The Blues midfielder will be forever grateful to the Gunners for all that they have done for him, but is determined to beat them in the FA Cup final
Cesc Fabregas admits the FA Cup final is “not an ordinary game” for him, but he is putting his Arsenal ties to one side as he chases double glory with Chelsea.
The World Cup winner was offered his big break by the Gunners, having joined their academy system from Barcelona as a youngster.
Eight years as a senior star in north London delivered more than 300 appearances, but the 30-year-old has been back in England with Chelsea since 2014 and has helped them to two Premier League titles.
He now has his sights set on a league and cup double in 2016-17, with his former club all that stands between him another winners’ medal at Wembley Stadium.
Fabregas told reporters on another reunion with familiar faces on May 27: “It will be emotional. It’s not as if I like to play against Arsenal because they are a club which is in my heart and they always will be.
“I have to put those feelings aside. You have to be professional. Of course, it means a lot to me, it’s not an ordinary game for me.
“But this is football and this is what we have to do, it can happen and hopefully we can win the Double. That would be a fantastic season for Chelsea and for us.
“It would be fantastic for the players, for the manager [Antonio Conte], to do it in the first season after the problems we faced.
“We started with a system, then we changed, it started well, then it didn’t go well. Then we had to adapt to another kind of system with 5-4-1, 3-4-3, it depends on the time of the game.
“We have worked hard, we’ve worked hard to improve, but I still think we can do better and so hopefully by the end of the season we will prepare well for the FA Cup final and rest well for next season.”
Fabregas found the target in his last meeting with Arsenal, as Chelsea claimed a comfortable 3-1 victory over the Gunners at Stamford Bridge in February.