully, however by the New Year, coaches had worked him out.
Simply flood him with attacking players, and he would be forced to retreat out of position and also unable to prevent the attacking onslaught.
Occasionally he was deployed in the number 10 role, with success shown in matches against the likes of Norwich. Subsequently, an assist followed, as well as a much-needed 3 points.
With Mourinho gone, Hiddink has begun to play Fabregas further forward, albeit against weak opposition in MK Dons and Newcastle.
However, one cannot help but notice 5 goals were scored in both games, proving my logic is not quite as silly as you may be thinking.
To conclude, I believe for Chelsea to have a positive end to the season and resurrect some sort of pride into the Chelsea name, Mr Francesc Fabregas must play as a number 10, or not at all.
We must play with 2 deep lying midfielders, Mikel and Matic the only option – a summer signing is a necessity – to protect the defence, and more importantly give the front 4 the licenses to punish defences, as we so frequently saw in the early days of Fabregas.