FA Cup:Fabregas loses penalty as Chelsea beat Nottingham Forest 2-0

Cesc Fabregas takes a penalty for Chelsea
Cesc Fabregas takes a penalty for Chelsea

Cesc Fabregas missed a penalty in potentially his last game in English football as Chelsea beat Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round.

Fabregas, who is expected to join Thierry Henry’s Monaco, had his spot-kick saved by Luke Steele after Danny Fox fouled Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

But Alvaro Morata scored from close range in the second half from Callum Hudson-Odoi’s low right-wing cross.

The pair later combined again as Morata headed a second at Stamford Bridge.

It was a deserved win for the FA Cup holders, who dominated against a Forest side who are seventh in the Championship.

The end for Fabregas in England?

A tearful Fabregas, Chelsea’s captain for the day, received a standing ovation when he was replaced in the 85th minute, before embracing team-mate Eden Hazard then manager Maurizio Sarri.

He was the last man to leave the pitch after the match, his 501st in English football.

Fabregas, 31, is expected to join up with former Arsenal team-mate Thierry Henry, who took over at French Ligue 1 side Monaco in October.

Fabregas, who won the World Cup and two European Championships with Spain, told BBC Sport: “It feels like it was last week that I started playing professionally – and now it’s over 15 years.

“It is a long time and for the young players that start playing, just a little advice: to enjoy it, every single second, because time flies – it goes so fast.

“The occasion got the better of me. I didn’t expect all of this to happen today. And that’s it.”

Asked if the 31-year-old had made his last Chelsea appearance, Carlo Cudicini, assistant to head coach Maurizio Sarri, said: “We don’t know. If it was his last game I think it was very good he played in front of his fans and he was able to get a nice reception.

‘What can I say about Cesc? He is a top player, a player who is unique in his position. He has unbelievable vision and awareness of where his team-mates are on the pitch.

“He’s been fantastic for teams before us and the contribution he’s given to this club and this team has been amazing. He’s one of a kind.”

Fabregas joined Arsenal’s academy from Barcelona and was 16 years 177 days old when he made his Gunners debut in 2003, in a League Cup win over Rotherham.

In an eight-year spell with Arsenal he played 303 games, scored 57 goals, won the 2005 FA Cup and played in the 2006 Champions League final defeat by Barcelona, whom he joined in 2011.

After three years in Spain, he returned to England and helped Chelsea win the Premier League twice, the League Cup and last season’s FA Cup.

Against Forest, he scuffed an early shot and played a fine through ball for Morata, who was not awarded a free-kick despite appearing to be brought down by Claudio Yacob.

But Fabregas wasted his chance to score from the penalty spot when, after a stuttering run-up, he saw Steele dive low to his right to push the effort wide.

Bayern target Hudson-Odoi impresses

Hudson-Odoi’s future at Chelsea is also in doubt, with assistant manager Gianfranco Zola saying Bayern Munich are “very interested” in the 18-year-old forward, who won the Under-17 World Cup with England in 2017.

This was only his seventh appearance of the season, and he has yet to start a Premier League game in 2018-19.

With Olivier Giroud, Pedro and Willian missing through injury and Hazard starting on the bench, Hudson-Odoi got another chance to impress – and he took it.

Playing on the right wing, his excellent deliveries made both goals for Morata, who scored his first goals in six matches.

Chelsea have reportedly rejected a £20m offer from Bayern for Hudson-Odoi.

Team-mate Ross Barkley said: “I hope he stays at the club and you can see how much talent he has got. He is a magical player and will only continue to improve.”

Chelsea took 49 minutes to break Forest down, but the visitors offered little going forward apart from a 30-yard strike from Adlene Guedioura which was easily saved by Willy Caballero.

Forest’s Daryl Murphy should have done better when he headed wide from a corner.


Kevin Kilbane, former Republic of Ireland winger, on Final Score

Why wouldn’t Callum Hudson-Odoi leave Chelsea? They’ve just signed Christian Pulisic for over £60m.

Hudson-Odoi is one of the best young players in world football at the moment and he’s not been getting any game time, so why wouldn’t he think about moving somewhere else, if a club like Bayern Munich are in for him?

Another FA Cup third-round win for Chelsea – the stats

  • Chelsea have progressed from the FA Cup third round in each of the last 21 seasons since losing to Manchester United in 1997-98.
  • Callum Hudson-Odoi became the first teenager to provide two assists for goals in a match for Chelsea since Scott Sinclair in October 2007 against Leicester City in the League Cup.

‘He’s a great striker’ – what they said

Carlo Cudicini, assistant to Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri, on Alvaro Morata: “It was very important for him to score two goals, which can only be good for his confidence.

“We are all pleased with his performance, but we were even when he didn’t score in previous games.

“Hopefully it will be good for his morale and hopefully he will be more free in his mind.”

Cudicini on Hudson-Odoi: “He did very well; it was a very good performance – two assists and he worked very hard defensively.

“His commitment was great and you want him to have performances like that so he can put some doubts in Maurizio’s mind and be in contention for a place.”

Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on Cesc Fabregas: “As a young lad, seeing Cesc play for Arsenal and then for Barcelona and Chelsea, you can see how intelligent he is. Playing with him has been a pleasure.

“He has played for Spain at a time when they were winning everything and he is going to go down as one of the best midfielders ever.”

Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka: “They were too good but the main thing for me was, when we were losing 2-0, we played like we normally would and we tried to press them high.

“It was difficult because it was the fifth game in two weeks and most of the players have played all of those games, so you can imagine how tired they are, and not just physically.

“I tried to change something tactically in the second half and we started to play, but the goal made it even more difficult.

“It is a day to take the good things, to know that we have a committed team on the pitch.”

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