Chelsea midfielder Francesc Fabregas may have ended his season on a sour note thanks to the sending off at West Brom, but he’ll be more than happy with his achievement cemented by CIES Football Observatory.
According to the Swiss tactical analysis system Fabregas has been the best defensive midfielder in Europe this season, eclipsing the likes of teammates Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic, Real Madrid star James Rodriguez and Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey.
The Spaniard, who has recorded an impeccable 18 Premier League assists this term - just two shy of Thierry Henry’s all-time record of 20 - scored a perfect 100 in CIES’ results, which are based around six metrics including rigour, recovery, distribution, take on, chance creation and shooting.
Closest to him was Paris Saint-Germain ace Marco Verratti who recorded a score of 96.3, whilst Xabi Alonso of Bayern Munich finished third with 91.2.
Though it’s certain to be a source of joy for Chelsea fans there’s one set of supporters who will be highly frustrated with the results, and if you can’t guess we’ll offer the hint that they play in north London and are one of Fabregas’ former clubs.
That’s right, Arsenal were strongly linked with buying Fabregas back from Barcelona before opting against activating their first refusal advantage, thus allowing him to sign with Mourinho’s Chelsea.
Given how well the 28-year-old has fared during his first season back on English shores it appears to have been a major oversight by Arsene Wenger, who to his credit did buy the supremely impressive Alexis Sanchez.
Fantastic Chilean’s aside though Arsenal fans have had to endure a season of watching Fabregas pick apart sides with precision passes and on-point set-pieces, with the Spaniard’s lifting of the Premier League title sure to have struck an unhappy chord with the Emirates Stadium faithful.
What it means
The fact that according to the Football Observatory’s stats Arsenal’s best defensive-midfielder is Ramsey, who is placed 14th overall, won’t help matters, although the fact that Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren is 12th in the defender category amongst Europe’s best might push some into questioning what the results can actually signify.
That said there’s definitely a feeling of regret that Wenger didn’t opt to lure Fabregas back to the Emirates Stadium when he had the chance, and that won’t go anywhere so long as the Spaniard continues to attract plaudits and appraisals in such frequent abundance.
Arsenal fans, how disappointed were you that Wenger decided not to purchase Fabregas? Let us know your feelings on the matter in the comments box below.