Cesc Fabregas, who it is clear enjoys a great understanding with Diego Costa on the pitch, places much importance on adapting to the contrasting playing styles of team-mates.
In Cesc Fabregas – Pass Master, an exclusive show on Chelsea TV, the Spaniard talks about his ability to open up opponents with defence-splitting balls, as well as how his role can change depending on the type of striker he is playing with.
Fabregas has played with some of the very best forwards throughout his career and there are few better right now than Diego Costa.
The two players, who both moved to Stamford Bridge from Spain at around the same time, have enjoyed a good relationship since joining the club. It was a goal against Arsenal, this weekend’s opponents, in October 2014 which highlighted their impressive link-up play as Diego Costa raced on to a wonderful flighted Fabregas pass to score [pictured below].
‘Obviously you know Diego has been a very important player for Chelsea and for Atletico Madrid in the last five, six years and he’s been one of the top strikers in the world,' Fabregas tells Chelsea TV.
‘I have a fantastic connection with him, not just only on the pitch but also off the pitch. I consider him my friend, he’s a great guy. Also, on the pitch I like to play with winners and he’s definitely one of them. Of course, if he is a guy that you understand so well that when you pass him the ball he scores a high percentage of your passes, then fantastic.
‘We played against each other in Spain but we didn’t really know each other and I remember on our debuts actually we had our first connection and we scored a goal.’
Any fixture against Arsenal, who Chelsea play this weekend, will always be special for Fabregas after he spent eight years at the club before moving to Barcelona.
In the show, he reflects on the different qualities of some of the strikers he played with prior to joining Chelsea, including a few in north London.
‘You have to adapt your game depending on the striker you play with because some of them are quicker, some of them like you to play the ball more to their feet, some of them like short runs when you are in the final third.
‘Someone like Diego Costa likes long runs and we can see in the last two-and-a-half seasons that sometimes they are balls from around my own half, you know a very long ball and he’s really quick and sharp and strong, so you have to really adapt.
‘It’s not the same thing to play with a striker like let’s say Diego Costa or Thierry Henry than David Villa, or Eduardo when I was at Arsenal, they are a bit sharper on the short move, on the shorter run and maybe you have to play closer to them.
‘With Diego, maybe even with Van Persie, Adebayor and Thierry, it was that you could have more distance but you know the feeling that we had set it up.’