I had -- and continue to have, if I'm being honest -- my doubts about where Cesc Fabregas fits into this Chelsea team. He's not a sturdy enough defensive presence to fit into my ideal double pivot, and the further up the pitch he plays the more crowded it gets for playing time. But my opinion matters for absolutely nothing in Chelsea-land, whereas Jose Mourinho's counts for a lot. And in Fabregas, he sees everything:
I always thought Cesc would be a Barcelona player because he is so good and being a Catalan and with the end of Xavi's career coming. When we heard the information he'd decided to come back to London we knew he was the one we wanted.
His football brain is what we need in our team. I see him everywhere. His best quality is the speed of how he analyses the game and executes. It is difficult for him to lose the ball or make the wrong decision.
He can play as a No 10 and score or a No 8 and give most of his game to the team as we have [Nemanja] Matic as anchorman and [John Obi] Mikel. Then we have Oscar and Willian as No 10s. Cesc is both, he is the missing piece of our engine.
If Mourinho sees Fabregas as the single piece Chelsea were missing, then we should probably trust him in that decision. It's obviously true that he'll help in games where we're struggling to break down dogged opposition, and we've seen him linking up well with Diego Costa already. Whether he can control the game against stronger opponents remains to be seen, but it could well be that Mourinho uses him higher up the pitch in more dangerous matches.
"The missing piece of our engine" is strong praise indeed coming from one of the finest managers in football. If he's right, we're in very good shape to contend on all fronts next season. Chelsea have been missing something in central midfield ever since Michael Ballack departed in 2010. Perhaps now the team will have its swagger back.