One assist, four key passes: Fabregas excels in new role for Chelsea

Cesc Fabregas shone as Chelsea defeated Championship side Derby County in the League Cup.

Fabregas has been a vital part of the Blues side who have performed so well this season, sitting deep in the midfield and dictating play alongside Nemanja Matic.

However, he took up a different position against Derby County in the League Cup quarter-final on Tuesday evening, playing as a classic number 10 further up the pitch. With Jose Mourinho adopting two holding midfielders in Matic and John Obi Mikel - wary of the pace possessed by the Rams on the counter-attack - the attacking triumvirate of Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle were given free will to attack as they pleased with a solid base behind them.

As expected, all three played an important part in the strong 3-1 victory, with Schurrle and Hazard scoring the opening and closing goals, and Fabregas himself assisting his Belgian teammate in the run up to his strike. And although the Spaniard was in the background in relation to his goalscoring compatriots, the 27-year-old once again proved his value and adaptability for Mourinho’s side after excelling in the number 10 role.

  ShotsAssistsKey PassesDribblesAccurate PassesPassing AccuracyTouches
Cesc Fàbregas 0 1 4 2 81 84% 95

Despite registering an average position that left him almost in line with Didier Drogba, Fabregas continued to show the kind of dominating performance associated with him in a deeper role, although with an added attacking flair. On top of his game high 95 touches - 18 more than the second closest total - and his game high 81 passes - with a surprisingly low completion rate of just 84% - Fabregas also acted as a classic number 10, winning two dribbles.

Although he failed to register a shot on target, he played in Eden Hazard for the opening goal, and his four key passes should have registered a further assist if Loic Remy had converted the chance that fell to Andre Schurrle to put in the net. Playing between the lines, Fabregas was offered the time and space to excel that would have been closed down if playing in his deeper position, and it gave real hope that the Spaniard could soon be turning out in that position in the Premier League.

Although Mikel offers little in the way of attacking threat, a double-pivot of him and Matic is remarkably effective at shielding the defence, and it gives Fabregas the freedom to express himself as a creative outlet. He may have won over plaudits this season for his role in the deeper position, but, following the performance at the iPro Stadium, it would not be surprising to see Fabregas turning out as a number 10 on multiple occasions for the remainder of the season.

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