Chelsea must find way to rediscover Fabregas’ spark

Date published: Saturday 14th November 2015 3:51

Cesc Fabregas: Midfielder belied club form to star in Spain win

Cesc Fabregas: Midfielder belied club form to star in Spain win

Cesc Fabregas has denied something is amiss at Chelsea but his performance for Spain on Friday underlines otherwise.

The former Barcelona midfielder has been highlighted as one of the biggest underperformers in Chelsea’s dreadful title defence, but put in a vintage show as Spain outclassed England 2-0 in Alicante.

Earlier this month The Secret Footballer even told TEAMtalk that Fabregas has divided the squad at Stamford Bridge, leading a “mini revolt” against Jose Mourinho’s pragmatic style of play.

Such claims were strenuously denied by both the player and the club, with Fabregas telling Spanish radio station COPE: “Mourinho trusts us and we trust him. Obviously it is a lie. I backed him in a very difficult time.”

That may be true but it is evident that something is not quite right in West London.

Much has been made of the role he has largely been selected to play by Mourinho – patrolling central midfield in a partnership with an emphasis on protecting the Blues’ leaky back four.

In contrast, the 28-year-old was allowed much more freedom representing his country on Friday, playing largely as a number 10 at the tip of a midfield diamond.

With Sergio Busquets guarding Spain’s defence, and Thiago Alcantara and Andres Iniesta leisurely recycling possession, Fabregas was afforded the time to find pockets of space around his English counterparts.

It is a position he was often tasked with for the first half of last season, as Chelsea laid the platform for their dominant title-winning campaign by playing an attacking brand of football which is rarely seen by a Mourinho side.

During that period he was involved in 15 goals, either scoring them himself or providing the final pass for a team-mate.

Come the new year Chelsea’s attitude visibly changed, and the football became increasingly reliant on Eden Hazard coming up with a deciding moment of brilliance.

Domestically, the Spaniard’s lacklustre form has continued into the current campaign, and has become more provident with the champions languishing 16th in the Premier League, only three points above the relegation zone.

Cesc Fabregas

It would be unfair to pin the lowly position solely on Fabregas – Mourinho has problems which need solving all over the pitch – but he does appear to have been somewhat scapegoated by his manager.

Having been left out of the starting lineup in three of Chelsea’s last four matches, he was also substituted at half-time at West Ham.

In stark contrast, his natural abilities are accentuated by Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque, and the statistics also highlight the improvement in his performance, underlining just how much more involved he was in the game.

According to WhoScored, in the Premier League Fabregas has made an average of 67.4 passes per game, with an 82.9% completion rate, including 1.8 key passes.

On Friday he made 99 passes, but what catches the eye is how much more incisive he made his contributions – completing 87.9% and making three key passes.

His pièce de résistance was the brilliantly languid clip to Mario Gaspar – the type of pass he made look effortlessly easy on numerous occasions in the first half of last season – which was met by an equally superb finish by the right-back.

In addition, Fabregas’ increased involvement in attack did not come at the expense of his defensive work – a part of his game which is widely criticised.

With Spain pressing England high up the pitch he made six tackles, in comparison to an average of 2.1 per game in the league.

Of course it should be pointed out that Roy Hodgson’s outfit did not present the sternest of tests, but it was possibly a fair reflection of how plenty teams have set up against the Blues this campaign.

England sat back with numbers behind the ball and looked to hit their opponents on the break.

Whereas Fabregas has mostly failed to provide the quality required to break teams down – he has registered only one assist in 12 appearances – in Alicante he suddenly appeared more confident in his ability to do so.

Perhaps most tellingly, in a Spain shirt and surrounded by those players he seemed to be enjoying his football.

If Mourinho is to turn things around at Stamford Bridge, he needs to find a way to get Fabregas smiling again in a Chelsea shirt.

Rob Conlon

Why do you think Fabregas’ form has dipped for Chelsea? Have your say below.

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Home Forums Fabregas bossed England, why can’t he do the same for Chelsea?

This topic contains 21 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Wise-fan Wise-fan 1 year ago.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 22 total)
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  • #705805

    Rob Conlon
    Moderator

    Cesc Fabregas may have denied that something is amiss at Chelsea but his performance for Spain on Friday suggested otherwise.

    [See the full post at: Fabregas bossed England, why can’t he do the same for Chelsea?]

    #705832

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    Fabregas needs to be played further up the pitch imo as he was for Spain last night if we do that we will imo see much better performances from him.

    #705880

    bluepylon
    Participant

    Good shout 999
    No way is fabregas effective anyway near any sort of defensive midfielder, can we not agree that this s more to do with Jose tactics!!!!!!!!

    #705889

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    b/p, clearly it’s tactical but the strategy as I understand has been to play Fabregas in a Pirlo type deep lying role and for attacks to build from the back through him and he clearly isn’t as comfortable in that deep lying role versus the more advanced role that he played yesterday for Spain which in fairness he has played recently v Kiev home and away and v WHU away.

    #705973
    SensibleS7
    SensibleS7
    Participant

    To answer the question, I would say in general (in suspect), different sets of terms and conditions under club Manager, perhaps a slight differentiation in role, and you being surrounded by different players.

    All points I feel of validity against this thread of question.

    Cheers

    #706078
    Wise-fan
    Wise-fan
    Participant

    999, i think you should have know that Fabregas isn’t Pirlo. the thing is that Mourinho likes to have 10 players behind the ball most of the game,with Spanish national team that is different. attacking players are allowed to play their game. that is why you see improved performance from Fabregas.

    #706111

    Blueowner
    Participant

    A case of managing him in his best position

    Pretty obvious

    #706120
    FoxInTheBox™
    FoxInTheBox™
    Spectator

    999 you’re clueless. Fabregas will always struggle while he has fans like you around who can’t understand what he needs. The problem is, he’s given no freedom to play by your lame manager.

    He isn’t the defender that Jose wants him to be, but he isn’t the ‘advanced’ midfielder you think he is either. He IS actually the deep-lying playmaker that you have dismissed him to be!

    Chelsea demand him to defend for his life all game long but he just isn’t comfortable doing that.

    He simply needs freedom to play and be creative. He’s the link between defence and attack. He likes to come deep and collect the ball where he can see the whole field ahead. That’s where he’s at his most dangerous. He likes to pull defenders out of place with possession and clever, intricate build up play. He’ll hit killer balls on the counter too, as long as you have an intelligent willing runner up front, which Chelsea don’t have.

    It was obvious from the moment you signed him that he would be wasted at a negative club like Chelsea. Such a shame for such a talented player…

    #706147

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    Foxy, here’s a bit of a revelation for you football fans have no sway as to where a player plays for their team. Lol!

    And according to Fabregas himself he hasn’t played in a deep lying role since the 2008/09 season at Arsenal! And all of his most successful years in football have been in an advanced role!

    #706153
    FoxInTheBox™
    FoxInTheBox™
    Spectator

    Surprise surprise. It’s ANOTHER daft comment from Mr 999! You’re really consistent aren’t you?

    Obviously his most ‘successful’ years were beyond ’09; He was playing for Barcelona!

    But that just proves you’re clueless, because he didn’t fit there. They employed him in advanced roles where he struggled to impress.

    His personal best football however was played AT Arsenal up to ’09!

    Wasteman…

    #706255

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    Foxy, Arsenal were employing a 4,4,2 system back then with Chelsea currently employing a 4,2,3,1 system Fabregas is often too deep to influence the game and he lacks the defensive discipline to play there far better to play him in the 10 position at Chelsea imo where as we saw for Spain he can influence the game.

    #706309
    FoxInTheBox™
    FoxInTheBox™
    Spectator

    Wtf? Where did you conjure that nonsense from? Fabregas played in a fluid 4-3-3 slash 4-5-1 system for us. We stopped playing 4-4-2 the season after the Invincibles…

    #706342

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    Foxy, Fabregas played both in the 442 and 433 systems at Arsenal in either system Wenger employed a defensive midfielder and Fabregas had no defensive responsibilities.

    He lacks defensive nous and is much better employed further up the pitch imo which I think you will find is the majority opinion of most on here and also most Chelsea fans.

    #706432

    mtal61
    Participant

    Well 999 @ 12;05…in my honest opinion I think Cesc’s prospects at the club will soon come to grief if he doesn’t get with the program,he’ll suffer the same fate that befell Mata.Jose has been instrumental winning 3 EPL titles at Chelsea and imo all those successes can be attributed to us being a tight defensive unit that didn’t concede or give away much.The fact that Jose likes to build teams from the back where he insists all personnel in the team will contribute to the defensive aspects of play,players of a more creative bent are not spared this responsibility.No idea what formation Spain employed y’day but Cesc playing well in an advanced role without having to worry about defensive duties…I really can’t see Jose affording Cesc that privilige tbh,you know how Jose is a stickler for detail…it’s his way or no way but the highway,just can’t see Jose altering the formation to accomodate Cesc or to a lesser extent Hazard.These pair of players enjoyed a fair amount of success with us last year,what has changed this year?,we just can’t get them going which is perhaps why we’re struggling!.

    #706468
    Wise-fan
    Wise-fan
    Participant

    that is the reason why Mourinho will never be a world class could in the mould of Pep, Delbosque and Ancelotti.he only concentrates on defensive work, thus killing the talents of the players at our disposal. every tom and jerry knows that Fabregas isn’t suited to defensive game, yet Mourinho is insisting on playing him. because he has no courage to attack the opposition. i always concentrates on having 10 players behind the ball when we are facing Barcelona and when we are facing Burnley.

    #706477

    palmeab
    Participant

    I am not certain that it is ever a good policy to ask a player to play like “so-and-so” or in the (say) Pirlo role. People have been described as playing in the Makalele role…..but as the terrace mantra has it – “there’s only one Claude Makalele”. Frankly, Fabregas is nothing like Pirlo and whereas that might have been a comfortable description for the “shoe size for IQ” journos, I cannot believe that Mourinho saw him is that role. He was (is) a playmaker and – to answer the question posed at he head of this thread – he will be that again when Chelsea do as Spain did and use him to his (our) best advantage. In another thread (which in this tortuous new format I believe was in answer to a Wise-man post) I said that no coach knows everything?…no, not even Mourinho – and it will be to the benefit of club, player and his own future if Mourinho takes his senior players into his confidence and ask how THEY want to play, how we should be set-up. I have no more evidence than anyone else that this does not already occur – other than that of my eyes because you will find it hard to convince me that players like Hazard, Oscar, Pedro and Fabregas actually like playing as we do and senior players with over 100 caps probably find some of our selections and set-up as baffling as we do. I say again: let us see our squad being told to play with freedom and to express themselves as we know they can, yes with defensive discipline but an attacking bent which puts our OPPONENT under stress….not us! And Fabregas playing like a Spaniard!

    #706537

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    wise fan, whilst I have a degree of sympathy in what you are saying I am not sure any top side certainly a top side in the PL can put out a midfield and tell two of that midfield to forget their defensive duties which seems to be what you are proposing in respect of both Hazard and Fabregas.

    #706543

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    palmeab, playing the Pirlo role was a short cut to describe a deep lying play maker which is rightly or wrongly what Mourinho has previously tasked Fabregas with.

    Nobody least of all me was suggesting that Mourinho has or indeed ever would ask Fabregas to go out and play like Pirlo! And also to try and explain that Fabregas is not a defensive midfielder and has never been asked to play as a defensive midfielder!

    #706588

    mtal61
    Participant

    Ok wise-fan,they say ‘beauty’ is in the eye of the beholder,you can’t stand Jose because he’s too ‘negative’ and defense-minded whereas I think he’s ideal for us because he’s more astute and in tune to how the game is played nowadays and last but not least Jose gets the job done in that we win stuff.And please don’t even think of going there by saying anybody with minimal football knowledge can achieve the same as Jose given our financial clout!.It seems you’d rather us be more like a flamboyant post 70’s Brazil where we look good walking the ball into the net,where we can’t defend for toffee but we’ll win by out-scoring our opponents,eg opponents score 3 so we score 4,5 or 6…ain’t going to happen mate!,that type of football you don’t see in top flight football anymore.I don’t know where you’ve been but I tell you now that defensive play and technique have vastly improved and have come on in leaps and bounds since those exciting Brazil days.Top flight teams winning stuff don’t have ‘sole luxury’ players like a Le Tissier’s or Glen Hoddle’s who are just there to spray ‘Hollywood passes about the place and scoring goals but contribute nothing towards defensive work.That’s the reason Mata went,Jose wants ‘all singing all dancing’ workers who can contribute to get the work done.In the modern game defending teams are more inclined to sit back and beckon the attacking team on so that they can exploit the holes that’s been left with counter attack,you see it all the time mate…teams starting impromptu attacks and getting hit on the break and getting sucker punched.The game’s gone all tactical and strategical where the best prepared team are the one’s that usually prosper over the course of a season.

    #706642

    palmeab
    Participant

    mtal61 – There is so much misunderstanding and downright lack of knowledge about your above post that I am only going to dwell – very briefly – on only one aspect…..the history you claim so much about. The misreading of today’s game I shall leave for you yo keep on watching and hope to learn. Anybody who actually believes that erstwhile Brazilian teams threw caution to the wind and “couldn’t defend for toffee” weren’t there. Are you telling me that Everaldo and Carlos Alberto couldn’t defend? Or Socrates or, later, Dunga. Did you not see that Clodoaldo worked as a pivot with Rivalino to give steel in midfield for Gerson to work his magic? Or did you mean Chelsea? Did Ron Harris or Eddie McCreadie or Ken Shellito or Marvin Hinton, or John Dempsey or David Webb not defend? Were John Hollins and John Boyle reckless attackers? The trouble is that there are far too many fans like you who did not see that era and allow themselves to be influenced by others with an agenda. For the record Glenn Hoddle was an ace midfielder who sprayed passes around rather more accurately and better than any English player today. As for things being not as they were in the old days: this is so but more is similar than you give credit for and note that, before I leave the present day to you to take up your tutorial, that Manchester City are top of the PL for a good reason which includes doffing more of a hat to old style virtues than Chelsea presently do.

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