Not Getting Enough Cesc?

There is a distinct possibility that Cesc Fabregas will leave Arsenal this summer.

Persistent rumours originating from people with ‘inside knowledge’ suggest that our Number Four may finally be on his way back to Barcelona.

Cynics will say the deal was done last year – that Arsène Wenger persuaded Cesc to stay for one more year by agreeing to let him join Barca for the 2011/12 season.

How does that make you feel?

Are you distraught at the idea of going without Cesc?

Or do you feel that the Cesc you’ve been having has lost its lustre and that, maybe, it’s time to look for something a bit more exciting elsewhere?

Well, let’s examine some statistics.

I have made this point before, but in his first four seasons with Arsenal Cesc was a fit and resilient young man who played almost all our games:

2004/5: Total appearances 46, including 33 (87%) in the EPL.

2005/6: Total appearances 50, including 35 (92%) in the EPL.

2006/7: Total appearances 54, including 38 (100%) in the EPL (yes, that’s right – every single EPL game, although four were as substitute).

2007/8: Total appearances 45, including 32 (84%) in the EPL.

Then something happened – and it’s a cautionary tale for Jack Wilshere.

Four EPL seasons of full-on football, coupled with international tournaments in the summer began to take their toll on his fitness. The player who had been almost ever-present started to become often-injured.

In 2008/9 his appearance record dropped to just 22 games (58%) in the EPL.

In 2009/10 he managed 27 EPL games (71%).

And this year?

Cesc has played in 25 games in the EPL, three of which were as substitute. That gives him an appearance percentage of 66%.

So – and apologies for doing the full Vorderman with all these numbers – in his first four seasons as a regular starter for Arsenal Cesc averaged an EPL appearance rate of 90.75%. Pretty much every time we stepped out for a Premiership game our little Spanish genius was on the pitch.

In the subsequent three seasons (including the present one) his rate has dropped right off to an average of 65%. In other words, he has missed more than a third of our EPL games in the past three years.

He is our captain and our best player. Can we really afford to have him absent for so many important games? Hard and wrenchful though it would be to see him go, might we not be better with star players who can turn out in most games?

Well, here’s another statistic that might give pause to the minority of Arsenal supporters who claim they would be happy to see Cesc depart this summer.

This season, in all competitions, our win percentage when Cesc started has been 62%.

In games where Cesc didn’t start, our win percentage was 46%.

That’s pretty clear: we win significantly more games when Cesc is on the team sheet. If he goes to Barca (or elsewhere) during the close season, Arsene Wenger is going to have to think long and hard about how he makes up for that loss in quality.

So there you have it.

On the one hand Cesc’s increasing susceptibility to injury might make his departure less damaging than it might seem; on the other, the fact that we are considerably more effective with him in the team should be a cause for real concern if he goes.


67 Responses to Not Getting Enough Cesc?

  1. silentstan says:

    sell. move nasri central

  2. chas says:

    Sell at the right price.
    It seems pointless keeping a player whose heart isn’t in it.

  3. 26may1989 says:

    Excellent piece Mr Rocky, and whoever chose the headline, well done, possibly the best we’ve had.

    The view of Cesc has swung from unquestioning idolatry, ignoring games where he disappeared, gave up possession in dangerous areas etc, to unstinting criticism, with attempts to see meaning in his body language and facial expressions.

    Personally, I think it’s somewhere in the middle. He got away with a lot before, and clearly has a level of vanity to go with his Number One Player status. But as Rocky’s stats bear out, Cesc is very important and we’re deluded if we think we can lose him without it affecting us.

    The question for me is: are Wilshere and Ramsey ready to be the fulcrum of the team? Probably not yet. As silentstan says, we could move Nasri central but he’s just not as good as Cesc, we’d still be trading down.

    So, if Cesc wants to stay (which he should in order to get to Barça at the right time), I’d like him to stay for another season. But if he wants to go, or his heart’s not in it, we need to bite the bullet now. But have no illusions, it would harm us.

  4. chas says:

    Morning Rocky (or middle of the night!)

    Thanks for the post. I think it’s lost its lustre and I’m looking elsewhere. 🙂

  5. irish gooner says:

    i think he is off,,nasri to go central , buy hazard and sakho with the cesc money,, get gokan inler and falcao with the rest of the cash..job done

  6. RL,
    A well thought out post and a subject that we have discussed many times before.I would like to add to the stats that he has only scored 3 goals this season.

    Is he disenchanted with the quality of players he has around him ? He certainly looks unhappy or disinterested or his mind is elsewhere .
    Barca as has been stated before still owe us about 12 million re the henry/Hleb deals and are asset rich but haven’t got sufficent cash to meet the valuation of our club.

    Undoubtedly two years of more of less consistant football has had its toll with three different hamstring injuries and he has admitted himself that he has played when not fully fit.
    So does the clb cash in on perhaps a lower value than they want or do they hold out for another year hoping cesc will have rested this summer and have a better season next time around only for him to leave at possibly a higher price than now.
    i would like to see him come out and make a statement of intent that he is staying, but I doubt that will happen.An unhappy player will not give his best and one can fuly understand a boy who left his home country would like to go back and win trophies with his home town club, and yet if he remains fit he still has a good 7/8 years left in top flight football.but wouldn’t automatically get into the present barca team at the moment.
    To replace him would be hard and whoever was brought in would have to be someone special and how many players are ther that a) we can afford b) are available .

    My understanding is that he wants away yet the whole situation is rather complex and not beneficial to either Cesc or the club at the moment.

  7. GunFrogg says:

    Nasri can never be playmaker. He is not willing to be and he does not have the mentality for that. He seeks goals and he is not altruistic enough. If Fabregas leaves to Barça, sell Nasri to Inter and buy Hazard and Sneijder. Hazard is perfect to replace Nasri and he can also be playmaker to back up Sneijder. And get Miyaichi in the team.

  8. TEST says:

    Nasri don’t have the vision Cesc has, hence he cannot play central

  9. chas says:

    Nasri plays centrally for France and looks good there.

  10. Red Arse says:

    Well done Rocky, 🙂

    Yet another ace piece of writing!

    Cesc is far and away our best player, with class, creativity and guts!
    [I will not brook any ‘nos, buts’ ifs or maybes’ about that].

    It is true that for two or three seasons he has been both frequently injured and clearly unhappy at not being able to re-join his cultural home .. Barca.

    If the sale price is met he should be allowed to leave.

    Will this be to our detriment as a club? Of course it will, but life goes on and we need to adapt and move on.
    Eventually we will have a new hero …. it justs won’t be easy to replace him!

  11. Red Arse says:


    Your poetry, yesterday, was very good and it certainly mollified your undoubted melancholia about Arsenal and Arsene.

    Keep it up! 🙂

  12. Harry says:

    Excellent Monsieur Rocky, Its simple for me, I want a committed Cesc to Stay, statistics speak volumes, although we can play well without him, United at home proved that and there is life after any player…..

    The only thing is I dont wenger to be flaffing about with Cesc and lose Nasri…..It is imperative that one stays, with Jack and Aaron not quite ready to shoulder all of the responsibility…..

    Nasri is the one player in the world who can actually replace Cesc….

  13. Mickeyk says:

    I hope he does go we don’t need him .I just hope we spend the money I’m fed up with it arsenal will sell it’s Just getting the right money.
    We’ve got to buy a forward benzma or what ever he’s name is from Madrid .good luck to the arsenal ladies in the fa cup final today.I’ve also got a question for you .who is the bigger club arsenal or Chelsea and why.

  14. Norf Londoner says:

    I agree, it’s quite easy to say Cesc’s heart hasn’t been in it this season but people seem to also ignore the fact that he’s knackered. He didn’t have a proper pre-season like a lot of the other players. In fact he was away having the biggest summer of his career winning the world cup. Understandable if he’s not been 100% fit when playing at times. He wants to play however he feels, but if he’s put in below par performances cos he’s not been totally fit then you have to blame Wenger for not being strong enough to tell him he’s not in the team, he needs to recover properly.

  15. Harry says:


    Larger and more sustained attendances….
    More trophies actually linked to a long history…..

    Its not even open for discussion, is it really? There is only one answer…….

  16. Gavin says:

    Keep at all costs. Its no coincidence that Cesc has not had a summer off since 2007, he is worn out and need’s a couple of months on a beach somewhere to regain his full fitness . If that happens I can see him having an amazing season and hopefully in the red and white of Arsenal.

  17. Gooner in Exile says:

    Great post Rocky, should be plenty of debate but I fear the English sun will keep most away.

    Interesting point Norf Londoner re Wenger being stronger, but players kid managers about their fitness all the time to play in big games, look at Huth and Etherington in the FA Cup final, clearly neither were fully fit.

    Cesc and to an extent RvP pulled the wool over the managers eyes to play in the Nou Camp. That was why Bergkamp was so special, he wouldn’t play if he didn’t feel he was 100% he knew it would cost the team and him in the future.

    I take issue with Cesc over comments about Denilson giving away a schoolboy penalty when he himself committed a similar error against Barca with that [god knows what he was thinking] back heel. The captain must lead by example and if he is going to openly criticise he can’t fall foul of the same criticisms at a later date.

    Also another point in the comments is that he has only contributed 3 goals this season (in the PL) and only 5 goals from open play in all competitions which is not a good return compared to previous years.

    But to those wondering if his creativity it is still at the very top, up until 23 February this year Opta had him listed as the most creative player in Europe creating one chance every 29 minutes from open play. We need that kind of vision and ability in order to break down the park the bus teams, but we need to be ruthless in front of goal along with it, my biggest fear that in with a top goalscorer he would set the footballing world alight.

    What do I want this summer? Everyone to stay, if we are going to lose anyone it should be some of the older squad players. But we must must must sign a goalscorer, plain and simple, I don’t care if that player offers anything else but goals.

    One spearheading striker with RvP, Nasri and Cesc supporting him would be devastating.

  18. RockyLives says:

    I can’t work out what I think about the Cesc dilemma.

    He is without doubt one of the most gifted players ever to play for Arsenal, but I have issues with his consistency. He has a certain proportion of games every season where his touch and vision are way off and he really struggles.

    But then when he finds his form again he can destroy anyone. And as the win ration stats for this season show, we are much more successful with Cesc than without him.

  19. 26may1989 says:

    1-0 to Arsenal in the Women’s FA Cup Final (fab goal from Kim Little) and we’re completely dominating possession so far. It’s on Sky Sports 1 if you want to watch it.

    Chelsea are the bigger club. Bigger than West Ham that is. Smaller than Spurs and way smaller than us. Seven years of stolen Russian millions and bought trophies doesn’t change more than a hundred years of history. Why else did the Chavs have to ditch the idea of a 60,000 seat stadium?

  20. kelsey says:

    second goal wasn’t bad either, take note clichy (for crossing) and bendtner (for heading)

  21. Cesc’s recent comments suggest he’ll stay to bring back glory to Arsenal. Not sure he can do it sitting on the Barca bench, huh?

  22. Neamman says:

    The Cesc of tis year isnt worth 60 Million, lets hope he comes back next year rested and his old self. we certainly missed him.
    If he goes.. we will survive.. but I think he will stay as it appears we are finally going to spend something on older players, and I do think we are only 1-2 players and a defensive coach away from dominating!

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Great post, RockyL.

    In the system/style of footie that we play, Cesc is priceless. He is the conductor, the mastermind, the architect-in-operation, or as IrishG puts it so beautifully, the ‘creative hub’, in the creative-attacking machine of TotalArsenal. Without him, we will have to adjust our style (look at MU with two raw farmers in central midfield…). Jack could replace him eventually but not yet next season: it would just be too much pressure. 4-4-2 would almost become inevitable with RVP in the hole, and Song/new recruit with either Wilshire or Rambo next to him in the centre of midfield.

    It is somewhat logical Cesc did not have a great season this year, after so many years playing at top level with very little rest. A long summer break will do him good, no doubt about. Wherever he plays next season, he will be awesome again.

    Wenger made him captain and it has become clear that he was/is not ready for that. He wants/needs to see more experienced players around him to make him feel that he does not have to carry all responsibility on his own shoulders (the only fragile part of his body). He seemed very keen on Alonso joining him a few years ago which could have made a big difference, but as we know that did not happen.

    Cesc is probably going, but maybe, maybe, Wenger will convince him to stay another year with the promise of the acquisition of a good CB (£12k-15k), and an experienced midfielder (age 30+ is fine as long as he is world class £15k), and a class winger (£15k). Total cost = £45k, sell a few to the value of £15k (so net spending of £30k), and Cesc might believe in it again, and so would we.

    If only it was that simple haha.

  24. Gooner in Exile says:

    TA I’m sure you mean m not k, unless we really are worried about spending money 😀

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Well spotted GiE! At least I made the same mistake consistantly throughout.

  26. Evonne says:

    Rocky – I couldn’t agree with you more. I watched and admired Francesc since he was 16; I’d had seen him going from strength to strength, growing up as a man and a outstanding professional. He has bad moments, don’t we all? The question for me is, does he make up with his brilliance for the average performances? And the answer is YES he does. I want him to stay, forever, but have a gut feeling that he won’t. I don’t think we have players to fill the void he’d leave

  27. Evonne says:

    Red Arse – witam, co slychac? Osobiscie nie lubie poezji, ale wiersze o Arsenalu sa fajne! Ciagle sie zastanawiamy z Brzoskwiniami ile masz lat? Nikt nic o Tobie nie wie….tajemniczy Pan

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Evonne, never mind double Dutch, this is quadruple Polish!

  29. Gooner in Exile says:

    TA, Evonne zadaje pytania prywatnych Red Arse

  30. Gooner in Exile says:

    Actually TA for you in Dutch

    Evonne stelt vragen van particuliere Red Arse

    God I love Google Translate!

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers GiE, it is not perfect Dutch, but I somehow get the picture. RA is special.

  32. Gooner in Exile says:

    TA I translated from Polish to Dutch so the meaning is probably lost in translation somewhere!

    For Song fans or for a bit of an insight this BBC interview is well worth the watch

  33. goonermichael says:


  34. Mein fater fahrt ein fahtrat.

  35. chas says:

    моя собака не имеет никакой нос, как оно пахнет?

  36. mickydidit89 says:

    Rocky, just the debate we need. Excellent stuff.
    For me a very interesting choice of words here: “we’d still be trading down”. I know this was in the context of Nasri moving central, however my opinion rather depends on what the current transfer budget is. My point being, that if keeping Cesc means more young hopefulls then I am in the selling camp. I have a horrible feeling we are looking at early burn out. As for Rocky’s well put together stats, I am not so sure the win percentage with him playing is quite so convincing in that, for me, part of the reason we play less effectively without him is that Arsene does not play to our strengths in his absence. Don’t get me wrong, I want him to stay. As GiE cleverly points out with his stat, Cesc is the best creator in Europe.
    Cesc staying with three high quality reinforcements is the dream.

  37. mickydidit89 says:

    Bloody Nora,
    Where is the translate switch?

  38. mickydidit89 says:

    Actually, I am not in the mood to talk serious stuff. Sorry. Ignore that comment.

  39. London says:

    I vote we double his wage in exchange for him signing a ten year extension to his contract.

    Good post Rocky.

  40. SharkeySureLives!!! says:

    Triffic’ post Rocky

    For me Cesc is simply as good as it gets as a creative midfielder. His sped of thought, his vision nd his ability to execute the most difficult of passes in the blink of an eye, and in such an almost effortless fashion is like nothing I have ever seen.

    The joy of Cesc (!!) is that he makes what he does look like we should all be able to do it !!

    There’s very few few flashy turns, or intricate stepovers, its just football basics of pass move receive. Its absolutely incredible how he does it all in his own time, at his own pace, treating oppo midelders as a minor irritant who occasionaly foul him. He is almost impossible to stop by fair means.

    My only surprise from the post, is that its only the one chance created every 29 mins. This is the guy who gave AdeNuff a 30 goal season. Thats just behind walking on water in terms of fantastic achievements.

    Having said all of that, we are The Arsenal, no one man’s departure can seriously harm this great club.


  41. mickydidit89 says:

    My mood has lightened.
    On a very gloomy note, I just visited the smallest room in the house, hoping to enjoy a few quiet moments with my new copy of Writing Poetry For Beginners and to my horror found a copy of Horse and Hound. There is about to be an almighty rumble between myself and the female population of this house.

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    Nite all.

  43. Evonne says:

    Chas – I didn’t know you had a dog 🙂

    GiE – ha ha ha, polish to dutch 🙂 What would we do without our PCs 🙂

    GiE – question for you – which footballer’s affairs were revealed on Twitter? Was it Becks?

  44. 26may1989 says:

    Horse and Hound: Micky, I’d no idea you’re that sort of guy. I’ll look at you in a new light from now on.

  45. Gooner in Exile says:

    I can’t say Evonne as I wouldn’t want to get us sued.

    But he plays for Man U presently. Has a hairy chest, played for England schoolboys but didn’t play for the full international side.

    What makes me laugh is the superinjunction is now irrelevant as “a premier league player” is suing Twitter for breach of the injunction, the only player mentioned has been him and therefore anyone who is on Twitter now knows it’s true and it is the aforedescribed player. Therefore by suing he has effectively broken the superinjunction himself and the red tops should just print his name. Afterall surely there is not a superinjunction on the legal action against Twitter.

    I don’t know why celebrities bother why don’t they take the Wenger route….how quickly did that die down?

  46. goonermichael says:

    [One of the most important summers of my time at Arsenal?] Yes, I think so, we had a few important ones but this will certainly be a big one, on all fronts.

    Let’s hope so

  47. goonermichael says:

    Wenger is separated from his wife so he hadn’t cheated on anyone. The welshman acts like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth though(model professional and all that).

  48. goonermichael says:

    Cesc Fabregas bid from Barca ‘to give Arsenal free choice of player swap’

    Read more:

    There’s a post in there

  49. Gooner in Exile says:

    I did not say he was Welsh GM 😉

  50. Evonne says:

    GiE – hairy chest??? That won’t be Scholes than 🙂

    GM – yep, I thought R was a model citizen and his only offence was to play for the Mancs

    I also have an idea for a post – let’s dig out some of the speculations from previous summers and analyse which ones were correct. I am of course only suggesting the post, couldn’t possibly do it myself 🙂 but I am willing to help

  51. Evonne says:

    A reliable source (Peaches) told me yesterday that AW and his ex-wife Annie separated long before the alleged affair with the singer. AW innocent, Red Arse guilty.

  52. Gooner in Exile says:

    That’s a good idea on the never came off.

    Went to dinner with my Brother last night who seems to believe everything he reads on the web:
    Jagielka is a done deal
    Samba coming in too
    Benzema and Riberry to also arrive
    And on and on and on……

    He also thought the qualitying round of CL was unseeded but on here we seem to think it is seeded? I seem to remember last year it wasn’t have they changed back?

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    Please don’t come on here and rub it in with all your “Ooo its yet another lovely sunny day” stuff. Thanks.

  54. mickydidit89 says:

    Its the horse bit that really bothers me as I could just about live with the hound element. More of a cat man me.
    Well done to AFC Wimbledon.

  55. Evonne says:

    Please, not Jagielka, enough plastic Polaks in the team!

  56. mickydidit89 says:

    About the Giggs story. How can they possibly hope to censor a gossip site. Surely that’s just like stopping people gassing down the boozer. Over to you Legal Eagles.

  57. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning Evonne,
    Although I have to go now.

  58. Evonne says:

    Micky – don’t go, baby don’t go

  59. Evonne – did you find the translator yet?

  60. goonermichael says:

    he manages real madrid Peaches

  61. Morning gm 🙂

  62. goonermichael says:

    Morning Peaches 🙂

  63. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied
    on the video to make your point. You clearly know what
    youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your
    site when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  64. Bernie sanders for president t shirt

    blog topic

  65. pokerv says:


    blog topic

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