Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas believes Chelsea are an average team without Didier Drogba – who he describes as the best striker in the world.
Drogba netted a brace during the Blues’ recent 3-0 victory over Arsene Wengert’s side as the Gunners’ title aspirations suffered a severe blow.
And Fabregas admits the explosive Ivorian was the difference between the two sides on the day.
“Overall, I saw a Chelsea team that was normal but a team that has probably the best striker in the world,” he said in The Guardian.
“An average team that has the best striker in the world can always do something and Didier Drogba makes all the difference.
“We dominated for the first 40 minutes without creating too much. Maybe we didn’t have someone whose game is to go beyond defenders, and we were a little small to fight them on crosses.”
Victory at the Emirates Stadium extended Chelsea’s lead at the top of the league to five points, but defeat to Manchester City at the weekend has given challengers Manchester United and Arsenal renewed hope.
But the Spaniard conceded Carlo Ancelotti’s men are still the front-runners in the race for the Premier League crown and admitted Arsenal cannot lose any more ground on their London rivals.
“We accept Chelsea are currently the strongest side. They are showing more consistency than us. What is for sure, though, is that we cannot afford any more slip-ups,” he said.
Arsenal followed up their home defeat to Chelsea by slumping to a similar scoreline in the League Cup at big-spending City.
The Gunners have struggled for goals since Robin van Persie was sidelined with ankle ligament damage that could keep the Dutch forward out for up to five months.
Van Persie had been in scintillating form for Wenger’s side and Fabregas admits they have lacked that cutting edge in the final third without their leading scorer.
“Throughout the game [against Manchester City] we had a lot of possession but didn’t really have anyone to go in behind the defenders, apart from Carlos Vela,” he added.
“We had a lot of similar players who like the ball into their feet. Sometimes it’s true that you need a different kind of option.”