CESC FABREGAS has completed only one match out of Chelsea’s last four.
They won three and drew one of those — but take a closer look and a surprise pattern emerges.
On November 5, Fabregas went off in the 79th minute… 22 minutes after Chelsea’s winner against Manchester United.
A fortnight later he was subbed on 67 minutes, five minutes after Eden Hazard wrapped up a 4-0 thrashing of West Brom.
Last Wednesday, Fabregas played 90 minutes and team-mate Willian scored the last of another four-goal win on 85.
On Saturday, Fabregas came on with 16 minutes to go with his team 1-0 down — 11 minutes later came Willian’s equaliser.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte rotates his squad to protect players’ energy levels. But there is one player who is still going strong at 30 and seems to be in or around the action when the goals go in.
It is no coincidence — but also slightly worrying for Conte that he needs a player in his fourth decade as the attacking thrust of his team.
Fabregas came on for Danny Drinkwater.
Conte will not find a goal maker in Drinkwater but in his first league start since a £35million move from Leicester there are signs he is settling in.
Two nice first-half combinations with Hazard suggest Drinkwater is slowly adjust- ing to life at Chelsea and putting a frustrating calf injury behind him.