Cesc Fabregas’ move to Barcelona has had a significant effect on the Premier League title betting market, with odds on his former club Arsenal to finish first lengthening to 10/1 from 9/1 before the deal was finalised.
However, the potential impact of the Catalan’s return to his home-town club on Barcelona’s season is harder to judge, not least because it is unclear how the 24-year-old will fit into the Spanish giants’ first team – if, indeed, he will at all.
Up until now, Barca coach Pep Guardiola has been an advocate of the 4-3-3 system, with central midfield generally comprising two playmakers in Xavi and Andres Iniesta and a more defensively-minded foil in Sergio Busquets.
This leaves little room for Fabregas who, for all his talents, is unlikely to displace Iniesta and Xavi in the starting XI and is too attack-minded to get past Busquets.
Alternatives include moving Iniesta further up the pitch at the expense of David Villa or Pedro, while a more radical move would be to change to a diamond formation with Fabregas playing just behind Villa and Messi and in front of a midfield three of Iniesta, Busquets and Xavi.
With Guardiola also needing to find a role for Alexis Sanchez, Barca’s other major summer signing, the extent of his selection headache becomes clear.
With all this in mind, bwin is taking bets on just how many games Cesc Fabregas will start for Barcelona in La Liga this year, with odds of 11/10 on him making more than 23.5 starts and 67/100 on him to make fewer than 23.5.
This means that a successful £25 free bet on Fabregas to make at least 24 league starts for Barca this season would return £52.50.
The free bet is available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
A market has also been opened on how many times the former Arsenal skipper will find the back of the net in the 2011-12 Primera Liga season, with more than 6.5 goals priced at 9/10 and under 6.5 at 17/20.
Then there is the wider question of whether or not the additions of Fabregas and Sanchez will upset Barcelona’s rhythm and, for all their undoubted talents, actually weaken the team.
But with Barcelona favourites to win the Champions League at 37/20 and odds-on to win La Liga at 13/20, another year of success beckons.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our La Liga odds.
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