Nottingham Forest were defeated 2-0 by Chelsea yesterday as they departed the FA Cup at the first hurdle, a year after knocking out Arsenal.
The Reds defeat came courtesy of two goals from Alvaro Morata; with the result now allowing full focus on the Championship.
With 85 minutes on the clock at Stamford Bridge, Cesc Fabregas departed English football for the last time.
The Spaniard is leaving the Blues to join Monaco, according to The Sun, and leaves the Premier League after making over 500 appearances.
The 31-year-old was part of everything good about Chelsea’s performance; proving a handful for the Forest midfield to contend with.
The ultimate midfield model
Fabregas’ midfield masterclass offered Forest a glimpse of exactly what is required among the elite.
The Reds are quite clearly not going to boast a player with as much quality as the former Barcelona man.
Aitor Karanka could really do with one of his current midfielders showcasing similar midfield qualities, however.
Every time Fabregas received the ball yesterday he elegantly kept things moving; side-to-side, forwards, occasionly backward but more often than not to a man wearing blue.
On occasions, this season Forest’s midfield has been wasteful in possession and a leaf could definitely be taken out of the Fabregas’ book.
Who steps up?
Jack Colback’s game is not really similar to that of Fabregas with more emphasis on him breaking up play from a deeper, more containing role.
Adlene Guedioura, who played alongside Colback in West London, is probably the most suitable Forest midfielder capable of replicating the Chelsea man’s style of play.
The Algerian can pick a pass out, although all too often of late, he has chosen the wrong option or lost out on possession completely; leading to some fans questioning his inclusion in the side.
Bad players aren’t made overnight, however, and Forest’s very own midfield maestro needs to get back to basics.
If Guedioura is serious about keeping his place in Karanka’s side he needs to rediscover his early season form quickly.
He would be extremely astute to learn from his counterpart on Saturday.