If you listen to the excellent Arsenal podcast by actor and comedian Alan Davies, you will know that he regularly refers to our captain as Jesus.
And who would argue?
At times our little Spaniard does indeed seem to be the son of God (yes, that’s right – his dad really is Dennis Bergkamp).
And, at the risk of a little mild blasphemy, the similarities between our midfield Jesus and his Biblical predecessor are many.
Jesus fed the 5,000 with nothing more than five loaves and two fishes; Cesc regularly nourishes the 60,000 with nothing more than five half decent colleagues and (at least) two donkeys.
Jesus walked on water; Cesc pissed on Tottenham.
Jesus sits at the right hand of the father (Dennis); Cesc sits in the right of midfield, (with licence to roam forward when we’re in possession).
Jesus was tempted by Satan. Cesc was tempted by those satanic twunts at the Camp Nou.
But now, just like the Biblical Jesus, Cesc is experiencing a period in the wilderness: his dodgy hamstring won’t clear up; his touch has gone missing; his passing has deteriorated to its worst level since he started playing for Arsenal; his goals have dried up.
Quite frankly, right now we are a better team WITHOUT Cesc Fabregas.
I know this sounds like heresy. It even crossed my mind to attribute the opinion to someone else, then it would just sound like hearsay.
But I have to hold up my hands and admit it’s all my own.
The game at Villa Park showed how we can function perfectly well without our captain. Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin and Wilshere are all gifted footballers with creativity to spare and they combined well on Saturday.
There was a balance to the team and, crucially, there was not a misfiring piston at the heart of our machine.
When you think about it, our squad is probably better equipped than any in the EPL to cope without its leading creative playmaker.
I don’t believe Cesc’s form has been poor because his head (or heart) is in Barcelona. It’s just that, having played all the way to the World Cup Final and missed pre-season, he has never fully found his stride.
Added to that, his niggly hamstring problem has got into his head (is that a medical first?) to the extent that he is playing in the constant expectation of pulling it again.
At times he has been excellent (Man City away) at others woeful (at home against Newcastle he misplaced 27% of his passes).
You might say that, in that case, we should keep playing him because some of his performances may turn out to be good. But then you run up against the Thierry Henry problem (mentioned by Peaches yesterday): in his later period with us TH14 was so much the superstar of the team that the other players always tried to pass to him, even when there were better options on. This was fine when he was in world-beating form, but as his powers waned it meant we became less effective.
You can see it with the current team: when Cesc is playing he is so much our talisman that they automatically try to give him the ball in the expectation that he is the one who will make something happen.
So when he’s off his game, as he has been lately, most of our play is being channelled through a lame duck.
What some of these other players need is a run of winning games without Cesc, where they learn that they can do it on their own; that Arsenal Football Club would not collapse if he left; and that we (and they) are bigger than any single player. Maybe it was no coincidence that Arshavin had his best game of the season at Villa.
At the moment Cesc is being kept out because of his hamstring, even though the club has acknowledged that the injury is something of a mystery.
Personally, I think the hamstring gave Wenger the excuse he needed to drop his captain.
I hope he keeps Cesc out of the front line for several weeks, to the point where his physical and psychological issues have been well and truly ironed out. About a month would probably allow Cesc to recover fully, so that’s he’s raring to get back in the action.
If he can come back at anything like his best, we will reap the benefits for the second half of the season and, of course, a fit and firing Cesc Fabregas is one of the very best players in all the football world.
A month on the sidelines would bring him back at Christmas. I can’t think of a better time for the second coming of the Messiah.