Antonio Conte praised Cesc Fabregas for stepping off the bench and creating Chelsea’s winner at Watford.

Only a few days ago the Spaniard was shockingly linked with a return to Arsenal when Wenger, amid renewed criticism of his transfer policy, claimed almost every player who has left Arsenal under his stewardship has asked to return to the club.

Wenger refused to elaborate on which high-profile stars had been keen on making a return, but he may well have referred to the likes of Cesc Fabregas who joined Chelsea in the summer of 2014, despite Arsenal having inserted a buyback clause in his Barcelona contract.

Etienne Capoue put the Hornets ahead in the second half before substitute Michy Batshuayi levelled the scores on 80 minutes.

Fabregas then made his mark on the game seven minutes later when he put Diego Costa clear to secure all three points.

The Spaniard was also a substitute in the win against West Ham on Monday and Conte hinted that he is still looking for his preferred central midfield duo with Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante currently getting the nod.

“I’m pleased for the substitutes that came off the bench,” Conte said.

“They showed great attitude and commitment with Cesc Fabregas and Michy Batshuayi making a real impact.

“We all know Cesc’s quality, he’s a great player but it’s important to understand that we are at the beginning of the season and I am looking for the right balance.”

Conte’s reign at Chelsea has started in fine style with two wins out of two and the Italian was pleased with what he saw at Vicarage Road.

Fabregas has also been linked with a move to Juventus and Real Madrid in recent weeks.

The Spaniard is reportedly seeking a move away from Chelsea as he hasn’t cemented himself a place in Antonio Conte’s starting XI as of yet.

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