Many fans, particularly the faithful down at Stamford Bridge are wondering – what has happened to Cesc Fabregas? Could Jose Mourinho’s comments after joining the club be an omen? ‘He is a player in the best years of his career – 26,27, 28.’ He is twenty-eight-years-old now.
THE LATEST ISSUE FOR CESC FABREGAS
After the 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane on Sunday, a video emerged on the web of the Chelsea midfielder and all his ‘worse’ moments (scroll down to watch). The clip shows Fabregas falling over, failing to make a tackle and bizarrely kicking a ball into his own team mate's face to the theme song of the James Bond spoofs, Austin Powers. Not something Fabregas will want to be associated with.
For a player of his ability, he appears to have fallen from grace, a trait he shares with fellow Spaniard, Fernando Torres, who also had a difficult spell at Stamford Bridge following a £50-million move from Liverpool to Chelsea in the 2011 January transfer window.
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FABREGAS’ CLASS AND ABILITY
Fabregas burst onto the scene of the Premier League as a youngster in Arsenal's colours - Chelsea’s city rivals. At only 16-years-old, he was a fundamental part of the Arsenal squad in the coming years, winning his first silverware after a penalty shootout against Manchester United in the 2005 F.A Cup Final.
He won the 2008 PFA Young Player of the Year as well as the European Championships with Spain in the summer. When he was made club captain in the 2008-09 season, he began to show why Arsenal and Wenger put so much faith in him.
The following season he scored 15 goals and provided the same number of assists to his teammates – an exceedingly healthy return from a midfielder.
Again, he put himself further up the list of world-class midfielders, helping Spain to lift the 2010 World Cup with a stunning ball, coolly slotted through Andres Iniesta who thumped home the winner.
It was a huge shock to the Arsenal faithful when he re-joined Barcelona in 2011, his boyhood club. Again he settled in and became a big success quickly, even considering he was competing against two of the best midfielders in the world in Xavi and the aforementioned, Andres Iniesta.
Despite this pressure, Fabregas played for three seasons at Barcelona, scoring 48 goals in all competitions and winning six trophies, including one La Liga title and two Spanish Super Cups. Another impressive return from a midfielder.
CHELSEA – YEAR ONE – STANDOUT PERFORMER
Chelsea won the bidding war for Fabregas, pipping Manchester United and a believed first refusal option for Arsenal from securing his services in 2014. Jose Mourinho told the Daily Mail ‘I think he is the kind of player who will come and train for a couple of weeks and be ready to prove himself.’
And prove himself he did, helping Chelsea to lift their first Premier League title in four seasons with both Manchester clubs sharing the title in the meantime. Fabregas sparkled, providing assist after assist – 23 in total – and showed everybody why Chelsea had brought him to Stamford Bridge.
CHELSEA – YEAR TWO – UNDERPERFORMER
Ok, so this season his form has dipped. His latest performance against Tottenham has only fuelled critics’ opinions of him.
He was earlier accused of leading a dressing room revolt against the Chelsea manager, accusations he refutes strongly and Sky Sports reported via Spain’s Radio COPE he felt he was being targeted because ‘if you play well you are the first to have the finger pointed at you when things are going badly.’
This year, he has just three assists to his name in all competitions and although only a third of the season has passed, this is a troubling sign for the player and the Chelsea followers.
This drastic change in form comes largely from the current lack of spirit and clinical finishing the Chelsea squad produced last season to lift the league trophy. Players like Eden Hazard and Diego Costa look like shadows of their former selves and when they’re not at their best, Fabregas is not at his best – hence why Chelsea are not winning.
HAS FABREGAS ALREADY HIT HIS PEAK AND NOW ON A DECLINE?
Fabregas is a fantastic talent and Chelsea's overall dip in form is riddling the 28-year-old as well as other stars. He is working overtime in midfield where others are not stepping up.
It’s a tough but Mourinho will have to figure out how to get the Spaniard firing again in the next few weeks leading up to the Christmas break, otherwise his side could be missing out on Champions League football next season altogether.
The sooner Fabregas is back to his best, the sooner Chelsea will start winning again.