Arsene Wenger plays down the impact of Fabregas in Chelsea defeat

Arsene Wenger Press Conference - 18/02/2014

Cesc Fabregas was pivotal to Chelsea's win over Arsenal this afternoon - but Wenger did not want to admit it.

Arsenal took on Chelsea today in the Premier League in an emotionally charged fixture at Stamford Bridge.

Gary Cahill and Danny Welbeck both should have been sent off for awful challenges while Laurent Koscielny was also lucky to stay on the pitch.

Meanwhile, seconds out round one, as Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger went toe-to-toe on the touchline in one of the Premier League's more amusing handbags moments.

But the emotions were of course there from the beginning, as Cesc Fabregas was facing his boyhood club.

Fabregas joined Arsenal aged 16 from Barcelona and made his debut a few months later. Wenger made him captain and then had to watch, hands tied, as Fabregas left for Barcelona in 2011.

This summer he refused the chance to re-sign the player, who then decided on Chelsea - where he has been a sensation.

He was superb once again today, bagging yet another assist for Diego Costa. It was his eight assist for Chelsea and another indication of his excellence - and Arsenal's lack of foresight in not signing him this summer.

But after the game, when quizzed on the performance, Wenger seemed to downplay the contribution of Fabregas despite an excellent performance:

"He [Fabregas] did well but I think in midfield it was very even. At the end of the day it is Hazard and Diego Costa who made the difference."

Of course Wenger would play down his performance. He should be embarrassed that he had the opportunity to bring him back to The Emirates this summer and did not take it - leaving the door open for his arch-nemesis Mourinho to make him the focal point of what now looks like the champions elect.

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