Cesc Fabregas latest: Jose Mourinho expects Chelsea maestro to return against Everton on Wednesday

Spanish midfielder has missed last two games after picking up a hamstring injury against Liverpool

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho expects midfielder Cesc Fabregas to return to the starting XI for the match against Everton on Wednesday.

Fabregas limped off in the Capital One Cup semi-final win against Liverpool on 27 January because of a hamstring problem and has not played since, missing the draw with Manchester City and the win against Aston Villa.

Mourinho had previously stated that the Spaniard would play at Villa Park, causing concern that he had suffered a further setback. But the Chelsea manager insisted it was just a precaution to ensure he would be back to full fitness for match against Everton.

"I think Fabregas plays on Wednesday because against Villa the decision was to protect him," said Mourinho.

"I didn't want to risk two players at the same time because Willian had a minor problem from the previous game and was also risk. So to start two players with a risk was a big gamble. So we gambled with one.

"We didn't miss Cesc against Aston Villa because Ramires is back and the best of Ramires is  back too. He was great against Liverpool, Manchester City and Aston Villa. He has a different profile of play to Cesc, but he gives a lot."

Chelsea are now seven points clear at the top of the Premier League after City slipped up at home to Villa.

But the Blues have clearly missed Fabregas in his absence. The Spanish midfielder leads Europe's top five leagues with assists (15) and, according to statistics website WhoScored.com he averages 3.2 'key passes per game'; in the match against City the whole team managed just three, while against Villa that figure was a slightly more respectable nine.

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