Three points clear of second placed Manchester City, Jose Mourinho’s men overcame Stoke City on Monday evening in a game which proved their title-winning quality. A notoriously hard team to defeat at the Britannia Stadium, goals from captain John Terry and playmaker Cesc Fabregas killed the game off, and created the three point gap that the Blues will be looking to keep up through the festive period.
It was Fabregas who took all the plaudits - also assisting Terry’s goal before netting his own - and his midfield partner Nemanja Matic praised the 27-year-old Spanish international’s performance, and his whole impact since his transfer to Stamford Bridge.
“Cesc is a very important player for us and he’s played very well this season,” the Serbian international told the official Chelsea website. “Of course we are happy because we have him in the team and I hope he will continue like this.”
However, Matic was keen to stress that, whilst Fabregas has been a key player this term, the Blues best strength is in their squad depth, with 25 players all able to step up and perform in the exact same manner - regardless of who has been named in the starting XI.
Matic added: “If I speak about him I have to say every player in the team is important for us, though.
“We are Chelsea and we have 25 players ready to play at any moment. It doesn’t matter who plays - we always play the same, we play like a team, and we play like we want. It’s very important for us and for our coach.”
Matic’s words ring true about nearly the entire side, with only one player’s absence truly felt when missing. Ironically, it was the Serb himself who was a major loss when missing the tie with Newcastle through suspension - the game that ended Chelsea’s unbeaten run since the start of the season. There is no out-and-out replacement for him, and it could be argued that Matic’s absence is the only time Chelsea look like they may suffer defeat in their current state.