Yet another virtuoso performance from Cesc Fabregas guided Chelsea to the 2-0 win at Stoke that ensures they’ll have a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Christmas Day.
The Spanish string-puller assisted John Terry’s opener then scored the points-settling second as the Blues cantered to success in the Potteries.
With Diego Costa looking a shadow of his early-season self, the former Arsenal man’s importance grows by the week and now it would appear that the west Londoners would be worse off if their conjurer-in-chief was sidelined than they would if the same fate befell their £32m line-leader.
Given Chelsea’s title capitulation last season was attributed to their lack of goal-getting acumen (by their manager, at least) Costa’s acquisition, especially in the fledgling stages of the campaign, looked to be the most pivotal of all of their summer transfer dealings.
But Fabregas’ familiarity with the Premier League has enabled him to perform at world-class level consistently, as indicated in his stats.
In just 16 top-tier outings, the £30m recruit from Barcelona has created a staggering 12 goals and, if he continues at this rate, will easily surpass Thierry Henry’s record for a single season of 20.
Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson has laid on eight, which gives him the second highest tally, while Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria comes closest to matching Fabregas’ assisting amongst the Blues’ title rivals; the Argentine, however, has created half the amount with six.
The most set ups any player managed in the top flight last season was 13, Fabregas has almost matched the amount with over half of the fixtures left to fulfil.
No player averages as many key passes per match as his 3.4, while only Yaya Toure’s 89.6 mean passes per match bests the Catalunyan’s 85.8.
Of these, an eye-watering 87.8 per cent hit their mark.
Eden Hazard was Chelsea’s leading assister last term, with just seven, next came Fernando Torres with five and then Nemanja Matic with four.
Fabregas has matched the number managed by their top two from the previous season, which suggests that creating goals was as equally as big an issue as scoring them was for the Blues in 2013/14.
This problem has undeniably been eradicated through Fabregas’ arrival and his continued presence in the side is vital to Jose Mourinho’s men’s hopes of landing the title at 11/25.