Cesc: “Only Arsenal for me”

September 22, 2018

Just as Aaron Ramsey’s contract runs out at the end of this season, Cesc Fabregas’ contract at Chelsea does, too. Now aged 31, would you take Cesc back at The Home of Football? Some have even suggested recently that they might prefer Cesc to Aaron.

Rocky wrote this in May 2013 amid speculation that Cesc might join the Moyes revolution at Old Trafford and it turned out to be the most, or one of the most, popular AA posts of all time. Easy to see why, cheers Rocky. 

We are used to reading rubbish in the silly season, but one story this summer really takes the biscuit.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to guffaw over my cornflakes when I read the “Fabregas to Manchester United” stories that are doing the rounds.

At this time of year most transfer-related stories smell of fabrication and are written purely to fill column inches or garner online hits. But even in such company, the Cesc-to-Manchester-United fantasy really does stink the place out.

Before I explain why, let’s just remind ourselves of this quote from Cesc himself, shortly after he departed for Barcelona: “Apart from Arsenal and Barcelona, I don’t see myself playing anywhere else. I will definitely be going back (to Arsenal) whenever I have time to watch games and to see the guys… and if there is one place to go back to (to play), it is Arsenal for sure.”

Cesc was abundantly clear then that he would only return to the Premier League if it was to play for Arsenal.

Of course you might say (and with some justification): “Why should we believe the words of footballers? They are always quick to spout loyalty to a club then equally quick to demonstrate loyalty only to their wallet.”

It was about 18 months ago when Cesc gave the interview from which I have quoted and yes, it’s possible he could have changed his mind since then.

But – unlike Brave Sir Robin and the Fat French Benchwarmer – he is not a player known to be driven by greed (he even took a pay cut to join Barcelona).

However, there are other good reasons why Cesc to ManUre will never happen:

Firstly, why would a world class player join a club that is quite clearly at the high point of its “arc of success” and is about to start slipping down the far side?

United have been good enough to run away with the English Premier League this year, but no-one believes they are a great team. Meanwhile, in Europe, they have fallen even further behind the Continent’s powerhouses than they were when humiliated by Barcelona in the CL final in 2011.

Most perceptive observers believe that United over-achieved in the season just past and were helped by mismanagement and upheaval at Manchester City and Chelsea.

Secondly, one of the reasons for a top player joining United has long been the draw of old Mr Scarlet Proboscis himself: Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson (you didn’t know his parents gave him a middle name honouring a great Arsenal manager, did you?).

But Cyrano de Fergerac is no fool. He will always have wanted to bow out a champion and not a loser.

Having won the title this year, he undoubtedly surveyed the medium term prospects for his club and his playing staff and did not like what he saw.

He knows that, with their current squad, United will face a real struggle to hold on to their title next year and he also knows that without spending a hundred million pounds or more (which United cannot afford) they have no chance of competing with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Quite sensibly, he celebrated the title win and exited stage left.

So now any superstar thinking of joining the red half of Manchester has to consider the fact that they will be playing not for the most decorated and successful EPL manager of the last half century. Instead they will be lining up under some bloke from The Simpsons.

The idea of Cesc Fabregas agreeing to play under David Moyes is simply laughable.

Thirdly, if Cesc does want to return to the EPL and if, for some reason, he reneges on his assurance that he would return only to Arsenal, his destination is far more likely to be Manchester City than Manchester United.

The Northern Oilers are likely to be entering the new season under the stewardship of the highly respected Manuel Pellegrini – a much more attractive proposition for international stars than David Moyes. And, of course, for City money is not an issue.

Finally, it was widely reported that we have first option on Cesc if he wants to leave Barca. Do you really think we would not snap him up again given the chance?

So, having (I hope) properly put to bed all the nonsense about Cesc-to-United, there is one Huddlestone in the Room that needs addressing: would we – the supporters – want Cesc to return to The Home of Football and step out again in the colours of the mighty Arsenal?

I have seen comments in Arsenal Arsenal recently with differing views on the subject.

For me it’s a no-brainer. Cesc Fabregas is one of the greatest footballers ever to have played for us. If we can get him back he can only improve us. And his return at a time when we are leaving the period of austerity (during which, let’s remember, he was instrumental in helping keep us even vaguely competitive while the club spent NOTHING on net transfers) and about to enter a new era of competitiveness could be the spark that really pushes us to domestic and European glory.

Do you agree?

Written by RockyLives

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Why has it been so easy to say Goodbye to Sanchez?

March 14, 2018

Usually when one of our ‘star’ players leaves, it is painful to see them in another team’s strip. I’ve felt none of that angst when watching Sanchez play for the red mancs. Why?

Is it because he’s only scored one goal since moving?

Could it be that we knew he wanted to go to City and collect a Prem winners medal but had to accept the far less appealing move to a lesser team but for more money?

Or because he seems to have upset the balance of United’s side while stopping Martial and Rashford from playing in their best positions?

Maybe his need to constantly be the centre of attention by dropping into midfield and coming deep has ended up disrupting the mancs’ midfield?

Seeing the exasperated look on Maureen’s face is bound to soften the blow of the Chilean’s departure from North London.

The dog banner at the Emirates was all well and good in the Club’s attempts to make him feel wanted, but now that he’s gone, his canine obsession made so public seems a bit noncey.

Looking at it from the other angle, how has his move benefitted Arsenal FC?

Well, getting Micki in exchange seems a huge positive, as the boy looks an Arsenal player and his signing, I believe,  was also a key ingredient in the introduction of the next positive – Aubameyang.

Auba has been finding his feet since late January and the ridiculous Uefa ruling on his participation in the Europa Cup hasn’t helped. However three goals and the positive effect of being reunited with Mkhitaryan are plain to see. Next season could be good.

Reports of the dislike for Sanchez in the dressing room means that his leaving may have lifted the mood of the Arsenal players (though some of our recent results appear to belie that notion).  One thing’s for certain, the disruption caused by him not signing a contract extension needed to be ended (perhaps getting rid last summer would have been perfect but not being able to sign his replacement in Lemar from Monaco was a factor).

Maybe, it being relatively easy seeing Sanchez in a Chevrolet shirt, is down to the simple fact that we no longer invest emotionally in players because we know they are mercenaries, simply selling their services to the highest bidder?

What do you think? Maybe you’re still suffering the loss of your favourite player?

chas

 


The November Curse – Real or Imaginary?

November 4, 2016

It now seems to be accepted fact that November is always a bogey month for Arsenal.

A calamitous November last season is still fresh in the memory. In the League we started with a drab 1-1 with the N17 miscreants. This was followed by a 2-1 away defeat to the Baggies (they had 1 shot on target); Le Coq was injured early on and Arteta, his replacement, put the ball in his own net before being replaced himself. Santi missed a penalty after some spot-tampering by Olsson. What could go wrong, did go wrong.

The final League game of November 2015 was a 1-1 draw with Norwich in which Santi was injured early in the 2nd half but played the whole game for some strange reason (causing him to miss most of the season) and Alexis was withdrawn with a hamstring after being shoved into a camera dug-out!

In the Champions League, the month had started with a 5-1 battering from Bayern with the only consolation, a 3-0 win over a poor Zagreb side.

alexis-dugout

On the basis of that evidence, it certainly seems as though November is cursed for us, but I wondered just how bad it had been over the past 10 years, so decided to take a gander.

The snapshot below shows both Prem and CL games won, lost and drawn and also details of any fixtures played against our next two League opponents. The bottom row shows our win, draw and loss percentages over the last 10 Novembers.

november

Arsene Wenger’s overall percentages are 57.5% wins, 23.2% draws and 19.3% losses. (Based on 1,136 total games including 653 victories, 264 draws and 219 defeats)

It immediately becomes clear that, in the League particularly, there is an 18% increase in defeats compared to the average. That is huge. In the Champions League the defeat percentage is about average and an increase in draws maybe due to the nature of the CL group stages.

What could be the cause of such a large anomaly in the League?

Injuries? Possibly.

An increase in snood and glove–wearing nambypambyism caused by colder weather? Doubtful.

Excrement happens? Maybe so, but why always in the same period of the season?

Has anyone got any theories?

On a more positive note, November has had some highlights and in some seasons has even been pretty good.

November 2008 saw us beating our November nemesis, the mancs, 2-1. This victory was easier than it sounds. Two goals by the FFBW, one a belter from a snake-like pass from Fabregas, were followed by the mancs getting a late consolation.

November 2012 included the second glorious 5-2 (in one calendar year) against the spuddies. Adebayor, both put them in the lead and then, in true secret agent style, revealed his Arsenal roots and deliberately got sent off a few minutes later.

November 2013 saw us win 3 of our 4 Prem games. A 2-0 win over Liverpool, including a stonker from Rambo, one of the highlights. We also won 2 out of 2 Champions League games that month; one of which, a 1-0 away win in Dortmund, is fondly remembered by two of our AAers and their Ford Focus.

rambodippers

November 2016 started with a fine, hard-fought CL win on Tuesday capped with a goal of rare beauty from our German maestro. Hopefully we can continue to build a head of steam with the NLD on Sunday and our visit to the Old Cowshed the following weekend.

The next two fixtures probably won’t make or break Arsenal’s season, but they could certainly go a long way to breaking the ‘bogey November’ idea and launch us forward into a successful winter.

We’ve recently broken the Swansea hoodoo, let’s continue with this theme and banish another skeleton from our closet.

Written by chas


Cheating Costa to get his Comeuppance?

September 24, 2016

What would we do without the comedy villain? In the past it has been Shearer, then Sheringham, Van Nistelrooy or Keane, Shawcross etc. I guess it has always been such as we construct our narrative about our favourite game. Chelsea are unusual insomuch  as they have two.

And we all know who we want to get a good shoeing and a red card this afternoon.

Diego Costa is a player whom I would love to see in the red and white of Arsenal, he is a horrible but efficient, destructive player. I suspect that off pitch he is a really good bloke but on-pitch he changes. We do not have anyone like him and perhaps we are the lesser team because of our “niceness”. Perhaps Xhaka will change this.

Of course ,the other villain is the ageing and possibly missing JT . Be honest – if he had been in the Arsenal shirt and under the tutelage of Mr. Wenger for the last 15 years we could have been a legend; instead Terry is a boor.

Unknown.jpeg

We need to win today, we need to beat Chelsea and get this monkey off the back. Me-rinho has gone but we still haven’t beaten them in too long, much too long.

Let’s be clear, whatever they do Chelsea will always be in our shadow. Arsenal are the biggest club in London and no amount of illicit money will change that. Yes, they have won more silverware in the past 10 years than we have but so what? We have history, Chelsea have Russian money.

I still admire Fabregas. Bear with me, this is a man who desperately wanted to return to his home club in Barcelona, got binned and saw the error of his ways. He wanted to re-sign for Arsenal but Mr Wenger decided we  had better, it wasn’t Cesc’s fault that we signed Ozil and Cazorla. Why castigate the poor chap who has to pull on that repulsive Blue shirt? Isn’t that enough punishment? Imagine the pain every time he has to walk into the dressing room. I think the chap deserves our sympathy not our dislike.

We go into the game on a strong run of results and must be confident. The Alexis experiment is likely to continue and I expect AW to pick the same team which won at Hull

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Mustafa    Koscielny    Monreal

Cazorla   Coquelin    Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez    Ozil

One of the most interesting aspects of today’s game will be how Mustafi copes with the aggression of Costa, let us hope he can control himself better than Gabriel!

Also, how will Hazard play? If he is on-song the man is a potent weapon and will certainly stretch our defence.

It should be a cracking game, especially if Chelsea  and Conte choose to attack.

I see no reason why we cannot win against a team who, quite frankly, have besmirched our wonderful sport since the days of the execrable criminal Ken Bates. We are the men in the white hats waiting for the outlaws to arrive. let’s give them a thrashing and send them home crying.

Let it be so

COYRRG


Fabregas: Did Wenger make a mistake?

June 20, 2016

I know we have done this to death a couple of seasons ago with the general consensus being that he is “dead to us” but ….  during the Euros, is Fabregas showing us what we have lost?

Let’s compare is work with Aaron Ramsey.  Fabregas controls the pace of the team through his positioning and passes, Ramsey doesn’t. I realise they are not the same type of player but they do play in the same position and carry the same responsibilities. Which player has more influence? Sadly, you know the answer.

Or was it Little Jack Wilshere  (see, I can spell kelsey) who was the player whom AW thought would be better than Fab? Surely not. JW is a little magician but he is simply not in the same class as Cesc.

Or Ozil, though they are very different players and operate in different areas of the pitch. Imagine the two of them orchestrating the Arsenal team – would we have fared better over the past 2 seasons?

My guess is that it was Cazorla whom Mr Wenger thought was a better choice than Fabregas, in this he is mistaken. Cazorla is  undoubtedly a wonderful player however Del Bosque,who knows both players well, chooses Cesc every time.

Spain have been the best attacking team in the Euro’s and Fabregas is an integral part of their midfield. Had we re-signed Cesc he would have combined wonderfully with Cazorla and made us a better team.

Mr Wenger made his decision and Cesc was forced to sign for a morally bankrupt club guiding them to the title in his first season

BUT ….

The Euro’s have also given us our first view of Mr Wenger’s next Arsenal playmaker, Granit Xhaka. Xhaka’s stats are impressive, very impressive. The way he controls the tempo and direction of play from a defensive position is reminiscent of the Great Man, PV4. Only Pogba in the modern game holds a candle to Vieiera but nonetheless Xhaka in combination with Santi, Ramsey, Wilshere, Elneny, Ox or Coquelin could be a winning midfield.

Cesc was the past and in my opinion should have been the present but Xhaka is the future and the future is looking bright (assuming we buy an extraordinarily expensive striker)

written by Big Raddy


Should Arsenal be flying Fabregas’ flag when we play Chelsea?

April 24, 2015

There is a poster on display on the bridge at The Emirates depicting former Arsenal player Cesc Fabregas.

Cf

It is part of the “Arsenal Greats” gallery which includes such luminaries as Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp and Charlie George, all players who showed a lasting loyalty to our club, why is there then a picture of a former Arsenal captain who deserted the club supposedly to complete his boyhood dream of playing for his beloved Barcelona?

It seems that when his dream move turned sour he couldn’t resist the lure of the wheelbarrow loads of Abramovich roubles on offer down the Fulham Road.

Does Fabregas really deserve to lauded alongside those true Arsenal Greats listed above?

With the imminent visit of the Chavs, and Fabregas, why is the poster still on display?

Should it be removed prior to Sunday’s game? I say Yes!!

Have your say and vote ……

Written by Norfolk Gooner


Is Cazorla better than Fabregas?

February 24, 2015

It is pointless to write long paragraphs about the two best Spanish midfielders Arsenal fans were lucky to claim as their own. This comparison has been made many times before and at times Arsenal fans were accused of trying to justify not resigning Cesc. 

Admittedly there is a grain of truth in that, Cesc has never been replaced and only too often the gaping hole in the middle of the field was only too obvious.

Cazorla has hit top form this season and we won all the games he orchestrated. 

Santi is a match winner and a great free kick taker – someone badly needed in our squad for a long time.

His presence has been immense, but the same can be said about Fabregas’s at Chelsea.

Fabregas relies on the team being build around him, whereas Cazorla blends in with the team.

The list of differences is long, but do the similarities end on the physical attributes of these 2 short Spanish midfielders?

Stats below are from whoscored.com. 

 

Santi Cazorla:

Tournament

Apps

Mins

Goals

Assists

Yel

Red

SpG

PS%

AerialsWon

MotM

Rating

Premier League

21(3)

1930

6

6

4

2.6

88

0.1

4

7.65

UEFA Champions League

4(1)

388

2

1.8

83.5

0.2

7.36

FA Cup

2

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

League Cup

0(1)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total / Average

29

2318

6

8

4

0

2.4

87.2

0.1

4

7.60

 

Cesc Fabregas:

Tournament

Apps

Mins

Goals

Assists

Yel

Red

SpG

PS%

AerialsWon

MotM

Rating

Premier League

21(1)

1871

2

15

8

1.4

86.9

0.7

2

7.83

UEFA Champions League

7

574

2

3

2

0.7

86.6

0.6

7.80

FA Cup

0(1)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total / Average

29

2445

4

18

10

0

1.2

86.8

0.7

2

7.82

SpG: Shots per game

PS%: Pass success percentage

MotM: Man of the match

 

Discuss!

 

PS  Although my gravatar is a photo of Santi, whom I adore I have to admit to still having Cesc’s photo on the wall, I find it hard to part with it

written by Eddie