9. Cesc Fabregas:
The Spanish midfielder turned 30 on Thursday, exactly one month after welcoming his first son (Leandro Fabregas) into the world. Things have also been going well for him on the field of play; he got two assists in his last two games to pull clear of Frank Lampard and become the sole occupant of the second spot on the EPL’s list of all-time assist providers.
Even though he’s been used more often as a substitute, the Spanish magician is still an important member of Antonio Conte’s current squad and one of the very best playmakers on the planet. Monday’s game against Middlesbrough will be Chelsea’s first since Fabregas hit the big “Three-O” and it’s extremely likely that he’s going to play some part in it. His last assist came halfway through just 8 minutes of game time and he’s already one of the best at making big contributions in small timeframes, but fitness concerns in the squad should increase his chances of starting on Monday. We hope that he starts and also gets the chance to celebrate turning thirty in style.
8. Wayne Rooney:
In the last week of February, 2016, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford announced himself to the world by scoring a brace against FC Midtylland in the UEFA Europa League and followed it up with another brace, three days later, in his first English Premier League start, against Arsenal. Rashford is fresh off scoring in yet another Europa League game and a game against Arsenal (three days after) is once again on the cards, but an injury picked up in the aforementioned game has made it very unlikely for him to feature in this one. So, instead of looking to the youngster, we’ll be picking a much older hand for this week’s round of fixtures.
Wayne Rooney’s history against Arsenal is well known by now; with his first and hundredth career EPL goals also coming against The Gunners. He now has 197 in the League and is its second highest goal scorer, even though he isn’t that much of a starter, these days. He started and scored in United’s last game against Swansea, however, and would be expected to keep his place for Sunday’s clash. If he does score a hat-trick against his familiar foes (as laughably unlikely as that is), it would make him only the second man to reach the 200 goal mark in the history of the EPL and it would also mean that the majority of his significant goals (1, 100 and 200) would’ve been scored against Arsenal.