Chelsea will spend Christmas three points clear at the top of the Premier League table after they claimed a hard-fought victory against Mark Hughes' Stoke City on Monday evening.
The Blues always looked in control after John Terry nodded home the opener early on, before the brilliant Cesc Fabregas made the result safe with a scuffed finish in the second half. Handed a license to roam in behind Diego Costa, the Chelsea midfield general revelled in the opportunity to outclass the Potters.
The Spaniard chalked up his 12th assist of the season and considering he played a match-best four key passes, he would have created more, but for team-mates' poor finishing. Nonetheless, in just the second minute, his cross from a corner-kick laid the ball on a plate for captain John Terry, who expertly headed Chelsea into the lead.
While he has been appluaded for his creative prowess in recent weeks, he continues to prove his knack for finding the back of the net. Fabregas capped a fine showing with the Stamford Bridge outfit's second of the evening, scoring from only his second shot of the match; both of his attempts were on target.
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With just over ten minutes to play, the Blues' number eight found himself with space in the box, before receiving Eden Hazard's intricate pass. Upon receiving possession, he took a superb first touch before scuffing the ball from close range beyond Asmir Begovic; giving the visitors a deserved 2-0 lead.
Following his display against Stoke, Fabregas has now been involved in (scored or assisted) 36.8% of the Blues' goals in the Premier League this season, while he is now just one away from last season's top assist total, 13, set by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
The Spaniard cannot be accused of shirking his defensive responsibilities, and he showed few difficulties overcoming the physical nature of Hughes' Stoke. He won three tackles in total, while weighing in one clearance. He also claimed success in one headed duel.
It has to be noted, his passing will have disappointed somewhat, especially compared to his previous efforts. Here he recorded his second-worst success-rate of the season, completing just 78% of his attempts to find a teammate. However, this took very little away from his overall performance.
Chelsea sit safely at the summit of the Premier League table as the Christmas celebrations begin and this has a great deal to do with the form of Cesc Fabregas throughout the opening weeks of the campaign. He has been exceptional since his return to the England, the statistics simply support this notion.