Cesc Fabregas hopes that his match-winning performance in the EFL cup at Leicester on Tuesday will persuade Antonio Conte to award him a starting spot against his former club.
With Chelsea travelling to Arsenal on Saturday, Fabregas has been reminiscing about his 8 years at the Gunners, and how he still holds them in the highest regard.
Fabregas said to The Times: “It’s a special fixture because I’ve lived moments there that I’ve never lived in my career. It’s a very special place for me and that’s it. No matter what I hear or what they say to me, Arsenal will always be a fantastic, special club in my heart.”
With his special connection to the North London club, having made his debut as a teenager, captained the side, and featured for them in a Champions League final, the Spaniard will be looking to his current manager Conte in expectation after an extra-time brace at the King Power Stadium.
He has been somewhat out of favour this season under the Italian, who seems to prefer Nemanja Matic, Oscar, and new signing N’Golo Kante as his three central midfielders. Fabregas is yet to start a Premier League match this season – his only start coming in the EFL Cup 2nd round against Bristol Rovers at the end of last month.
Perhaps it would be fitting for his first start of the season to beat Arsenal, against whom he would love to establish himself in the Chelsea starting XI. Nevertheless, the Gunners remain a special club for him.
“They gave me absolutely everything and I will repeat it until I die, no matter what, they will always be in my heart.”
One of the major stories at the start of this Premier League season has been Fabregas’s relegation to the bench since Antonio Conte took charge at Chelsea. It looks like he might get his first start in the league this weekend, but his inability to guarantee a place in the starting XI says much about his role at Chelsea.
Quite simply there are more important players – Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante won’t have to sweat over whether they’re on the team sheet. Even John Terry, at the age of 35 and with a £34million like-for-like signing arriving over the summer, can be sure of his place.
In contrast, Fabregas was Arsenal’s talisman, his absence felt terrible. As he looked on from the stands during Arsenal’s humiliating 2-1 defeat to Birmingham in the 2011 League Cup final it was impossible not to think they would have won had he been on the pitch.