Since the 4-2 victory against Swansea City in matchday four, Chelsea's record with Cesc Fabregas starting looks like this: played five, won three, drawn two, scored seven, conceded two. While we might have wanted to have drawn a little less often and scored a few more goals, that's a far more balanced-looking line than when we were engaging in shootouts with the Toffees and the Swans, and much of that is down to Fabregas finding it within himself to play with something approaching sensible midfield positioning.
And now he's talking about the change:
I haven’t played [deep in midfield] since my Arsenal years, since 2008/2009, so for me to go back deep and experience again this position [this season], it took me a while. I was always pressing the ball and going forward because this is the Barcelona way and they always want you to press high.
Some times I was leaving many holes behind me but I had to change that. Man City was the first game when I did it a little bit better and the last couple of games I am getting used to it and feeling more comfortable. Matic is a really great football player, defensively with the ball I am very impressed by him and hopefully we will grow up together more and more.
We pointed out after the Swansea game that Fabregas' press was far too aggressive, which opened up big holes for the visitors to exploit once they'd worked the ball around him, and it seems that the coaching staff was pointing that issue out to the midfielder as well. Whatever they've said, it's worked -- he's been excellent out of possession since that match, and his displays against Arsenal and Manchester City much improved. Which was good timing, considering what those teams would have done to us if we'd played like we did at Goodison Park.
With Chelsea's midfield stabilised, the defence has looked far better, too, and where we were once wondering what was happening to the Gary Cahill-John Terry partnership we're now laughing at Danny Welbeck's inept attempts to break the great Blue wall of our back four. Chelsea life's pretty good right now, and this change is a massive reason why the season looks so promising.