On April 23, Cesc Fabregas provided a virtuoso performance in midfield as Chelsea cruised to a comfortable 4-1 win at Bournemouth. In the process, the Spaniard notched up his 95th assist in the Premier League, making him the third highest assist provider in Premier League history.
Premier League legends, Ryan Giggs and Frank Lampard with 162 and 102 assists respectively, are the only players with more.
Being 28-years-old, Fabregas still has a number of years to go before contemplating retirement and could well surpass Lampard in that list, if not Giggs.
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His performances in the 2014/2015 season and his recent resurgence in 2016 has provided glimpses of Andrea Pirlo's time at Juventus.
Change in style
During his time at Arsenal and Barcelona, Fabregas often operated as an attacking midfielder. However, at Chelsea, he has been largely used deeper, playing alongside Nemanja Matic or John Obi Mikel in a central midfield pair.
From this deeper role, he is able to pick out the wingers' attacking runs behind the defence with pinpoint accuracy.
He is also able to slide in through balls with ease, as Bournemouth found out. The Spaniard could have easily registered 10 assists against the Cherries, but will still be satisfied with the three he did get.
Fabregas has never been the quickest player and as he approaches the 30-year-old mark, he can use his lack of pace to his advantage.
From a deeper role, he is able to pull the strings just like Pirlo did during his time at Juventus.
At Milan, Pirlo was more mobile and made more forward runs to support the attack when required. However, at Juventus, he reinvented himself as a deep-lying playmaker, allowing the likes of Paul Pogba, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal to rampage forward.
Fabregas has shown that he is ideal to replicate a similar role for Chelsea. With abilities and experience similar to the Italian legend, Conte could have yet another Pirlo to work with.
Both players possess incredible vision and passing ability, able to pick out long or short passes with relative ease. Their calmness, while on the ball, and clever movements allow for quick exchanges and crucial buildups.
Fabregas is undoubtedly one of the best passers in the Premier League and possibly the world. His first touch is exquisite and he is able to dribble in close quarters and combine well with other attacking players, making him a dangerous threat as a playmaker.
Fabregas has played at the top level since his teenage days at Arsenal and even appeared in the 2006 Champions League final for the Gunners at the tender age of 18.
He has won the Champions League and La Liga with Barcelona to add to the World Cup and consecutive European Championship triumphs with Spain.
Just like Pirlo, Fabregas has enjoyed football at the very top level and continues to do so with Chelsea. Many fans believe that the 28-year-old should be handed the captain's armband if Terry leaves next season.
Useful player for Antonio Conte
Newly appointed Chelsea manager Antonio Conte rated Pirlo very highly during his stint at Juventus and successfully utilised the midfielder's skills and experience to win the Serie A.
Conte could use Fabregas in a similar role at Chelsea. With the Italian's proposed 4-2-4 formation for the Blues, Fabregas will likely slot into central midfield with another player.
Both Matic and Mikel would be able to partner Fabregas in that role but Chelsea's recent progress in the chase for Roma's Radja Nainggolan means the Belgian could be the favourite to claim that spot.
Fabregas and Nainggolan could serve the same purpose for Chelsea as Pirlo and Vidal did for Juventus, which would provide Conte with a tailor-made midfield pair.
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