By Julian Guyer ,AFP
LONDON — Cesc Fabregas will look to make Arsenal pay for their failure to re-sign him when he faces his old club in their match against Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Once the jewel in the crown of Arsene Wenger’s squad, Spain midfielder Fabregas left the north London side to join boyhood club Barcelona in 2011. But he was never quite so central a figure with the star-studded Catalan giants and Arsenal had the option to buy back their former captain in pre-season.
However, with Arsenal’s squad now featuring a clutch of midfield playmakers in Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, to name but three, veteran French boss Wenger — who this week celebrated his 18th anniversary in charge of the Gunners — felt he could do without his one-time talisman. Chelsea, by contrast, were happy to spend 27 million pounds (US$46 million) to bring Fabregas back to London, with Blues manager Jose Mourinho boasting it took him just 20 minutes to seal the deal. So far Chelsea’s investment has been rewarded with seven Fabergas ‘assists’, the latest in this week’s 1-0 Champions League win at Sporting Lisbon, while Mourinho’s men have won five and drawn one of their six Premier League matches to open up a six-point lead on the Gunners heading into this weekend’s matches. “Fabregas has made a huge impact. I know you kind of expect that from him but most of our chances come from him opening up defenses,” Chelsea captain John Terry told the London Evening Standard. “Not a lot of people can see the passes he does let alone make it.”