Since moving back to England, Cesc Fabregas has registered nine assists in 11 Premier League outings, scoring one goal. Some have gone as far as suggesting Chelsea have finally found their replacement for Frank Lampard.
However - Paul Scholes this week claimed that Fabregas "cannot tackle," with Phil Neville going into further depth on Match of the Day about how, defensively, the Spaniard is the chink in Chelsea's armour.
Is this criticism unwarranted or do the two ex-Man Utd men have a point about the Blues' midfield maestro?
Fabregas has defensive issues
Well, I agree with them. To label him a 'weakness' is ridiculous of course, his productivity in possession is second to none, but there are some aspects of his game that are relatively ordinary.
This isn't a noticeable issue for Chelsea against the weaker sides as Fabregas controls the game, he's rarely tested - but in the bigger ones, his frailties can cost the team.
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Fabregas no shows in big games
If you're an avid follower of Spanish football, you'll know that Cesc is notorious for 'disappearing in the big games.' This trend has continued since his move to West London.
Against Manchester City, Manchester United and more recently Liverpool, the midfielder has struggled to have any real effect on the game. I believe this is due to Mourinho asking him to adopt a more reserved role - being weary of counter-attacks and midfield overloads.
But, he isn't suited to this task; it's not playing Fabregas to his strengths. He is weak in the tackle and noticeable gaps have appeared in the Chelsea midfield.
Why would you have a player of his quality, and hang him out to dry in a position that doesn't suit him?
Mourinho could play Cesc higher
I believe that if Mourinho wants to get the very best out of him in the bigger games, he needs to fill that void next to Matic with the more defensively apt Ramires or John Obi Mikel; thus giving Fabregas the freedom to roam and work his magic.
As long as the team are winning, the vast majority of fans will overlook the midfielder's infirmity - but to achieve perfection, you must iron out the creases.
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