By Adam Clark
It's been three years since Roman Abramovich first began to plough his roubles into the rebuilding of Chelsea Football Club.
In that time nearly every position in the Stamford Bridge squad has been graced by a new multi-million pound talent. Along with England captain John Terry, midfielder Frank Lampard is one of two obvious exceptions.
Originally part of the West Ham United youth system that produced England stars Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Jermaine Defoe, Lampard made the switch across London in the summer of 2001. Five years on his importance to the back-to-back champions is unquestionable.
Meanwhile, Arsène Wenger is in the process of grooming his side into one which will challenge Chelsea's recent monopoly of the English game. This season Cesc Fabregas has proved himself to be an integral part of that building process with a succession of instrumental performances at the heart of the Frenchman's midfield.
It is unlikely that Sunday's game will be won or lost on the performances of just two men but the battle between Lampard and Fabregas promises to be one of the most intriguing. We take a look at this season's statistics to see which one is most likely to deliver.
In terms of distribution they have been equally efficient. So far this term Fabregas has found his intended target with 55 per cent of his passes. In comparison, Lampard has made 20 passes fewer but has found a team-mate 56 per cent of the time.
When it comes to providing the final pass they have enjoyed similar success although the six assists managed by Cesc puts him one ahead of the Chelsea man.
The 19-year-old Spaniard has also profited from wider positions and having turned in 23 crosses, he has seen his team-mates capitalise on five occasions. Interestingly, Lampard has also seen five of his efforts bear fruit despite making nine fewer attempts.
Dribbling is another area in which Fabregas has performed marginally better but his record of 11 successful runs is only an improvement of three on Lampard's.
In fairness, the Chelsea man is more renowned for his potency in front of goal and this has again been one of his strengths this season. So far the England international has managed 61 shots and found the target 29 times. This tendency to shoot has also seen Lampard's name on the Chelsea scoresheet three times in the Premiership.
Despite his role as a playmaker Cesc has managed 35 efforts on goal, and although he is yet to beat a Premiership goalkeeper, he did net twice in the Champions League qualifier against Dinamo Zagreb.
Finally, both managers will be pleased with the defensive endeavours of their two stalwarts. Messrs Mourinho and Wenger have seen Lampard and Fabregas contribute 22 and 20 successful challenges respectively and will no doubt be hoping for more of the same on all fronts come Sunday.
View Cesc Fabregas player profile
Head to Head Statistics Cesc Fabregas Frank Lampard Premiership Appearances 15 15 Minutes on pitch 1304 1350 Attacking Goals 0 3 Shots on target 15 29 Shots off target 12 24 Shots blocked 7 7 Offside 0 2 Supporting Assists 6 5 Passes made 177 157 Passes complete 98 88 Passes incomplete 79 69 Crosses successful 5 5 Crosses unsuccessful 23 14 Total dribbles 17 14 Dribbles successful 11 8 Dribbles unsuccessful 6 6 Defending Tackles made 29 36 Tackles won 20 22 Tackles lost 9 14 Interceptions 5 5 Blocked Shots 1 0 Clearances 12 24 Penalties Conceded 0 0 Own Goals 0 0 Discipline Fouls 19 8 Yellow Cards 4 1
Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 8 Dec 2006