The options Cesc Fabregas would open up for Chelsea 0

This isn’t a secret anymore, is it?  Cesc Fabregas is moving closer to Chelsea all the time, and from the reports in the papers it would seem as if the only obstacle to this transfer is the Spaniard’s involvement in the World Cup.

So let’s say that he does move to Stamford Bridge, what would the implication be?  Well, beyond an incredulous response from Arsenal fans, it would create a lot more diversity within the Chelsea squad and provide Jose Mourinho with a lot of midfield flexibility.

A couple of formation options:

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i) Fabregas as part of the midfield pivot with Nemanja Matic, playing almost as a deep-lying playmaker behind the standard three attacking-midfielders.  Matic is the principal defensive presence, but Fabregas’ passing-range and technical ability allows Chelsea to move the ball quickly and creatively in between the two halves of the side.

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ii)  In the role he typically thrived in for Barcelona: as a number ten.  Mourinho’s system is slightly different to any in which we’ve seen Fabregas in before, because any player asked to play that role at Chelsea has a significant defensive/pressing responsibility.  He has the vision to be very effective in this position, but his durability remains in question and it’s hard to know whether he can match the work-rate of a Willian or an Oscar in this role.

Ramires would revert to the deeper position and provide more defensive security, perhaps making this a line-up more likely to be used away from home against stronger opponents.

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A hybrid of the first two options.  Fabregas plays in deep-midfield with Ramires starting on the right-hand side, but in reality the Brazilian operates both in the position shown and alongside Fabregas and Matic - Mourinho did something quite similar to this against Manchester City at the The Etihad last season, and combined stability in midfield with a lightning-quick counter-attack.  Both Fabregas and Ramires have the attributes to be a defensive asset and to periodically become the extra man when Chelsea transition across the half-way line.  It’s tactically quite complex and the players have to be very well drilled to execute it properly, but it can be extremely effective against sides who are over-committing in pursuit of a goal.

This is something we’ll come back to in more depth as and when the deal gets completed…

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