Great stuff here. Best bits:
One thing can be put to bed after his much-trailed return to the Emirates. Arsenal have missed a few things this season but [Fabregas] isn’t one of them. There is surely no elite level Premier League player who offers such an uneven contribution.
If there’s one thing [Arsenal] doesn’t need it is another physically lightweight passing midfielder. And yet even in a title-bound season there is a case to be made that Fàbregas isn’t really the player Chelsea need either: a midfielder who for all his creative incision embodies Chelsea’s obvious missing quality, a lack of real drive and presence in the heart of the team.
Too often Fàbregas has been invisible since the new year, or bypassed completely when Chelsea play on the break. Eight minutes before half-time here, Willian, Eden Hazard and Ramires constructed a lovely thrust down the left that led to the Brazilian almost prodding the ball past Ospina. At the time Fàbregas was 40 yards away, chugging gamely upfield like a three-legged dog.
On this evidence it isn’t hard to see why Fàbregas’s peers didn’t vote him into the Professional Footballers’ Association’s team of the year. A midfielder who will only pass the ball on, who has no burst of speed to offer another option is always easier to play against.
There was a change for Fàbregas in the second half, Didier Drogba’s introduction in place of Oscar leaving Fàbregas in the No10 role and Chelsea with surely the most grandly immobile title-bound attack in Premier League history.
Fàbregas has been good enough to provide a major push towards another domestic title. But you wonder how long before Mourinho concedes publicly that perhaps Barcelona were right – that at the higher level, as the fulcrum of a genuinely top class, Champions League-chasing team, Fàbregas is simply not mobile enough, not versatile enough, destined perhaps to spend the final third of his career as a Mozart of the elite second-rankers.