Cesc Fabregas is a doubt for Chelsea’s game against Aston Villa at the Villa Park due to a hamstring problem. Diego Costa’s three match ban means Jose Mourinho’s side now has to play without the deadly duo at the venue where they lost 1-0 last season to a Fabian Delph goal. While many Chelsea supporters are expecting a tough time for Chelsea without Fabregas and Costa, I am simply putting aside all the worries because I think this is a blessing in disguise for Chelsea.
The last three matches have had a weakening effect on Chelsea – the FA Cup loss at home to Bradford, League Cup semi-finals against Liverpool which got stretched into the extra-time, and a tiring match against defending champions Manchester City. While the loss to the League 1 side has affected the morale of the players, the other two matches have completely drained their energy.
Fabregas has been the key to Chelsea’s success this season, controlling the tempo of the game with his well-timed passes and dictating the play from the center of the park. He leads the Premier League assists chart with 15 assists. The ex-Barcelona player has so far played 1851 minutes in the Premier League. At Barcelona last season, he managed only 2488 minutes.
Costa played around 3000 minutes for Atletico Madrid last season. With 1603 minutes of first team football in the league for Chelsea, he might not have played as much as he had played last season, but he has surely experienced ups and downs in adjusting to the English style of play.
With the great expectations from fans and media, Mourinho has not been able to rotate his squad as much as he would have liked to. Both John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic (2070) have played all the league matches right from the kick-offs to the final whistles. Eden Hazard (2031) has also featured in all the league games while Jon Obi Mikel (465), Ramires(457), Felipe Luis(582), have not been given the chance to play more often in the league fixtures.
Mourinho’s players now need to be rested. But all of them cannot be granted leaves. Under these circumstances, when one or two players miss out due to suspensions and injuries, it can really be a good thing for the squad. Less featured players get a chance to prove themselves while the tired ones can have a week or two off and get back to shape. The signing of Juan Cuadrado now frees Willian from heavy-duty. The Columbian is accustomed to playing on the right-wing both as a winger and a wingback.
Chelsea has a game against Everton at Stamford Bridge after the match against Aston Villa, which is followed by the Champions League match in Paris. Both Fabregas and Costa will be fit and available for the game against PSG – which will boost Chelsea chances of qualifying for the next round.
Stats Source: Whoscored.com