The great (C)escape?
After a short spell spent in Catalonia alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi, and Andres Iniesta, Fabregas caused quite the stir in opting to return to London: but this time for Chelsea.
However, after stumbling further down Maurizio Sarri’s pecking order, the Spaniard has now been linked with a move to Monaco: a deal that would see him play under the guise of former Arsenal team-mate, Thierry Henry.
Would Chelsea be smart in allowing Fabregas to leave the club? Our tactical analysis compares his and his teammates’ statistics to find out.
Chelsea’s new structure under Sarri
Maurizio Sarri’s introduction of his patented 4-3-3 at Chelsea has allowed the side to enjoy a much more dominant midfield than in previous seasons.
Under Antonio Conte, either Nemanja Matic or Fabregas featured alongside N’golo Kante as a midfield pairing. Both players had very little to do in contributing to the side’s attack, however.
Now, through the implementation of Jorginho as a deep-lying playmaker, each of those playing alongside the Italian in the middle of the park is allowed much more freedom.
Kante is now more of a box-to-box threat – as opposed to his usual sweeper style – and Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley both play more of a part in carrying the ball from their own half into their opponents.
Part of Cesc Fabregas’ trademark playing style since arriving at Chelsea has been his ability to inspire goals from the deeper midfield areas.
However, judging by the graphic above, Fabregas has been a shadow of his former self.
In terms of chances created, Fabregas sits ahead of only Jorginho. Although, this isn’t saying much given how deep the Italian has played under Sarri this season.
Fabregas has averaged 1.3 chances created this season per 90 metrics, while on-loan star Mateo Kovacic tops the lot with 1.67. N’golo Kante has managed an average of 1.44 chances created per 90 metrics, further showing his new-found attacking responsibilities.
Next, Fabregas again comes second-to-last in the number of completed passes he has averaged per 90 metrics. The Spaniard has recorded 83.48 passes, ahead of only Kante who has managed 63.94.
However, the Frenchman can be excused from this particularly poor statistic, given that his mobility and pace have allowed him to carry the ball forward towards goal, as opposed to passing it.
Unsurprisingly, it’s Jorginho who’s averaged the highest number of passes per 90 metrics (111.36.).
In terms of both goals scored and assisted, Fabregas hasn’t made any input, with 0 in both disciplines. Meanwhile, Ross Barkley has seemingly contributed the most to Chelsea’s goalscoring output, tallying 0.52 goals and 0.52 assists per 90 metrics.
Fabregas isn’t particularly known for his defensive contributions to a team. Typically, he’s featured alongside a Nemanja Matic or a Sergio Busquets the solely rest the defensive responsibilities on their shoulders.
The statistical graphic above further shows that defending is arguably the weakest area of Fabregas’ game.
The Spaniard hasn’t managed any successful take-ons in the games he has featured for Chelsea, and also tallied the highest number of yellow cards per 90 metrics (0.65) – despite featuring in the fewest number of games.
Meanwhile, Mateo Kovacic further illustrates why he’s possibly been one of Chelsea’s most promising midfielders this season. The Croat tops both the highest number of tackles won (1.46) and successful take-ons (2.09) per 90 metrics.
Unsurprisingly, Kante’s unmatched work ethic has allowed seen him tally the most interceptions per 90 metrics (1.81). Although, a staple of Kante’s game throughout his seasons under Conte was, in fact, his interceptions. Therefore, you’d expect him to top this discipline.
To put the contrasting styles of Fabregas and Kante into perspective: Fabregas has managed an average of only 0.65 interceptions per 90 metrics. Just over a third as much as the more mobile Frenchman.
To conclude, it appears as though Cesc Fabregas’ time in contention for the Chelsea starting 11 has come to an end – and Maurizio Sarri has wasted no time in allowing his breed of players to step in.
Given the recent acquisition of Christian Pulisic from Dortmund, Chelsea will be looking to recoup some of the money they have invested in reinforcing their attacking options.
Eliminating Fabregas’ wages from the long list of expenses will undoubtedly help the club financially. Especially given the fact his peers have shown this season they get along just fine in his absence.
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