Cesc Fabregas says finishing in the top four and winning the FA Cup would be the ideal way to end the season but the midfielder expects a tough game against Huddersfield, who are not yet safe, in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge tonight.
The Blues play our penultimate Premier League game, and last home match, of the campaign against David Wagner’s side this evening, aiming to secure the victory which would move us level on points with Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s closing-day fixtures.
Antonio Conte’s side have closed the gap significantly on Liverpool and Tottenham in recent weeks having recorded four consecutive victories, and the Spaniard insists all we can do is keep on winning.
‘What has changed is that we’ve won the last four games we played, they’ve been dropping points and it’s got to a point where now we are close to them,’ Fabregas said. ‘The bad thing about all of this is that it’s not up to us. What’s up to us is winning the last two games, putting pressure on Liverpool and Spurs and seeing what happens.
‘We’ll be watching closely to see what they can do and if they drop points that’s fantastic because the target is winning titles, of course, but for clubs like Chelsea it’s also being in the top four and doing well in the Premier League. To always be in the Champions League is very important.
‘Sometimes things don’t go the way you want, sometimes they do. I can talk about so many games this season we should have won but we didn’t, where we created so many chances that we didn’t take. The Spurs game, for example, and West Ham, those are five more points we should have this season but there are so many.
‘There is pressure on all of us. Three teams are under pressure and we need to do well. Liverpool have only one game at home, Spurs have two games, so time will tell but we need to be ready just in case.’
It's not only the Blues with plenty to play for this evening. Huddersfield, who recorded a goalless draw away at Manchester City on Sunday, are still not safe and Fabregas expects the visitors to set up in a similar manner to the way they did at the Etihad.
‘I think they will be happy with the point they got at the weekend, but it’s still not mathematically certain that they will stay in the Premier League, some things can still happen, so we expect them to come here and play the same way as they did against Man City, when they were solid, disciplined and they had chances to score,’ he explained.
‘I watched it, especially the first half, and they played quite well. We know that going to City and giving that type of performance is not easy. They will be full of confidence, full of belief that they want to stay in the Premier League so it will be a tough game.
‘Nowadays in football anyone can compete with you if you are not at the top of your game, especially in the Premier League. They can beat you home or away and there are no favourites anymore. You just have to be ready for every single game, that’s why it’s the most competitive league in the world and the most difficult to win.’
Fabregas scored his 50th Premier League goal, a brilliant left-footed curler, to secure the three points in our recent win at Swansea, an achievement of which he is understandably proud. He spoke about that as well as the fact he is now second-highest assist-maker in Premier League history.
‘I’ve been playing the majority of my career in the Premier League as a deep-lying midfielder or in a double pivot. There were maybe four years at Arsenal when I played as a number 10 and I had the freedom to go forward a lot, but since I joined Chelsea I’ve basically been playing deep.
‘My first four years at Arsenal were playing in a double pivot as well so I’m happy with this mark, but looking back I should probably have scored many more goals because I had many chances but didn’t take them.
‘This is a big achievement for me because it’s my job and also out of 12 seasons I’ve played in the Premier League maybe eight of them have been playing deep, closer to the defence than the strikers, so for me to be the second-highest assist-maker in Premier League history is a fantastic achievement.'
There will be an opportunity for the Spaniard to add to his medal collection when we face Manchester United at Wembley in the FA Cup final a week on Saturday but before that, in the Premier League, there is still a big target to reach.
‘For me, the perfect end to the season will be finishing in the top four and winning the FA Cup,’ said Fabregas. ‘If we win only the FA Cup but don’t finish in the top four, yes, you end up happy but for the future of the club, and for your own future, next season you will not be playing in the Champions League which is what every top professional wants to do and for me that’s the most important thing. If we could do both it would be perfect.’