Cesc Fabregas seems to be getting ever closer to his very best and the assists are returning in tandem.
Having hit the ground running in his inaugural season at Stamford Bridge, he was one of the biggest victims of last year’s unprecedented capitulation. Moreover, Antonio Conte appeared far from keen to start Fabregas at the beginning of his tenure.
How quickly things can change though. In fact, the ex-Arsenal man seems to have re-established himself in the Chelsea side after a troubled 18 months. He’s broken a Premier League record as means of celebration, too.
When Jose Mourinho snapped up Fabregas in 2014, it appeared an inspired decision. One year, one league title and 18 league assists later and those suspicions were confirmed.
Nevertheless, when 2015-16 saw Chelsea execute the Premier League’s worst ever title defence, the 29-year-old was nowhere to be seen. He joined Diego Costa, Nemanja Matic and Eden Hazard in experiencing a horrendous nosedive in form.
The respective arrivals of Guus Hiddink and Conte did little to change this also. The latter saw Fabregas regularly reduced to the bench and he had amassed just one league start prior to the winter period.
Since something of an inspired performance in the 3-1 win at Manchester City though, Conte has had quite the appreciation for Fabregas’ skill. His breathtaking assist for Costa has seemingly changed everything.
Therefore, when the Spaniard received the nod for Chelsea’s home tie with Stoke City there were few supporters surprised. There were even fewer shocked when Fabregas then proceeded to notch up two assists, also.
PREMIER LEAGUE RECORD
Those two assists in question, despite seeming rather trivial, had rather large permutations however.
As highlighted by the research of Four FourTwo, Fabregas turning provider for Willian’s first goal of the match saw him become the fourth player to reach 100 Premier League assists.
In addition, he became the fastest star to reach the feat.
The 4-2 win over the Potters was Fabregas’ 293rd outing in English football and thus saw him easily better the 367 games it took Ryan Giggs to reach three figures.
The exhaustive list can be seen below:
Fabregas – 293 apps
Giggs – 367 apps
Rooney – 445 apps
Lampard – 559 apps
It’s quite the exclusive club. Only Fabregas, Giggs, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney have instigated so many goals in a league renowned for its high-scoring fixtures.
What is explicitly clear is just how quickly Fabregas made the century. While his form over the past two years has been spotty at best, he can take pride in achieving a record few have managed never mind in just swift fashion.
Mesut Ozil might not be the king of assists after all.