Scouting Report: Cesc Fabregas

The 27-year-old made his first appearance for Chelsea in their 2-1 friendly win over NK Olimpija Ljubljana and looked impressive alongside fellow debutant Diego Costa
By Stephen Darwin and Harry Sherlock

It was the moment that Chelsea fans have been waiting for - Cesc Faregas pulling on the blue shirt for the first time.

The Spain international, a £30 million summer signing from Barcelona, lined up in midfield alongside Nemanja Matic for his debut in Sunday's pre-season friendly meeting with NK Olimpija Ljubljana, giving supporters a taster of what they could expect in the forthcoming campaign.

Goal takes a look at how he got on in Slovenia, as well at what might be in store for the future...


In what could be Jose Mourinho's first-choice central midfield partnership, Fabregas slotted in alongside Matic for his Chelsea debut against Olimpija Ljubljana and looked sharp having returned from a disappointing World Cup with Spain.

The 27-year-old was largely stationed in front of the back four but with more of a license to move forward than Serbian star Matic. It was his range of passing that caught the eye most, however, and he was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch during the first 45 minutes.

Fabregas found Mohamed Salah in particular on at least two occasions with accurate through balls behind the Olimpija defence although the Egyptian failed to create anything meaningful in front of goal as the Blues went in behind at half-time.

And shortly after the interval, Fabregas's creativity finally led to a Chelsea goal. The ex-Arsenal man released fellow debutant Diego Costa with a low pass behind the hosts' back four and his international teammate did the rest, smashing past Aleksander Seliga to make it 1-1.

Fabregas was eventually brought off for Oriol Romeu, another Barcelona academy graduate, but can be delighted with his start to life as a Chelsea player.


Having completed his move to Chelsea, Fabregas will undoubtedly be desperate to force his way straight into Mourinho's starting XI for the 2014-15 campaign.

Flanked by Eden Hazard and Oscar in an attack spearheaded by compatriot Diego Costa, goals could tumble out of Stamford Bridge this season, with the triumvirate behind the prolific Spain striker adept at both creating and scoring.

Mourinho may also slot Fabregas into more of a holding role, as he did on Sunday in the victory over NK Olimpija Ljubljana. Deployed alongside Matic, the former Barcelona midfielder would be given freedom to join in attacks whilst also not completely abandoning his defensive responsibilities.

Should he impress in his new surroundings Fabregas will also hope to be handed a role in a wounded Spain side too. After all the former Barca midfielder is three years younger than Andres Iniesta (30) and Xavi (35) and has always appeared to be the heir to the Roja playmaker throne.

And he could conceivably link up with Manchester United's Ander Herrera as Spain seek to exorcise the ghosts of 2014 by qualifying for Euro 2016 in style.

The Blues' success this season does not rest squarely on Fabregas – the strength in depth at Chelsea is scary – but he will surely have a key role in any success the club have.

A GOOD 2014-15 WOULD BE...

First and foremost, Fabregas will want to ensure he is an almost irreplaceable member of Mourinho's title-chasing side.

With the likes of Matic, John Obi Mikel, Ramires and then more attacking talents such as Andre Schurrle, Oscar, Willian, Eden Hazard and Salah, one thing Mourinho won't be short of is options.

Fabregas's capacity to play in a deeper position in what will likely be a 4-2-3-1 system should see him feature prominently in 2014-15, while, as demonstrated to devastating effect for both Barcelona and Arsenal, he is more than capable of playing the No.10 role further up the field.

The Spaniard has come to west London to win trophies and ensuring Chelsea are there or thereabouts in the race for the Premier League title will likely be priority No.1 for player as well as club, while success in the Champions League and the domestic cup competitions will also be high on the agenda.

After playing less than 45 minutes of Spain's humiliating 2014 World Cup, Fabregas will also want to make more of an impact for his national team in 2014-15 at a time when boss Vicente del Bosque clearly does not see him as a mainstay in his Roja starting XI.