Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has been a player who has not yet started a Premier League game under his new manager as he is a bit out of favour at the moment. The Spanish midfielder has been an integral creative component for Chelsea since joining them from Barcelona in 2014/15. Playing in the deep midfield role, the Spaniard has shown his creative ability with his passing and vision as he racked up his number of assists to 26 already in the Premier League itself, more than any other Chelsea player in the same period.
Nevertheless, one of his main problems pertaining to his comparatively weak and lackluster defensive play, did turn him into one of the culprits behind some of the goals conceded by his team during matches. Antonio Conte is a manager who emphasizes on an approach which aims to attack but having a very compact and secured defensive structure at all times, something which Chelsea lacked last season with the double pivot of Matic and Fabregas in the deep midfield.
This year with the arrival of a human robot in the form of Kanté, someone who never tires, Chelsea have an excellent option of using Fabregas as a part of a three-man midfield which will ensure that the team won’t suffer from the lack of defensive work or the positioning of the Spanish midfielder. So far Antonio Conte has not taken the chance and has preferred to utilise Oscar in his lineup rather than Fabregas. Oscar is a bit more energetic than Fabregas and has more pace and offers better forward movement but has not been able to provide the creativity upfront. In fact, when Conte has utilized Fabregas from the bench, the team looked much more dangerous upfront creating openings and scoring late goals.
In their last game against Leicester in the EFL Cup, Fabregas showed his worth when he turned the game for Chelsea in the extra time scoring two goals. The performance of the midfielder has now put Conte under a bit of pressure and dilemma over his selection for the upcoming matches. Chelsea’s next assignment is Arsenal at the Emirates, which will be a real test for the manager as well as the full squad.
Conte now has to decide whether he should be using Fabregas and his creativity from the start or as an impact substitute to throw his opponents a challenge changing his tactics in the second half of the match, a ploy which has yielded results so far. Utilising Fabregas from the start might require a change in the formation for Conte, but the player if integrated can provide the smooth transition of his present 4-1-4-1 structure to a more purposeful 4-3-3.
Having Fabregas in the starting line-up will surely create a lot more chances for the forwards in the opposition box and with the presence of Kanté and Matic there would be enough cover defensively as well. There’s no doubt that Fabregas deserves to start for Chelsea but a lot would depend on what kind of formation Conte chooses to play with for the midfielder to function effectively for the team.