Chelsea

Forget Hazard: This £31.5m-rated midfielder will be the key for Chelsea against West Brom

The Chelsea fans in the Transfer Tavern are concerned that if their side fail to win against West Brom tonight, it could mean the end for Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are, of course, on a poor run of form, and Roman Abramovich has often been quick to move managers on as soon as they struggle to impress. 

The significance of this evening’s game, then, couldn’t be bigger. Chelsea’s biggest stars need to perform like their manager’s job is riding on it – which it absolutely is.

Many will point towards Eden Hazard as the real game changer in the Chelsea squad, and they wouldn’t be wrong. He’s a top player, and he has been the one shining light in the team over the last few weeks. However, his form has not been enough to stop Chelsea’s rut over the last month or two, and so the real responsibility could lie with Cesc Fabregas.

Rated at £31.5 million by Transfer Markt, there is no doubting that Fabregas is one of Europe’s best. A creative midfielder, nobody can spot a pass quite like the talented Spaniard. That’s going to be key for the Blues this evening, especially. Eden Hazard has found himself limited in recent months, particularly against defensive sides, with the Belgian unable to utilise his pace against a deep-lying defence. Sure, he’s bagged a few goals, but he hasn’t been able to dominate games like he so often has in the past. This is where Fabregas will come in tonight, though. If he is able to pass – as only he can – and break through the defence, at that point Eden Hazard can be unleashed. Again, Hazard is likely to get the plaudits, but Fabregas will hold the key to the lock.

Fabregas hasn’t played 90 minutes since Chelsea drew with Arsenal back in early January, and it’s no real surprise that their poor form has coincided with his departure from the team. Chelsea don’t have any genuine creativity without him, and the Blues have struggled as a result.

The arrival of Olivier Giroud will also make Fabregas more important. A dominant aerial force, he’ll look to make the most of Fabregas’ excellent passing – giving Chelsea an entirely new option going forward.

Fabregas isn’t the perfect player, of course, but Chelsea – simply put – need his passing. Hazard will be significant tonight, of course, and even Giroud could be important, but if Fabregas struggles – Chelsea are likely to be poor aswell.

Chelsea fans – thoughts?

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