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Chelsea New Boys Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa Already Proving Money Well Spent

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2017

TURF MOOR, BURNLEY — Jose Mourinho has spoken plenty about missing pieces over the course of pre-season.

Monday night's 3-1 victory over Burnley would have left him no doubt he has found just what he was looking for.

Making their competitive debuts in Chelsea colours, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa lived up to their billing at Turf Moor, helping Chelsea ease their way to a comfortable victory.

When Scott Arfield scored the game's opener after just 14 minutes, it could have been a different story.

Last season, maybe it would have been.

The Burnley crowd was already feeling more than a touch motivated for their first game back in the Premier League and under the lights of their Turf Moor home, they got just what they wanted with Arfield's well-struck effort.

Jon Super/Associated Press

This is a Chelsea team with a difference this year, though. And with the added bite of Costa in attack, they were level just three minutes later.

Indeed, the Spaniard's equalizer was the typical striker's goal Mourinho had craved last season.

Chelsea lacked a poacher throughout 2013/14—a man to get them out of the odd, sticky situation while also scoring enough goals to deliver silverware.

Lurking in the box, Costa was perfectly positioned to react quickest after Branislav Ivanovic's cross had deflected onto the post, and he made no mistake from close range.

Jon Super/Associated Press

He should have had a penalty soon after when goalkeeper Tom Heaton took him down inside the box after he cut out a back pass.

Costa was booked instead for simulation.

"It was a penalty, but the linesman decided not to give it," Mourinho assessed in the post-match press conference.

"...The kid presented himself here today with a fantastic attitude. A competitive attitude, a fantastic attitude but clean, polite. He has a clear penalty but no penalty and a yellow card.

"The kid was obviously frustrated, so I hope he doesn't get more unfair decisions."

Fortunately for referee Michael Oliver, it was only a small incident in the game thanks to a sublime goal from Andre Schurrle while Ivanovic's effort put Chelsea out of sight.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18:  Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea controls the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on August 18, 2014 in Burnley, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

When Costa had stolen the show early on, it was Fabregas' turn thereafter.

The former Barcelona midfielder's pass to Schurrle was exquisite, reading his run to perfection to land the ball on a sixpence for him to finish.

It was Fabregas' corner Ivanovic converted to make it 3-1, also.

"[After the first goal we] didn't lose our composure. We didn't lose the football idea," Mourinho continued.

"And after that we had an excellent 25 minutes with three goals, especially the second one. ... The control of the possession was always there."

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18:   Referee Michael Oliver speaks to Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on August 18, 2014 in Burnley, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskil
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The reason for that was Fabregas.

In an interview with BT Sport ahead of the new season, Mourinho explained he hadn't brought the Spaniard to replace the departed Frank Lampard.

Mourinho suggested Lampard was irreplaceable—a club legend.

He is all of those things, but Fabregas isn't his replacement simply because Chelsea do not need a player of his ilk anymore.

Times have changed. Rampaging midfielders are out, and possession kings are very much in.

Chelsea require a midfielder who can control games, bring the three attacking midfielders into play effectively and ensure their game ticks over.

Step forward Fabregas.

He has filled that void and did exactly what Mourinho required of him against Burnley.

We can expect him to continue doing it for the remainder of the season.

"You always want to do well....We have a talented young team. So far, so good. I'm enjoying it. I'm very happy," Fabregas said in his post-match interview on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football.

More performances like that and everyone connected with Chelsea will share his happiness.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes

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