Fabregas “Disliked” By Teammates

This post is based on a conversation between one of the Arsenal Arsenal regular contributors and two individuals loosely connected with our club. It took place before Sunday’s game against Manchester United.

I would not normally pass on unsubstantiated comments, but Carlito11 (the AA regular) is a mature and responsible informant and he believes there is no reason to doubt what he was told.

In Carlito’s own words: I had an interesting meet up pre-match with a couple of youngish foreign lads who were both qualified UEFA coaches and, more interestingly, mates of one of our first teamers. They divulged (but were keen not to be leaking) that our captain is not particularly well liked in the dressing room and is seen as thinking himself better than the others.”

At this point, if you object in principle to the reporting of second hand intelligence, then I understand and I expect you will stop reading.

But what struck me about Carlito’s information was how plausible it felt, for two reasons:

  • Cesc’s demeanour and body language has been quite negative at times this season. He has not looked as if he is enjoying his football. In fact, sometimes he looks like he’s carrying the world on his shoulders. I know this is not scientific, but it’s my gut feeling from having watched him over several years.
  • The much talked-about mental fragility of our team this season seems, to me, to betoken some sort of inner conflict within the squad. If the players were united as one, I believe they would fight harder for each other. I realise I am speculating here, but, again, it’s a gut feeling.

If it’s true that at least some of the players do not like Cesc it’s a pretty sad state of affairs – and maybe gives some extra weight to Arsene Wenger’s comments last week that the captaincy had been a burden on him.

Not that it’s essential to like your captain. I don’t suppose many of the Manchester United players liked Roy Keane when he was captain, but they certainly respected and feared him and would do what he told them.

My worry with Cesc is that his teammates probably don’t fear him either. Presumably they respect him for his footballing abilities (and for being a World Cup winner) but is that enough?

This has been a strange season for our captain, coming after a summer of constant speculation about his desire to move to the Catalonian National Diving Team followed by that WC win.

People have been quick to blame his demeanour on a desire to be elsewhere. I don’t think it’s as simple as that. I believe he is passionate about Arsenal, and even more so about his manager.

But maybe it’s another reason why he has seemed remote to his colleagues. What might seem arrogance to others may just be preoccupation or distraction. I would be surprised if Cesc really feels himself to be better than his teammates – but it’s a problem if that’s how it seems to some of them.

Either way, if this reported issue has any grounding in truth it is incumbent on the manager to deal with it. We thought we had rid ourselves of most of our dressing room squabbles with the departures of Adebarndooor and Wee Willie Gallas.

My solution (it’s easy being an armchair quarterback) would be for Arsene to persuade Cesc to relinquish the armband next season to concentrate on his own game.

I mentioned in comments at the weekend the most famous example of this strategy working: in 1989 Ian Botham gave up the captaincy of the England cricket team after 12 straight Test defeats. His next Test as an ordinary member of the team? Against Australia at Headingley, where he almost single-handedly destroyed the Aussies on the way to recapturing the Ashes for England.

Crucially, Cesc would have to give up the captaincy, not have it taken from him. We want him to be at his best for us and we certainly should not want him to leave. I keep reading comments about how Arsenal should cash in and sell him this summer.

If he really, really wants off, then maybe that’s fair enough. But if we can keep him we should – and here’s why:

Our win rate this season in EPL games in which Cesc started: 62% (with 24% draws and only 14% losses).

Our win rate in games Cesc did not start: 43% (with 36% draws and 21% losses).*

We need Cesc because we are better with him in the team.

But we also need to be united in the dressing room.

Harmony is not just a hairspray. It’s also an important ingredient of most successful teams.

RockyLives (with thanks to Carlito 11)

* I included the game in which Cesc went off injured after 14 minutes in the list of games he did not start.


209 Responses to Fabregas “Disliked” By Teammates

  1. Morning all

    Ooooooh cat and pidgeons spring to mind 😉

    Cesc has been as much of an enigma as Arshavin this season. Obviously not enjoying his football and yet is that because he’s carrying an injury or worried about the next time his hamstring is going to go?

    It wouldn’t really matter if no-one like him if it was because he was a bawler and that got us the results ……….

  2. Gareth P says:

    If cesc feels let down by the quality of some of those around him, I wouldn’t blame him. wenger has let him down by continually trusting sub-standard players. I think he’s stay at arsenal if he had the right team around him but I think he wants out because wenger has had enough chances to move the crap on.

  3. kelsey says:

    I left my feelings abour Cesc earlier this morning, peaches.

  4. Rasp says:


    Controversial post Rocky. I always observe the goal celebrations to assess relationships within the squad. I don’t get the feeling that Cesc is unpopular, but get the distinct impression that Chamakh is a marginal character and will do a ‘Reyes’.

    I agree that if we could relieve Fabregas of the captaincy it would be the best for all concerned but I don’t see how that could happen without sending out the wrong message.

    RvP has the biggest Arsenal heart and I’d be more than happy to see him as captain. He has showed recently that he is not afraid of bollocking his teammates when they let the side down and his goal celebrations show how committed he is. I think TV would be the perfect vice captain who with Robin’s injury history would likely get plenty of opportunity to be captain.

  5. I’ve moved them for you kelsey

    kelsey says:
    May 3, 2011 at 7:10 am (Edit)

    Morning all.

    I kkeep thinking why Cesc didn’t play in what amounted to a crucial game in the season.There are only two possibilities.one that he had a slight knock or Wenger thought that Cesc shouldn’t have come out publically with what he said(regardless if it was true) and he dropped him.

    he has played non stop for nearly two years with the Confederation Cup and then a cameo in the World Cup but at the same time he has had several hamstring problems,but I am in the camp where I believe he was given the armband to pacify him to make him stay for another season.However he hasn’t had a great seaon by his standards yet he is troubled in his head, it’s plain to see.
    He will eventually leave and one can’t base our future on one game with a quartet of Song,Wilshere,Nasri and Ramsey but having read the comments above about his general persona maybe it would be better if he left this season(providing the money is right) than next season.

  6. Justus says:

    Great article. There is no question that Cesc has been a shadow of the great player he was before this season. There were, maybe, three or four games when he did really perform. He has been injured off and on throughout the year and it is possible this has been why he has not performed. He is, however, one of the players who has NOT won us anything and he should perhaps take responsibility for the lack of trophies. He is still young although now with lots of experience. The whole Arsenal system seems to ensure that they pass the ball to him whenever they can, whereas with Jack, Song and Ramsey they work much more as a team. Much as I love Cesc, I believe it is time to cash in and use the cash to buy a star defender and Scott Parker!

  7. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocky, Guys and Gals, 🙂

    Is there no end to your talents Rocky? Now a ‘ghost writer’ for Carlito, whatever next? 🙂

    Interesting piece of gossip, but it adds to my belief that Cesc will go this summer.

  8. Rasp says:

    Morning Justus and welcome,

    I think Cesc has not been fully fit for the best part of two years and that has been reflected in his performances.

    I completely agree with your point of always looking to pass to the ‘star player’ – that syndrome was a big problem with TH in his last season.

    Football is a team sport (TSTFO), and that means that the total should be greater than the sum of the parts. That has not been the case with Arsenal many times this season. The CC final was the perfect example. On the day, Birmingham had the better team despite us having the better players.

  9. Adam says:

    Not really sure what this post is saying. There is gossip and innuendo but it smacks of desperation to me. Reminds me of those press articles which begin “An insider claimed….” I think I will wait and see what happens myself. Putting two and two together often results in five.

  10. Stroller says:

    You can’t help but think that some of Cesc’s recent critical remarks have got up the noses of the other players. While many might think that the criticisms are valid, there is perhaps the implication that they are directed at others and he excludes himself. What is clear is that on the field there has not been the right chemistry and communication between the players until this last Cesc-less weekend game. Co-incidence? Maybe. I hope so.

  11. Gooner in Exile says:

    First off I’ll add a disclaimer:

    If the player in question is not a regular starter (let’s say NikB) his dissatisfaction could cloud his judgement of the situation.

    To assess Cescs performances many factors have to be taken into account, as Peaches says injury can limit workrate…..remembering his public message to Jack about overloading his body at a young age.

    I tend to agree with Rasp that goal celebrations can reveal a great deal about popularity, but when others score do we expect Cesc to join in or regroup and start organising….I’m not saying he does that but when we equalised at Bolton he allowed himself some passionate fist pumping in the goal and then recovered the ball to get started again to chase the winner.

    His twitter comments indicate someone who cares about results and his teammates, he also congratulated Lansbury yesterday.

    But without knowing the source it is hard to put the opinion in perspective.

    PS I do not expect Carlito to give up the source as he is a decent fellow who would keep his word to the two guys he met

  12. JSP says:

    Sell Him!!!

    All this rubbish about wanting to go because he wants to win things, then perhaps if he put more effort in to his game this season we would have had the league sown up already!!

    Let him crawl back to the two team league he so desparately wants to join, he could even go play for Celtic or Rangers if he wants to win something, there’s another two team league for you. Obviously he’s a coward when asked to prove himself in the best league, and most competitive, in the World!

  13. Red Arse says:

    Hi Kelsey,

    I am fascinated by the lives you, Dandan and Raddy have, and are, living! 🙂 Your comments earlier today set me to thinking.

    My only experience of Soho was painfully funny. A strange juxtaposition of words, but here is what happened.

    Many years ago, in my callow youth, I went with a buddy and his girlfriend to a pub in Brewer Street, after a game at Highbury.
    We were wearing our Arsenal scarves, absolutely full of joy after a good win, and we wanted to celebrate with a pint, or two, before going to a restaurant to eat.

    Three guys were playing ‘matchstick’ games at the bar, and bet me £10 I could not work out how to solve a particular puzzle.
    I did the puzzle and won the £10.
    The three guys got angry and one said, rather threateningly, let’s make it ‘double or quits’, so, to keep the peace, I agreed.

    He took a box of matches, placed a matchstick either side of the box and held them with the thumb and finger of his left hand, so that the matchesticks protruded above the matchbox. He then carefully placed a third match across the first two, and when it was balanced, with a swift downward movement of his right index finger, he snapped the match in two.

    When it was my turn, to great laughter from his mates, he helped me place the first two matches on the sides of the matchbox and I then balanced, with some difficulty, the third match myself and hit it with my index finger.

    There was a searing pain in my thumb and finger, and I involuntarily pulled my hand back sharply and the point of my elbow accidently slammed really hard into this guy’s ear, he screamed and recoiled and his head, in turn, hit his mate on the bridge of his nose, they both fell off their stools into the third guy and they all ended up on the floor yelling and cursing.

    The bar man gave me £10 and told me and my friends to ‘leg it’.
    It seemed that these b*stards were notorious for their ‘trick’ which was that they held the non phosphorous end of the matchsticks against the side of the matchbox and when they broke the third match it did not cause a problem.
    But they ‘helpfully’ reversed the matchsticks for the unsuspecting ‘victim’ so he held the phosphorous ends along the striking sides of the box when it was his turn, so that the friction of striking the third match set them alight on the finger and thumb.

    I ended up with burned digits and £20, — they ended up out of pocket and with sore heads.

    It could have been worse, I suppose, if I had stayed?

    I also carried out ‘training’ audits all around the Soho area, including Berwick Street, and loved the experience, despite the overall seedy feel outside some of the places of ill repute. 🙂

  14. Goonermad says:

    I have to say the team this week looked totally united but it also consisted of a team of players who have talent and heart. I believe this is all Cesc wants but as we all know there are too many below par players who have been given the opportunity to prove their worth but who have failed. These guys have been given the slots due to number of games being played in a short time and injuries. So in that respect I understand what Cesc must think and probably a few others in the dressing room. These below par players, and Wenger must know who they are, are the ones that need to be cleared out (and there’s a few of them). We have a good stock of loanees that would fill these roles much better, but also to bring in no more than three more experienced players who are able to take the youngsters to that next level, where we are not too far away from. The mentality is the big thing! I would like us to keep Cesc he is great player with immense experience now (and what is everyone shouting out to wenger; experience). I agree it would be in Cesc’s interest to resign his captaincy and pass the armband to either TV or maybe someone like Scott Parker should he be invited to our glorious club. Sorry RVP i just hate strikers being Captains, the captain should be able to look forward and not have to keep looking back!

  15. Rasp says:

    Hi Goonermad,

    I take your point about looking forward. Ideally the captain would always be a defender or midfielder – never the keeper as he should be shouting at the players anyway!!

    I also think it is good if the captain is physically imposing like Adams and Vieira, but you can only choose from the players availabe and we don’t really have a character like that in the squad.

  16. Carlito11 says:

    Rocky, thanks for the excellent post. I’m afraid I will have to leave you guys to speculate as to the player in question but I am certain the comments were made to friends and not clouded by bitterness. The interesting thing for me, is that the players seem to crave leadership of the traditional sort- a vocal bonding presence in the dressing room who can also tear into people for underperforming.
    The model Wenger would prefer, a reflective, sober, leading by example type of leadership is clearly too mature and lightweight a solution for this young group who do not have endless supplies of self-belief.

  17. Rasp says:

    Hi Carlito,

    For me, the two most disappointing things AW has done are buying Silvestre and making Almunia captain.

    I don’t like the idea of using the captaincy as a way of feeding the ego of ‘star players’ or as a tool to try to build the confidence of suspect players. The captain needs to be respected, strong and inspirational.

  18. I agree with you Rasp about the poor way AW uses the captaincy – the captain should be the leader not the favourite.

  19. Carlito11 says:

    Rasp/ Peaches- the old way of captaincy was to have a voice for the management in the dressing room and a players’ representative to the management. Ever since Big Pat took the captaincy, Wenger has used it instead to placate big stars who were thinking of leaving, giving them a sense of responsibility to stop them causing a scene at the club. This has had a negative influence over time as first PV and then TH left for more ‘glamourous’ teams. And it is likely our current captain will do the same, albeit for slightly different reasons. I hope that next time the armband is given out, it is given to a vocal, aggressive and passionate figure who is a strong communicator. JW springs to mind but a defender would be best…

  20. GILBO says:

    I think because of his break up with his girlfriend there have been domestic problems for Cesc and he is a typical latin lover, I don’t think he was injured on Sunday he was lovelorn and upset about the breakup and couldn’t get his head round to play football.

  21. Andy says:

    I have never agreed with cesc being captain he a fantasic football but no general put it this if I was playing at arsenal hes not the person that would make me tremble if I made a mistake cesc best season was 07/08 because he was allowed to be free and do what he does best now he’s choked by the captaincy and pressure which is damaging his style of play I would like to see a new captain and if cesc leaves then so be it

  22. Evonne says:

    Thank you Rocky for the post; I am dreading the summer days when there is no football and no New Post announcements from Peaches
    Touchy subject, yet you managed to deal with it very diplomatically, congrats!

    Hm………..no, I cannot believe that the team dislikes Cesc. It is possible that some would dislike him, after all there are some 30 men in the full squad, it would be a miracle if all of them liked their skipper. But most of the 1st squad are his mates. I live in North London and there are small restaurants often visited by the Arsenal players and I was told that Cesc is always one of them. So they are not just colleagues at work, but also mates outside

    Also, I strongly dislike calls to ‘sell him, get rid off him’, because he is a great player, he has served us very well for some 7 years, he publically expresses his fondness for the Club and the fans and I think a little bit of respect and gratitude would not go amiss (hope you are reading JSP)

  23. brian says:

    Not too sure how Botham apparently giving up the captaincy in 1989 helped us to win the Ashes in 1981.

  24. chas says:

    I’m not sure if this post should have gone to air as it could indirectly hasten his departure.

    However, having said that if his heart’s not in it and the team is more ‘together’ without him, then so be it.

    Victoria Concordia Crescit.

  25. SharkeySure says:

    Quick mention for DanDans wifes new hat. Brilliant

  26. dandan says:

    Rocky interesting little post, well done.
    AS far as I am concerned it is of no matter whether the captain is popular or not, think Roy Kean. His job off the pitch is to be a bridge between the squad and the management and therefore has to be trusted by players and manager alike, trust and like are not at all the same thing. Like has social, not work connotations. That is of more importance than his work on the field. Leaders lead, regardless of who is captain and teams ideally contain a number of leaders who share the load.
    As for Scott Parker I fail to see what he brings to the party besides some experience, remember he was not good enough to get in the Chelsea side and we have LJ, Ramsey, song, and others queuing up in those positions.
    A striker with experience would be nice, although we would be crowing if we had Hernandez and he was banging them in for us young as he is,
    TV will be back and another commanding CB and experienced fullback would be my ideal choice for next year.

  27. London says:

    Well, I say it was yet another clever idea for a post.

    I’m so pro Fabregas it takes the word bias to a whole new level.

    The only silver lining from him playing crap against Barça at the Camp Nou is that they are now unlikely to want to buy him, I’m sure this does not come as a revelation to most.

    Fabregas has been surounded by an awful lot of disappointment this season: Rosicky, Denilson, Diaby, Bendtner, Arshavin, then Chamakh and Nasri went off the boil and so Cesc has had to work the attacks with Song because Wilshere doesn’t offer any goal threat at all.

    Sunday was good but it would have been better with Song (staying back) Ramsey and Fabregas.

    And that would be my midfield for ninety five per cent of next season.

    Visca Cesc, Visca Arsenal.

  28. London says:

    Didn’t someone write a clever post suggesting that Cesc would be happier with a fellow countryman in the team? I seem to remember it got shot down in flames.

  29. Alan says:

    It’s irrelevant. Roy Keane was not hugely popular in the united dressing room. He got on with Scholes and Butt and that was about it. He had no time for sheringham, he thought he was a tosser and the feeling was mutual I believe. He was tolerated by the rest of the united squad because he did the business on the pitch.

  30. London says:

    Sell Fabregas and buy Parker, I know the comment was written in earnest but please.

  31. ………. so Cesc has had to work the attacks with Song because Wilshere doesn’t offer any goal threat at all ………..

    London – you really need to write a post about this to get your point across 😉 🙂 😀 😛 😆

  32. Verity says:

    Reading some of the comments here, I feel like the lack of trophies is not just down to wenger’s reluctance to strengthen the team. I feel that a great deal of the arsenal fanbase is blind to Fabregas’ lazy play as a midfield player. We keep blaming the other players for being sub-standard while they work much harder than their captain. Fabregas does not work hard defensively, unlike other great players (Messi, Iniesta, Xabi, Rooney…). He is not strong under physical pressure like Nasri or Wilshere; he goes into hiding when the opposition closes the ball high up the pitch. So please, spare us with blaming all other players except Fabregas. He is a captain who wants to leave to get other top players to win him trophies, instead of saying, ‘i’m not leaving until I win something for arsenal’. A captain can also talk seriously to the manager about formation and players who could improve the team. I am sure if Fabregas feels like some of his team mates are not good enough, why doesn’t he suggest names to Wenger, who would most like listen given his blinding desire to keep the player. Previous arsenal captains have won us trophies and Fabregas has not, and for me that says it all.

  33. London – what was the title of that post? I’ve been trying to find it. Just read a very sad post of my own from the 4th May last year following the defeat at Blackburn 😦

  34. Chico Guerrera says:

    % of games won with Ramsey, Song and Wilshere in midfield and Cesc absent?

  35. goonermichael says:

    I don’t think Cesc has offered much of a goal threat either. His heart isn’t in it so I hope he goes. For the money we could get some experience.

  36. dandan says:

    Not Good news for the buy brigade Arsenes news letter.

    Wenger: ‘I am very happy for Aaron Ramsey’
    Dear Arsenal Supporter,

    We produced a good performance against Manchester United on Sunday with discipline, fighting spirit and our usual passing game.

    Until we scored the goal, I feel we completely controlled the game. Then, because we have not won a lot recently, we tried to protect our advantage and were more under pressure. Overall, I believe we deserved to win the game.

    I am very happy for Aaron Ramsey, who scored our winner. When you consider that his injury happened 14 months ago, he now looks to be back to his best. If you look at the age of the team on Sunday I think it’s really encouraging for the Club. We had a very young midfield and were still very positive in our display.

    There were two big penalty appeals. It was a handball by Vidic and I think the referee didn’t see it. On that front, we have not been lucky this season. There were some debatable decisions over the weekend and I must say I am a big fan of video technology and I have been for a long time. But I have little power to make that happen.

    As for the title race, I have not given up any hope. We want to fight until the last second of the season. Let’s hope we have a bit more luck in the final three weeks because you never know. But Manchester United remain in the best position and the second best is Chelsea because they play against United next week.

    I still make United the favourites because when you play at home for the title you see an advantage. But if we want to have a small chance, it’s in our interest that Chelsea win at Old Trafford and for us to win our games. After that, we could be back mathematically but I still think United has an advantage.

    If we do lose the title we will point to last week as the moment we lost it, especially against Bolton and Liverpool. We were 1-0 up in the 97th minute against Liverpool, we were 3-1 up at Tottenham and we had three chances to go 2-1 up against Bolton. If we could have won nine points from those games plus the win today, we would have been ahead of Man United.

    I gave young players a chance on Sunday and, although we want to add what we need, I feel it is important for the Club that we keep faith in what we do. You can see that the players grow when they get the chance to play. Like Szczesny, for example, you can see already that compared to two months ago, he has already grown.

    It is a law in our game that you can only grow, at some stage, if you play. So people want both, they want to win every game and they want us to produce quality young players. If Wilshere has grown this season it is because he played. But on the other hand, if you do not win, people say, ‘why do you play young players?’

    Finally, we picked up a couple of injuries on Sunday. Samir has a hamstring problem, a small one I think. Cesc has got a kick on his thigh, we’ll know on Tuesday if he can practice again. He has a chance to play at Stoke on Sunday.

    Thanks for your support.

    Arsène Wenger


  37. goonermichael says:

    Verity I like your points. I’d argue about shrek being mentioned in the same sentence as messi though.

  38. Danish Gooner says:

    And now Wenger think all is peachy because we won against a poor Manure side.Same old same old.

  39. gavin says:

    Sorry I dont agree, like other’s have said watching the celebrations after goals closely,I have honestly always thought he gets along well with the rest. Reading his twitter account he seems like a nice guy and is always having some banter with Jack or Robin. Last week Cesc, Nasri and a few others were out clubbing together when they had a few days off. Adding all that up makes me think he is liked by most but I am sure their are 1 or 2 that dont like him similar to most people in the workplace you won’t get along with everybody . This is all just my opinion of course.

  40. goonermichael says:

    Hence you coming back to remind us Danish. Same old same old?

  41. goonermichael says:

    Does he actually do his own twitter?

  42. kelsey says:

    No mention of Djourou, dandan.
    It will be interesting to see if Ramsey plays against Stoke.

    Playing United and then Stoke away is like chalk and cheese.However they will have one eye on the Cup Final.

  43. kelsey says:

    I really don’t think you can relate the two things.If cesc is not liked for one reason or another by one or more players or if he has his heart elsewhere.
    in seven years he has been mentored himself and seen many many players at the club.Then you have to consider all the different nationalities of players,different cultures etc.

  44. dandan says:

    No indeed not kelsey But should we buy an experienced CB Djourou would become one of the squad players for rotation and would get his share of games. I would expect to see Squidgy leave along with Clichy though.

  45. kelsey says:

    I think with the new 25 rule approaching we will see more players leaving than others coming in.Maybe two signings as a maximum.

  46. Red Arse says:

    Talk about fickle fans.

    Last Summer everyone and his dog were foaming at the mouth because Barca were trying to lure our best player.

    Now, many of the same fly by nights are almost demanding that he go; that he is crap; that he is a troublemaker within the team, blah dee bluddy blah, etc!

    Bollox to you fair weather friends!!

  47. London says:

    Nice comment there RA

  48. joshua says:

    ‘If it’s true that at least some of the players do not like Cesc it’s a pretty sad state of affairs’

    jesus – do you expect everyone to like everyone or something? in a group of about 50 players there is no way that everyone could like everyone. ‘like’ really isn’t relevenat in terms of captain, if anything i’d say it’s GOOD for a captain not to be ‘liked’. He should instil discipline, a work ethic, motivation and maybe a bit of fear in the players and I’m not sure that being ‘liked’ is conducive to these aims…

  49. dandan says:

    RED A. Peace be upon you in your ramblings, this article was posted to allow those of little faith to come forward and rant, it would seem to have worked, as you to have risen to the bait. 🙂

  50. Red Arse says:

    Not so Dandan.

    My 10:04 comment on the Post: –Interesting piece of gossip, but it adds to my belief that Cesc will go this summer — reflects my view.

    Although, I suppose, if rising to the bait means that I intensely dislike the inordinate number of bottom feeders who have risen to the surface recently, here and elsewhere, disseminating their avowals of disrespect for someone who has given great pleasure to many fans, with his sublime skills, then so be it.

  51. Red Arse says:


    Take your own advice!

  52. kelsey says:

    I have dealt with it RA

  53. Rasp says:

    I was just about to give ritesh some advice when his comment disappeared – well done whoever?

    I was going to give him one more chance to see if he had the ability to understand the nature of AA, but suspect that would have been in vain.

  54. Rasp says:

    Thanks kelsey

  55. WiganGooner says:

    Hi all,

    Great article again, it certainly set me thinking.

    I don’t think he is disliked, though I could see players becoming frustrated with his performances. No one likes a guaranteed first-teamer who’s performances are not up to scratch.

    I think being Captain takes away his focus and his creativity a bit. He has to be more of a team player and cannot ever be seen to be selfish as he has to set the right example. Playing in the role that he does as an advanced attacking midfielder he should be doing more by himself to set the tempo and start moves. This should be easier for him as he would have more space than any other midfielder because he plays between the lines.

    I think that the advanced role doesn’t suit him as much as he’d like it to. He wants to be a Xavi but without an Iniesta buzzing round him for one-two’s he always has to turn which cuts down his time on the ball. Opponents aren’t stupid, they know if they mark him well our creativity will be stifled.

    The Captaincy strikes again here too, because he is under pressure to perform and drag the team to victory. Often being marked out of the game he drops deeper to join the midfield to get space by outnumbering opponents, but then he’s too deep to support the striker and the wingers.

    I never have liked the captaincy being anyone other than a defender or keeper because they can see the whole field, they have time to think a bit more about what they are doing and they have time to shout instructions and encouragement to their team.

    I fear its a case of too much too young and Cesc’s body is not as reliable or as sturdy as he would like. Its affecting his confidence and there isn’t anyone to sort his head out.

    I really think he’s not unhappy or disliked. I just think he is burdened with this expectation that Arsenal have a god-given right to win everything and the worlds going to end when we don’t beat Barcelona, arguably the best team in the world (when actually playing football and not entering into gamesmanship). I think Cesc just cares too much. He wants to win so much.

    It frustrates me so when we lose, but with our media and our own vitriol its hard to keep focus and I think the players struggle too. A Mugabe media lockdown should be enforced.

    We shouldn’t be 3rd at this time, but we are so I’m hoping we can dig in and get some joy come the end of the season.


  56. goonermichael says:

    Red Arse
    Last year Cesc was my avatar. I changed it during the summer and I’ve wanted him gone since. It may just be a gut reaction on my part but it’s how I’ve felt since then. I also hate the catalans (and reina) for thier part in it. I don’t dislike Cesc in the slightest I just think it’s time we all moved on.

  57. goonermichael says:

    I always miss the dodgy comments. Was it the ssme ritesh fro L-G?

  58. RockyLives says:

    Some very interesting comments on this.

    I thought long and hard before writing this post – but Carlito’s judgement was that the two guys he was talking to were on the level and, therefore, it felt like a subject that should be aired.

    If the problem really exists, writing about it won’t have any impact on whether or not Cesc stays. If it doesn’t exist, ditto.

    Excellent comment.

  59. G says:

    Hi Rocky – I do suppose we are better with Cesc notwithstanding what happened on Sunday, though we did look good without him.

    The thing is though, stats can be used and abused fairly easily (e.g. Denilson passing skill etc) so I was wondering; of those games Cesc did/didn’t play, was there anything else to note? IE did he miss a disproportionately large amount of games against ‘harder’ opposition? I know you have to beat the teams in front of you regardless but just wondering..


  60. RockyLives says:

    Very good point and good question. I’m afraid my limited stat-gathering didn’t go into that level of detail, but it would be interesting to see if there were any extraneous factors.
    (In fact, you have time to have a little root around the stats on the official Arsenal site, maybe you could write us a post on the subject – we have a ‘Be Our Guest” link at the top of the page – you would be very welcome).

  61. Red Arse says:

    Hi GM, 🙂

    I do not have a problem with anyone voicing their opinion as to whether a player is good, bad or indifferent, or whether they should stay or go.

    Like you, I have opinions on certain players and have made them known.

    What I cannot stomach is the insensitive, craven disrespect shown to a player (any player, not just Cesc) who wears the Arsenal shirt.

    It is tantamount to crapping on your own (Arsenal) doorstep, and I will not have it.

    These are the types who decry players for not having loyalty to the club or the fans, yet they show no personal loyalty themselves.

    Rant over! 🙂

  62. Red Arse says:

    Hi WG, 🙂

    Good comment.

    How’s the Word Press thing going? Any news?

  63. RockyLives says:

    Well said. I, too, don’t understand people who purport to “know” what Cesc is thinking or to suggest that he doesn’t passionately want to succeed for Arsenal.

  64. goonermichael says:

    I agree with you Red Arse I don’t like/rate certain players but while they are at Arsenal (adebeyor excepted) I try to give them my support.

  65. gunner17 says:

    Goal celebrations show that nobody likes Bendtner. He surely will be on his way this summer.

  66. chas says:


    Supposing the problem exists but only in the mind of the one unnamed player.

    Supposing the problem exists but Cesc doesn’t know about it.

    Even the lads that Carlito spoke to were “were keen not to be leaking” said information. How do you think they’ll feel if they see it on the web?

  67. RockyLives says:

    I imagine they were keen not to be leaking because they don’t want to get into trouble and/or lose their access to the first team.

    It’s possible the problem exists only in the mind of the one player, in which case – if it comes up when the squad are together (which I doubt, because I’m not sure they read Arsenal blogs) – the outpouring of support for the captain will be a good thing.

    If the problem exists but Cesc doesn’t know about, that’s a pretty unhealthy state of affairs.

  68. dandan says:

    OK who prodded RA with a stick whilst I was away crapping, No you cant have it RA it is good for the roses 🙂
    Here I am in a good mood ( well apart from the hay fever caused by all this bloody rapeseed that surrounds us) because all things Arsenal seem brighter today ( did we perhaps win this weekend He He) and all and sundry are trying to Kick my mate Cesc out of the door.
    He is a good player, he has done seven years with us, he might have had enough, how many of you lot have spent seven years in all your jobs and why did you leave, did all your workmates love you. 🙂
    Give the poor man some space, there are only 3 games left and then we can all spend weeks bored to the back teeth rebuilding the team, while he goes on holiday if he don’t come back so what he deserves the choice.

    OK rant over (this is known as doing an RA) or a rasp.

  69. RockyLives says:

    But, having said all that, I respect your view and understand where you’re coming from. The fact that I had quite a debate with myself (send in the men with white coats!) before deciding to post shows that I had my own reservations which were not a million miles away from yours. On balance I felt that the arguments in favour of airing it won out.

  70. RockyLives says:

    …or a dandan

  71. dandan says:

    Hmmmm Rocky 🙂

  72. RockyLives says:

    Your tone is usually mellow, meaningful and mellifluous, but I’ve seen you have your rant moments before! 🙂

  73. Paul N says:

    True or not it kinda bothers me that people say that Cesc should be upset because the players that are around are not good enough seeing that Cesc has not played to well and has made some stupid mistakes himself.

  74. Evonne says:

    Thierry Henry’s last season with Arsenal wasn’t his greatest, but so what? He still is a legend and we love him for what he has done for the club.

    Same is true for Francesc

  75. dandan says:

    Its the rapeseed Rocky, it gets to you, I have blown the toupee of five times already today…. on top of that the door has just fallen off the greenhouse. Do you ever think its not your day, I just wonder at my age whats going to fall off next. 🙂

    And one has to keep that RA on his toes.

  76. chas says:

    Fair enough, Rocky. I know that you would only ever want what’s best for the Arsenal. 🙂

  77. WiganGooner says:

    Hi RA,

    Got a handle on what needs to be done, its just a bit of a massive task 🙂

    Thanks for your help though, you’re a star 🙂



  78. kelsey says:

    RL wrote

    If the problem really exists, writing about it won’t have any impact on whether or not Cesc stays. If it doesn’t exist, ditto.”

    and those are exactly my feelings.

    dandan have you been cutting the grass or smoking it 🙂

  79. Arselicked says:

    Rocky, you need to be careful abnout this rumours.

    After what has happened for the past few seasons now, i believe that rival teams and journalists have found a way of dismantling The Arsenal Youth Project. It has been to attack AW and the Arsenal team.

    If SAF complains about a penalty that was not given, he is taking the pressare away from his poor performance, if AW does it, he is whinging. If Gallas shows emotion on the pitch he is being petulant, if Terry does it he is passionate.

    Our former captain, Gallas was warmly welcomed when he first came to AFC, he played his heart out until that fateful day at Birmingham. After that the press started writing everything about him and managed to convince us that the Toure – Gallas partnership does not work and Gallas is poor. Look at what he is getting now at Spurs, nothing but accolades. Even Mr Palmer thinks we miss him when he wrote that he is sulking and should be sold.

    In short my friend what i’m saying you are doing nothing but giving ammunition to the opposition. If there is a problem AW will deal with it in his own way. He doesn’t need your help and he doesn’t need mine. A rumour like this is poison. Cesc needs our support. He is still an AFC player and the trophy is still there mathematically.

  80. Red Arse says:


    I am secretly pleased that my ennuie with these people is seen as a rant.

    Why pleased? Well, wearing my real ranting hat produces something quite different which could even be seen as malevolent. 🙂

    You might say that when I spot a particularly virulent boil or carbuncle, such as the blithering of assinine ‘fans’, my verbal lancet is ready, ruthless and shows no mercy! 🙂

  81. Arsenalisto says:

    I don’t know if we should really believe this but it could be true considering the Denilson’s comments in mid season about how Fabregas is not a true leader..etc and also since the Blackpool game when RVP had a “bust up” with Diaby at half time, Cesc and RVP haven’t been as united as they used to be before. I don’t know if a lot ppl do this, but I look for close details, like face expressions and celebrations, RVP actually wheeled away from Cesc after the penalty goal vs Liverpool when normally he would point to Cesc and thanks him for winning the pen. Also vs United, I haven’t that celebration in the team where they make a circle and hug each other since the battering of Chelsea in December, even vs Barca at emirates it was not the same, reminds me when Gallas and Toure were both at the club. Shame, these millionaires let their egos get them. THIS could all be false though, we can’t really know!

  82. Hi all – just popping in to say that the post cupboard is bare at the moment so if anyone has anything for tomorrow and the coming days that would be great.

  83. Red Arse says:

    Hi Arselicked,

    I have sympathy with the views you express. There are more than enough people prepared to have a pop at the manager and our players.

    The only caution I would add, is that Rocky was writing a Post for us to debate, based on info supplied by that well known Mata Hari of the footie world aka Carlito.

    If we steered away from all sensitive or emotive subjects, in the dying embers of this season, our screens would be blank and that would never do! 🙂

  84. Red Arse says:

    Hi Arsenalisto,

    That was an interesting comment, and it reminds me of a sandwich, really.

    You start with: — ‘I don’t know if we should really believe this but it could be true.’
    And then you finish with: — ‘THIS could all be false though, we can’t really know!’

    Neatly ensconced in the middle you pile on a thick layer of innuendo and non provable ‘fact’.

    You don’t write for The Sun do you, by any chance? 🙂

  85. Big Raddy says:

    One of the best comments of the day was from Joshua (always good to have fresh input). As he rightly says, in any group of 50 people some are going to dislike the team leader.

    I was a very benevolent boss but some of the staff disliked me – why? Because I had to make some tough decisions and in the process upset them. I hope the same can be said for Cesc.

    As to his arrogance, I am sure being lauded all of his life has led to a certain degree of arrogance – it is inevitable.

    Are we better off without him? Absolutely not. IMO he is by far the best MF in the PL. He would be first name on the teamsheet at every club in the PL and in most clubs worldwide.

    It is madness to suggest that following one less than brilliant season Arsenal should cash in and use the money elsewhere in the team. Firstly, when has AW ever re-invested money gained from transfers into the team (the sale of Ade and Kolo?)? Secondly, losing Cesc weakens us and strengthens whoever he signs for.

  86. Terry White says:

    I cannot believe what I am reading. Why would an Arsenal fan even contemplate repeating this ? This is self-destruction. I don`t give a toss whether Cesc thinks this way or not. Critiscise Rooney, John Terry, uncle Tom Cobbly an all. But for gawd`s sake, lets support our team instead of trying to piss all over them at the first opportunity. The media do this, but they get paid for it. Perhaps I don`t understand support for my club !!. To me it means ” support my club, right or wrong, win or lose”, have the rules changed and nobody bothered telling me ?

  87. Big Raddy says:


    May I congratulate you on what is likely to be our most read post ever on AA! A few hundred more hits and you will have exceeded the number of hits received by your “Transfer” post last year.

    Well played that Man!

  88. Big Raddy says:

    Terry White. Read the post again. The lack of understanding you show is probably due to you not appreciating the AA stance. Everyone who takes the time to write a post loves the Arsenal, they may be concerned over the direction the club is taking, but their love, support and involvement is unquestionable.

    Rather than criticise the writer, why not write a headline post? Your insight would be interesting.

  89. Red Arse says:

    Hi Raddy,

    There is an old military adage, that strikes a chord at both the macro and micro levels of management, including the team ethos.

    It can, understandably, be a seminal moment when becoming a (business) manager or captain of a team.

    The adage goes – (in general terms – no pun intended) – that you can train 1,000 men to a given level of proficiency, but 500 of them, in battle, will ‘stand’ their ground but do nothing else. 100 of them will skive off or run, if given half a chance, 200 do not have the wit to carry out orders, leaving only 200 you can rely on. [Sound like the old 80:20 rule?].

    Any Arsenal captain would do well to be aware of this, and his first task would be to categorise the team members in a meaningful way.
    His second task should be to make the Manager aware of those views and dump those who fall into the wrong categories, and seek to replace them with players having the required attributes.

    In ancient Greek times, the clever ones who were likely to run when the going got tough, as well as the stupid ones, unable to carry out orders, were usually executed (put into the first lines of attack) to winnow them out. Worked a treat! 🙂

    I found sacking a couple ‘pour encourager les autres’ usually worked! 🙂

  90. Andy B says:

    Great post Rocky, some great comments too, especially regarding the qualities that define a captain and Wengers use of the armband as some sort of power up for certain players whilst ignoring the obvious choice; Gilberto and Kolo come to mind as those ignored in favour of a primadonna with itchy feet or an ego problem; Henry, Gallas and Cesc…

    TV5 or, dare I say it, Jack, strike me as the best options. RvP is a true gooner, and I love him to bits but I agree with the striker-not-being-captain hypothesis.

    As for who this mystery player is speaking out of turn…I have to say this has got Bendtner written all over it. Maybe Arshavin but the rest are in it together. I am traveling the far east, have been all season, and post game out here the cameras stay on the players after the whistle a lot longer than in the UK…the hugs between the players are real but Bendy rarely gets much from anyone but Jack and Arshavin is bathed and on the bus before the rest have left the pitch. Just an observation.

  91. Gooner70 says:

    First things first.

    If you read football biographies, in nearly all cases there are players, or groups of players, in teams including highly successful teams who do not get on.

    Secondly, the ego is part and parcel of being a footballer, big players have big egos, this can upset lesser players, but is something they have to learn to live with.

    My concern is the weight of expectancy and responsibility on young shoulders. Cesc at 23 is at such a young age to face the burden of responsibility of both captaincy and leading player, particularly at a big club like Arsenal. – The youngest ever premiership winning captain is John Terry at 25, then Tim Sherwood at 26, all other captains have been 28 or older and have usually been strong characters, think Adams, Vieira, Keane, Robson, etc. And Cesc is definitely not in their sort of mold in terms of character.

    It was completely mistaken and unfair for Arsene to burden Cesc with this responsibility and as a consequence lessen his effectiveness as a player.

    The problem is what does he do now, if he stays it would be a snub to take it away. And if he goes, which seems most likely, is either give it to Vermaelen (But injury doubts are an issue, or buy a ready made captain, Scott Parker seems the obvious choice.

  92. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Damned clever those Greeks. I would have been winnowed!

  93. Goonerman says:

    Rubbish story; shit material.

  94. Goonerman says:

    No evidence whatsoever..

  95. Big Raddy says:


    Excellent comment.

  96. Red Arse says:

    Hi Raddy, 🙂

    Can I commend you on your calm rebuttal of Terry White.

    I have been sorely tried with those quick to jump on the anti-Cesc bandwagon and have said so with some vehemence today.

    But my other pet bugbear are those who read the headline, and don’t bother reading the Post itself or the follow up comments, and then launch into a laughably outraged criticism of the author.

    Pathetic, by any definition.

  97. RockyLives says:

    Terry W
    The article is not critical of Cesc, but aims to throw some light on an issue that could be problemmatic in the dressing room (or may not be, if the information is incorrect). If it is a problem it’s better to bring it to light and deal with it in my opinion, but I accept that others may not share that opinion.

    Thanks for that. Let’s hope some of the new visitors decide to stay – certainly those who have joined in the debate in (for the most part) an articulate and thoughtful way.

    Andy B
    Carlito is the only one who knows the identity of the player and I can guarantee that he won’t tell. But your insight into the players’ post-game behaviour is interesting and informative. I guess we all have to be careful about reading too much into things. Sometimes behaviour can look like one thing and be another, but it does make you think.

  98. RockyLives says:

    BR and Redders
    Many thanks 🙂

  99. Goonerman says:

    Load of morons; who cares if cesc is disliked by some or one or two players.

    I work in an office and don’t like 20% of the poeple around me.

    So what?

  100. Red Arse says:

    No thanks needed, Rocky, unfair comments need to be rebutted, and there is also loyalty to a friend. 🙂

  101. kelsey says:

    It’s official well done Rocky, you have broken your own record.

  102. Rasp says:


    You are slowly getting the idea that if you want to debate a topic on here you have to dispense with the 1 line insults and actually make a point. Keep going and I’m sure Rocky will reply to your comment when you reach the required standard.

  103. Goonerman says:

    Rasp – there is nothing to debate. A professional writer would not produce hearsay, with no evidence; particularly a so called Arsenal supporter.

    I still think its a moronic article and decidedly amateurish.

    I don’t want to debate or a reply. I’ve made my point.

  104. Irishgunner says:

    Evening all.

    I’m not too sure about whether he is liked or not, the main problem I have with Cesc his that his head drops too quickly when things aren’t going our way, I don’t care for the excuse the players around him aren’t up to it. He needs to dig in. Parker is surrounded by mediocre players, and staff at West Ham, is not half the player Cesc is in terms of technical ability yet he has been the far better player over the last 10 months.

  105. Big Raddy says:

    Good point Irish. HOw do you think Cesc would have performed in the WHU team?

  106. Hiya, where have you been?

  107. We need a post Irish – fancy writing one for tomorrow?

  108. Red Arse says:

    Nice one, Rasper, 🙂

    I’ll come off the fence! 🙂 Ooops — I think that sentence is redundant.

    Look, when I was a manager, I deliberately kept my distance from my staff.

    Why? Well, early on, I found that making justified ‘business’ decisions that ran contrary to the wishes of my ‘friends’ led to them sulking and being difficult, because they felt they should be treated not as staff, but as friends. Not on.

    By having friends, by definition, this created a group who were ‘not friends’. Any decisions they did not like were construed as being spiteful and arrived at because they were ‘not friends. Not on, either.

    By treating everyone equally, at arms length, these ‘misunderstandings’ did not occur.

    It can be lonely being a ‘good’ manager. The same should/could be true for the captaincy, and being liked/disliked should not be a consideration.

  109. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Interesting. I took the opposite stance but perhaps that says more about my need to be liked than about my management abilities!

  110. Irishgunner says:

    BR – I’ve no idea, is mindset might be different. Its hard because Cesc is used to playing with top players, when he came into our side we were immense, in Spain he has the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, Villa, Torres etc., Parker was dumped by Chelsea so I suppose he had no other choice but to get his head in the right mind and do his best. He may not be the most likable character but I admire how he has played this season.

    Peaches – working, working and more working, then drinking ha ha I’m planning a trip to the Emirates Cup, will I get tickets for the NY game easy enough on general sale, or is Boca a better shout?

  111. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches I will write a short post.

  112. Irishgunner says:

    Peaches – you’ll have to give me a topic to write on cos my brain is dead

  113. Irishgunner says:

    😆 I promise to try and get on more, and I’ll try and write a few soon, if BR could take one tomorrow that’d be great.

  114. Red Arse says:

    Raddy, whatever you do or did, is fine by me. 🙂

    I am sure, from chatting to you, over the last few months, and getting to know you, at one remove, I know you were successful in achieving your objectives, and that is what counts. 🙂

  115. Rasp says:


    Sadly you have failed to reach the standard…..

    ….”There is nothing to debate” = I am just gong to keep making my point and am not interested in any one else’s point of view. It appears that you do not understand the meaning of the word ‘debate’.

    I have retrieved your comments from moderation 3 times but fear I have been wasting my time.

    It’s perfectly fine to disagree with the article but juvenile to resort to insults. The thing that affronts me most is calling Rocky a “so-called Arsenal supporter” ..if only you knew…

  116. Red Arse says:


    How about a Post on Arsenal as seen thru’ the eyes of a female gooner? Could frighten us males, but what the hell? 🙂

  117. Irishgunner says:

    Red Arse – basically you want to know who has the nicest legs? TOMAS ROSICKY 😀 He also has the nicest ass, abs, biceps and face.

  118. Irish, how about something to do with whether Ramsey should play against Stoke, or why he seems to have bounced back from injury and Eduardo didn’t – or why Koscielny is worth every penny of the £8m’ish we paid for him?

  119. thundertinygooner says:

    95% of these reputable sources are anything but.Its two and two making six.Your suggestion about the captaincy is however sensible.The natural captain of this squad is Vermalen.Hopefully his injury nightmare is behind him.Van Persie only ever plays half the games in a season

  120. Red Arse says:


    Well that is one area of the female psyche you seem to have nailed! 🙂

    I was thinking more about what appeals to you in terms of female support for the club.

    Males tend to think they know all about tactics/coaching blah, blah, but is this important to women too, or are you more concerned with lines/queues for the Ladies, dealing with over-amorous male gooners, or the seating arrangements giving a smaller female frame a good line of sight, etc?

    There are probably many more apposite things of female interest, but what do I know. Probably a bollox suggestion. Sorry! 🙂

  121. Irishgunner says:

    Red Arse – for the small few I’ve met on here I think they will vouch for me following the obvious, tactics, formations etc., etc., I’ve never eaten at the Emirates, might not be out for the second half kick off ha ha don’t like to miss a second

  122. Irishgunner says:

    Peaches – Is BR doing it?

  123. mickydidit89 says:

    Oi Rocky,
    Its all very well churning out cracking postages, but it doesn’t half take a while for the late comers to catch up. Then one finds the author out for lunch, BR steaming fish and RA baking bread.

  124. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Thank you and you are right, I have achieved my original life goals. However, I am excited by whatever the future holds

  125. Big Raddy says:

    Irish. Yes I will write a post. May not be to everyone’s taste but c’e la vie

  126. mickydidit89 says:

    The Captaincy. On the one hand it is tricky to highlight the required skills, on the other hand we can all name the Great Arsenal Skippers quite easily.

  127. eve says:

    what a load of bull,yes cesc has been going around acting like hes carrying the world on his shoulders, thats because he is, he is doing most of the work, putting balls over the top into the pen area, time after time, but thers never anyone on the end except rvp, cesc works bloody hard for arsenal and then gets stabbed in the back by people who want him to go, well he might go, so that will please the minority of fans who think aaron is the next best cesc, he wouldnt ever say or hint that he is better than the rest of the team, he is too nice a person. oh by the way cesc, if you happen to read these comments:- HAPPY BIRTHDAY FOR TOMORROW, love you XXXXX

  128. Big Raddy says:

    Evening Micky. Steaming fish is the only way – I occasionally will poach a salmon or cook (broil) a mackerel in foil. Frying is best left to the pro’s I have never mastered it.

    Just read this back and it makes me laugh that I can write such a comment on an AFC blog 😀

  129. Irishgunner says:

    Great BR, I’ll be sure to read it and comment 🙂

  130. Carlito11 says:

    It was predictable that so many would question the source but RockyLives is right that I can’t give any further satisfaction as it would be a betrayal of trust and I gave the lads in question my word.
    I take my hat of to Terry White for the “Widdecombe Fayre” reference- haven’t heard that tune in a good while! Sorry if you think that dressing room dynamics are not of interest in our quest to understand why our season imploded so spectacularly. I agree that a captain does not have to be “popular” but I think he should be respected and the comments suggested that he perhaps is not. That is worrying and speaks to the lack of collective will to get us over the line.
    The other thing I heard was that the players feel they should get shouted at more by Wenger. The picture that emerged is of a strained atmosphere- like the uneasy calm before a storm, and many players would prefer to have it out rather than suffer in silence- even if it meant they were the ones bearing the brunt of the storm. Too much calm, too much aloofness and “intelligence”- remember a captain in football is like a sergeant in the army, not a manager of a company. He needs to have the strength to get those lads up for it and fighting for each other in a common cause.
    I have never wanted Cesc to leave- as was argued very eloquently by Big Raddy- he’s the best in the league, possibly the world, in the creative centre mid role. But the overall dressing room atmosphere needs a bit more testosterone and I agree with those suggesting that Cesc should be encouraged by his manager to relinquish the armband to let him get on with delighting us with his skills 🙂

  131. mickydidit89 says:

    The only way. Mackerel/Sardines over oak fire with sprigs of Rosemary?

  132. SharkeySure says:

    Rocky, if I’m honest I’m not completely au fait with whats led up to the creation of this post. However, you are completely transparent (positive sense) in your approach so fair play on that score.

    After that its a very good post (as always), and I agree with your suggestion that Cesc should be seen to relinquish the armband. I know its not just about screaming and shouting, but even beyond that, he really isn’t a very good skipper. His desire to turn up for ‘dream matches’ when half fit is one thing that particularly rankles with me. A good captain would pump them up to ‘go and win it without me’.

    I guess I should blame Arsene for it really. I’ve said many times that I believe Arsene to be too soft on his players.

  133. mickydidit89 says:

    Damn it,
    I really want to stay, chat, and voice my opinion, but family calling, while at the same time the deer are rutting and I have not protected my trees I planted yesterday. Long night ahead.
    Nite all.

  134. RockyLives says:

    Have just been for a nice lunch of papardelle pasta with brisket beef, garlic, onions and stuff. Plus two glasses of decent chianti. So I’m very mellow.

    Thanks for sticking up for me in my absence Rasp, BR and everyone.

    Fascinating discussion about management skills. I definitely started in the BR camp (keen to be liked) but over the years (and via many, many mistakes) have gravitated to the RA camp (keep your distance). Age has probably made that a natural transition: I’m now quite a bit older than most people I manage so there’s less of an inclination to ‘hang out’. However, I think Carlito – who, let’s remember, is to blame for this entire day’s blogging! 🙂 – has the right of it. A football captain is less like a manager than like a sergeant major in the army.

  135. SharkeySure says:

    On the topic of good captains….I have to mention Scumbag No.1 JT over at the Blue Outhouse.

    At the end of their win over Tott it was spine tingling how pimped he was, and the ‘something’ that he was passing around the whole outhouse. Team mates, fans in the crowd, even I found myself slightly drawn in to believing it was their time…lol. Remember, this was before we’d beaten Fergies revolutionary 4-5-2 formation (Foy at DM..lol)

    Credit to that dirty scumbag where its due ‘eh.

    Freudian slip has put in pimped not pumped…but it kinda still works for me. I’ll leave it uncorrected. 😉

  136. RockyLives says:

    Sharkey 🙂 pimped/pumped – as you say, they both work for that scumbag.

  137. Harry says:

    Rocky, great post, top of newsnow and probably the most talked article of all for some time….

    At least you expanded the article with constructive discussion and reasoning, which quite patently some cannot understand….

    I want Cesc to stay, for whatever issues he has with some, it wont be all and he is a world class player..

    I agree that he should relinquish the armabnd if he finds it too onerous…..

    Above all else, all i want for now is a clear message of whats happening and not draw it out over the summer as we always do….

  138. RockyLives says:

    As I said in the piece, I want him to stay too. How dumb would we be to let one of the world’s best players just walk out the door?

    But, like you, I would love the Cesc-to-Barca thing to be nailed at the start of summer, either by him saying he wants to go or by saying categorically that he’s staying. Don’t suppose it will happen though.

  139. SharkeySure says:

    “expanded the article with constructive discussion” –

    I agree completely. Its a post that could easily have been written without Carlito’s insights as a basis, but it would almost be churlish not to acknowledge his imput. That statments kind of eaten itself now, but I’m (Sharkey) sure that you erudite people are still with me.

    Anyway, I’m still trying to catch up with the comments, not to mention get kids to bed. Back in a bit

  140. “I would not normally pass on unsubstantiated comments, but Carlito11 (the AA regular) is a mature and responsible informant and he believes there is no reason to doubt what he was told.”

    Wow, what solid evidence.

  141. Seriously dude:

    “Cesc’s demeanour and body language has been quite negative at times this season. He has not looked as if he is enjoying his football. In fact, sometimes he looks like he’s carrying the world on his shoulders. I know this is not scientific, but it’s my gut feeling from having watched him over several years.
    The much talked-about mental fragility of our team this season seems, to me, to betoken some sort of inner conflict within the squad. If the players were united as one, I believe they would fight harder for each other. I realise I am speculating here, but, again, it’s a gut feeling.”

    This is logical fallacy and sooth saying. I expected more from you!

  142. Big Raddy says:

    Can a “dude” be serious?

  143. RockyLives says:

    You don’t have to like it, but I have been clear about what’s fact and what is speculation. You may have noticed the qualifiers, like “I know this is not scientific, but…” and “I realise I am speculating here…”

    The qualifiers are there in the sections where I am expressing opinion (which is a standard function of a first-person blog). I don’t know these things as fact, but if none of us speculated there would be nothing to read on the Arsenal blogosphere.

    As for the conversation Carlito had with the two guys – well, Carlito is not stupid and he feels it was authentic. I have used that (probably reliable) piece of inside information as the launching pad for my speculation about our captain and have been careful to say which is which.

  144. SharkeySure says:

    Massacre…c’mon read ot carefully. The main bones of the post could have been written without any ‘evidence’.

    The whole post is hyppothetical. You really found nothing in it of any value…??

  145. SharkeySure says:

    Lol Raddy. Welcome back.

    A bit late from me I know…c’est la vie.

  146. Big Raddy says:

    Respect SS …

  147. SharkeySure says:

    Mickey 7.33. top quality.

    Baking bread…lol

  148. London says:

    Where are these people coming from, have they never been on a blog before are they so naive as not to realise that we deal with gossip, rumour and on occasions the truth.

  149. London says:

    Lasgne was good tonight shame that one didn’t work out for us. Ronaldo had the body language of a spoilt kid who couldn’t get his own way.

  150. Carlito11 says:

    London 😀
    I’m off but just found out about the Ribery rumour… Now this is just twitter so nothing like what Rocky based today’s post on but I read this “Here’s what I know: transfer fee decided (don’t know how much), contract details being sorted out between agent and Arsenal.” The agent is Migliaccio who is also Squillaci and Nasri’s agent…
    Not a done deal but you lot know how I crave wingers and that Ribery would do it for me 🙂

  151. London says:

    Oh well, the Giro starts soon, I will leave you with this thought……Italian Podium Girls.

  152. London says:

    Ohhhhhhhh the Italian Podium Girls can wait a bit. That is very, very juicy Carlito, top gossip my friend.

  153. SharkeySure says:

    True on both counts London.

    I think last weeks shitfest of a classico has done us all a favour. On the one hand it has highlighted just how much Barca cheat and feign their way thru matches; and on the other we saw a ref tonight who was determined to only censure very serious fouls with yellows.

    Its tiresome to see refs spoiling games with yellow and red cards when there’s hardy been a bad challenge in a game.

  154. SharkeySure says:

    Just how stooooopid is AdeNuff..?? Wot a complete and utter moron he has looked tonight.

    Mourinho getting slaughtered on Sky for not being braver in his home leg. Still no mention of our home win, achieved by beating them at their own game !!!

  155. RockyLives says:

    Great gossip! Shall I write a post about it? 🙂

  156. RockyLives says:

    That was a joke…

  157. SharkeySure says:

    Redknapp has finally mentioned that Arsenal beat Barca in the 1st leg.

    It was getting quite galling listening to them talk as though Barca were completely unbeatable

  158. RockyLives says:

    Adebarndoor came on, committed a bunch of fouls and booted the ball out of play every time he tried to make a pass. Useless.

  159. goonermichael says:

    Having a Japanese wife fish id better not cooked at all.

  160. Evonne says:

    Franck to Arsenal??? Lovely 🙂 I’ve been waiting for this to happen for the last 5 years!! He is 28 now, possibly past his best

  161. goonermichael says:

    id = is

  162. SharkeySure says:

    London – my ‘both counts’ was for for the naive bloggers and Diarra, not for the Podium girls best assets 😉

    Anyway, what channel are these lovely ladies on..??

  163. goonermichael says:

    If anyone’s thinking of swithing to virgin media. Don’t

  164. SharkeySure says:

    Agreed Rocky…I think his IQ’s written on his shirt.

    Hey Blonde Bombshell..?? Thats you Evonne, just in case you were wondering.

    Odd timing for a ‘howdy’ from me though….as I was just off.

    Anyway my intentions were honourable unlike our dear friend (3*8+2). We are all still making jokes out of that ‘episode’ aren’t we..??

    Nite all 😉

  165. SharkeySure says:

    GM, or anyone else. Any tips on Broadband provider ..?? Currently with TalkTalk…shocking. We are Sky TV customers already and pretty light users I guess, in terms of downloads and hours etc.

    Right really going now.

  166. Carlito11 says:

    Rocky lol! The issue with Ribery is his wages which are well over what we pay our players. Rumour has it that they’re trying to structure it so his salary falls within the current structure but win bonuses would keep him on similar to at Bayern… that’s about all I can glean… would it be great though eh?

  167. SharkeySure says:

    “Did Arsene give you strict instructions to play defense? In my opinion, you repelled all Manchester United’s attacks on the right flank. And one particular tackle made the Emirates give Arshavin a standing ovation. “We have Arshavin” was loudly chanted at the stadium.
    AA: It happened that I paid more attention to playing defense in this game. This clash turned out in such a way that I had to play according to the situation. My tackles? Well, yes! They turned out great today. I’m glad that the fans appreciated them :). I suppose that my sliding tackles came out just fine. I performed them better than Tony Adams in his prime years. 🙂 “

  168. Carlito11 says:

    SS- we went with sky for the whole Broadband phone and TV package. The only bit I’m not happy with is paying for the TV!!

  169. Carlito11 says:

    Where’s that AA quote from? “It happened that I paid more attention to playing defense in this game. “- classic Arshavin 😀 you’d think that everything he does is out of his control the way he phrases stuff!

  170. Carlito11 says:

    Really off now- g’nite!

  171. goonermichael says:

    Anyone but virgin broadband. It’s rubbish and i was supposed to be phoned back “in 15 minutes” 1 hour ago.

  172. Gooner in Exile says:

    Evening all, been a fun day on here.

    No one has mentioned the confirmed 4% ticket price rise announced by the club today. Maybe grounds for a post.

    It’s being expressed by BBC as 6.5% as it includes VAT increase which non season ticket holders have been paying since 4 January. First rise for three years seems fair. Lower tier behind goal went from £33 to £34 (30p rounded up on VAT increase). So assumption is 4% increase per club statement will see same ticket rise to £35.36 for 2011/12 will they round up or down from here?

    Current top price ticket for Cat A is £96 should end up just shy of £100.

  173. RockyLives says:

    Evening GiE
    It’s hard to be too cross about the increase when there’s been no rise for three years.
    But I suppose these are tough times and for some people it might be the straw that crack’s the dromedary’s spine.

  174. RockyLives says:

    Great line from Goonerholic in his report of Sunday’s game:

    “Foy kept United in it with a remarkable performance which included denying a nailed-on penalty for the Vidic save, intercepting a through ball, and most telling of all, a blatant body check. The patience of the referee, one Mr Rooney, was wearing thin.”

    Love the last sentence 🙂

  175. RockyLives says:

    You should write a short post about that Ribery story (obviously making it clear that it’s not substantiated).
    It’s the sort of news a lot of Gooners would like to hear right about now – even if it’s wishful thinking.

  176. Gooner in Exile says:

    I agree Rocky, when all factors are considered it seems fair.

    Stoke are charging £35-£45 to watch us at Britannia, as we are a CatA* fixture. We get to watch that A* team every week in a much nicer ground in the lower tier for very similar prices.

    My Norwich supporting pals are always shocked that I can get a ticket at Arsenal and a return train for less than £60.

    Just checked their website and Norwich sold 20000 season tickets in both League One and Championship, their ticket prices are fantastic and they have been giving people the chance to renew since March for next season. Under 12’s can go for less than £2 per match on a season ticket there, under 21’s for less than £8. That’s a club with it’s heart in the right place, if they priced them out they’d start supporting elsewhere as if you’re not going to live games does it matter if you support your local team or ManU/Chelsea/Arsenal.

  177. […] Fabregas “Disliked” By Teammates This post is based on a conversation between one of the Arsenal Arsenal regular contributors and two individuals […] […]

  178. walkpass says:

    he seems well liked by some teammates like Wilshere, RVP etc. Read their twitter entries. Those who do not like him probably Denilson or some 2nd teamers? 🙂

  179. Arsenalisto says:

    Red Arse,

    You just showed what a thick head you got mate, so you claim that I stated an innuendo and a “non provable FACT” at the same time. I got no problems with that, but my problem is you describing that “”Fact”” as “non provable” which means you actually believe there is some sort of fact which contradicts your statement that I had no problem with. Now I think I know why they always advise you not to use words you don’t really know the meaning of in interviews. I just stated my 2 opinions to show that it’s all a speculation and that any of the 2 is possible and I don’t see where you saw my “Fact”.

  180. Gooner in Exile says:


    I think RA was being humorous rather than condescending or derogatory…stick around a while and you’ll see he is one of our teams most fervent supporters and a top commentator on this blog.

    Thick head is certainly a bit harsh, if you go back a few weeks and look at one of his posts applying theoretical science to football, it left me with a thick head.

  181. Evonne says:

    Sharkey – I read your comment and have been trying to come up with something witty in my reply, but I am speachless! I’ve been called many things in the past, but never that! Be careful, I am still in love with RA, but keep talking and who knows? x

  182. Evonne says:

    GM – I had some spectacular problems with Virgin Media. One email to Neil Berkett and instant success (Berkett, Neil [Neil.Berkett@virginmedia.co.uk] ), he personally replied and apologiesed.

    I hate AVIVA, now they are the biggest bunch of crooks you have ever met in your life. Cannot watch rugby because of them

  183. Evonne says:

    Barca – I am delighted they won last night, they will destroy ManU. Real played much better than a week before, but had no chance really. Diarra was very good, why have we sold him? Was it about money?

    Also, is Cesc planned as a staged replacement of Iniesta??

  184. mickydidit89 says:

    For goodness sake do not be fooled by RA’s silky tones. For all we know, the man could be a cad and a bounder with moral compass of a french international footballer, which brings me nicely onto the Ribery story.
    Whoopee, I say. Conspiracy theorists will bring our attention to the timing, what with season ticket renewals lying in the wings, but I like it.

  185. Big Raddy says:

    Evonne. Agree entirely about Aviva. They do not give a damn about their customers.

  186. mickydidit89 says:

    Your 8:04am yesterday is my favourite comment of all time.

  187. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. You are a card!! As if the powers that be at AFC could be so mendacious or that RA is anything but a fine upstanding gentleman.

  188. mickydidit89 says:

    I am partial to the odd conspiracy theory me. As for RA, well, I for one have been on a blind date and found myself utterly deceived by the smoothe talker. I am merely trying to protect Evonne, not that she needs my help. I only say that it can be a long dark alley.

  189. Evonne says:

    Big Raddy – are we mates again? What Aviva did to my son is beyond belief; luckily he has the family to help him, other young men in his situation could have had their lives ruined by Aviva

    RA – are you really a fine upstanding gentleman? How disappoining 🙂

    Whose post is it today to look forward to?

  190. Evonne says:

    Micky – ha ha ha ha bloody ha 🙂

  191. mickydidit89 says:

    If its “naughty but nice” or even plain “bad”, then RA could be exactly the Man you are looking for.

  192. mickydidit89 says:

    Rightey ho,
    I am going to disappear now before RA arrives and whacks me over the head with a very long and heavy word.

  193. Evonne says:

    Micky – I am not looking for a man, defo!!

  194. Big Raddy says:

    Evonne.I have always been your mate (though not in the Biblical sense!).

    It sounds as though I have had the same difficulties as your son. I am too polite to say what I really think of them ….

    I have had the pleasure of writing today’s post, have just proof read it and am afraid it is a little dull after yesterday’s excitement!!

    And I thought Upstanding men were what all women look for 😉

  195. Evonne says:

    BR – ok, I am staying put to read your post, I am sure it is well worth it

  196. mickydidit89 says:

    “And I thought Upstanding men were what all women look for”. I am living proof that your comment is simply not true.
    Even if RA is around, all is well as I have me tin hat on.

  197. mickydidit89 says:

    Really off. Back in a few hours.

  198. Bob says:

    Wake up and smell the coffee author..! Fab will be gone next season for sure. In fact if he plays again I will be surprised (injured Fab not good for transfer value).

    I can’t blame him. It’s his boyhood club – they’re the best team in the world. He’s served Arsenal very well. Good luck to him. One thing’s sure though, Wenger won’t buy a replacement – he’ll use Ramsey and Wilshere.

  199. Gooner in Exile says:

    Morning all.

    Evonne – Diarra left as he couldn’t be patient and wait for his chance when Flamini had the shirt.

    As for Aviva (formerly Norwich Union) I could give you a dozen stories about why they are so crap and that is only from what I know being married to an ex employee.

    For example my wife received a nice redundancy package when they decided to move the Personal Injury team to India 2 years ago. (Very nice too it gave us funds to decorate the house we bought soon after) but we now hear that they are currently completing a feasibility study to bring the department back to Norwich.

    Anyone with half an understanding of PI would know that it requires dealing with a lot of solicitors and they don’t suffer fools.

    I would love to go in and show them how outdated their practices are. The first thing I would stop is employees paid for responsibility not loyalty. My wife was a manager of a team of which half earned more because they had been there for such a long time

  200. Big Raddy says:

    Is a Tin Hat some type of Cornish prophylactic?

  201. Gooner in Exile says:

    “* From June 8th all membership levels will now include unlimited access to Arsenal.com’s video platform, previously called Arsenal TV Online, via an exciting new console named Arsenal Player.”

    Small tonic for those upset at ticket price rise.

  202. Gooner in Exile says:

    Evonne – you asked whether Cesc would be Iniestas replacement I think at 28 he has a couple of years left, however Xavi at 31 is undoubtedly nearing end of being able to play their system.

    Interestingly given the ages of all three the appearances are revealing as to why Cesc may be struggling with injury so much.

    Iniesta – 359 (age 28)
    Cesc – 303 (age 25)

    And if you consider how many games missed this year it is in my opinion revealing.

  203. Rasp says:


    New post…….

  204. unfortunately I agree with premise!

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