Tagged: Cesc Fabregas

Will Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas Be Latest to Wreck Antonio Conte’s 4-4-2 Dreams? | Bleacher Report

Will Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas Be Latest to Wreck Antonio Conte’s 4-4-2 Dreams? | Bleacher Report

I think Fabregas might not be in Conte’s plans even without 4-4-2 given his lack of defensive skills. Alternatively,  he could see him as the player to replicate Pirlo in a 3-man at the back system which would just require strengthening and adding depth to central defense. Who knows. I can’t say I saw Conte’s preference for 4-4-2 too much during his Juventus times but who knows. The rumours about his willingness to sell Courtois is just silliness. He should know how much a quality keeper can help and Courtois is far away from his prime.

What on earth has happened to Cesc Fabregas? | FourFourTwo

What on earth has happened to Cesc Fabregas? | FourFourTwo

So when Cesc, and all of Chelsea, pick back up their form do we say our mea culpas?

I’m not totally in agreement that Cesc can’t play as one of the two in a pivot. I still go back to his earlier days at Arsenal when he was beside the likes of Gilberto Silva, and a good Mathieu Flamini as well as others. He does have his weaknesses there but he can be a very good player there for Chelsea. As shown last season. Maybe Oscar can play there instead and Cesc play as the NO. 10. I still think its just a really poor run of form for him. Guess we’ll see.

Player Focus: Busy Fabregas Failing to Bring Balance to Chelsea Midfield

Player Focus: Busy Fabregas Failing to Bring Balance to Chelsea Midfield.

Just two games in. Chelsea were fine last season with Fabregas where he is until he and everybody else tailed off. He looked more energetic against Manchester City but I think he is still very rusty, just like the entire squad. He’s not the greatest at positioning himself defensively but then that’s not what he’s there for. That’s why many were expecting him to be further forward and Ramires beside Matic.  I think Mourinho just got his tactics wrong against City. (Sidenote: Why am I, as an Arsenal fan, still looking to defend Fabregas)

5 Superstars Who Must Step Up in EPL Week 2 – RantSports

5 Superstars Who Must Step Up in EPL Week 2 – RantSports.

My piece for RantSports on Superstars who need to do better.
Mesut Ozil
Getty Images

Premier League action started last weekend and a few superstars didn’t perform as expected. Players like Mesut Ozil and Wayne Rooney failed to fully fire for their sides which led to some interesting results. With every game battle, these superstars are needed to make the difference. Here are five superstars who must step up for their sides in EPL Week 2.

5. Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas
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Cesc Fabregas still seemed to be shaking off some rust as he went into the first game of the season. Gone was the creative passing that his teammates, especially Diego Costa, needed to get chances. He also failed to help his side control the game and was hooked in the second half. A big test against Manchester City is up next, and he’ll have to do much better if his side is to pick up all three points.

4. Diego Costa

Diego Costa
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Diego Costa may always try to battle and be a nuisance for defenders, but sometimes that can detract from why he’s on the pitch for Chelsea. Costa may have been a difference maker for Chelsea last season, but he’s a known entity now and needs to continue to score goals this season. He failed to have that impact against Swansea, and but his goals will certainly be needed against Manchester City.

3. Petr Cech

Petr Cech
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Petr Cech’s official start to life at Arsenal was a nightmare. Hailed as the missing piece to the Gunners’ title bid, the Arsenal No. 33 was at fault for both goals. In a performance unlike his usual commanding self, Cech punched thin air to allow West Ham a free header from a set-piece and was wrong-footed by what should’ve been an easy save from a long-range shot. His defense didn’t help with the second goal, but you expect better from Cech.

2. Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil
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Mesut Ozil probably spent most of this week hearing about his lackluster performance against a 16-year-old in midfield. Ozil looked set to finally answer all his critics after a solid preseason but fell flat on his face. The German attacking midfielder failed to get into the game, and Arsenal’s attacking threat was limited as a result. He too will need to do much better against Crystal Palace.

1. Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney
Getty Images

Criticism of Wayne Rooney may seem a bit harsh as one could argue that he didn’t get the service he required against Tottenham. Still, his job is to put the ball in the net and he failed to do that in the game. The own goal may have come while he was about to pull the trigger, but if luck had been on Kyle Walker’s side we’d be focused on his slow actions in the box as opposed to Walker’s luck. Ultimately, the Manchester United captain did little.

Cesc education: Why Fabregas slumps at this time every year | FourFourTwo

Cesc education: Why Fabregas slumps at this time every year | FourFourTwo.

I touched on this at the beginning of the year with the Aspirer, and looked at it again recently on the Aspirer as well. Not sure why I’m still interested in Cesc at all.

Will Cesc Fabregas Prove He’s Capable of Performing When It Matters this Season? – The Aspirer

Will Cesc Fabregas Prove He’s Capable of Performing When It Matters this Season? – The Aspirer.

My piece on Cesc Fabregas and his second-half season syndrome for the Aspirer.

Why Jose Mourinho’s Summer Transfer Deals Prove the Chelsea Manager’s Genius | Bleacher Report

Why Jose Mourinho’s Summer Transfer Deals Prove the Chelsea Manager’s Genius | Bleacher Report.

A bit late on this one but the title speaks for itself. The Chelsea juggernaut rolls on and Diego Costa bagged another important goal for the Blues over the weekend. May not like Jose Mourinho but you have to respect him.

Looks like we are in for another long Arsenal Summer

I haven’t written about anything Arsenal-related as much as I’d like but there hasn’t been much to feed on so far besides a constant barrage of ridiculous transfer rumours. And then there’s that thing about Cesc Fabregas which we won’t mention again.


There’s still two months left in the summer, and anything could happen, but it looks like another long wait for some official news. I’ll only take anything from Arsenal.com as reality on new signings.

What was my dream for Arsenal’s activity so far? Well, anything  really. The incident surrounding “he who shall not be named” is a prime example of a missed opportunity, not to mention the situation with Carlos Vela, and for all the rumours so far it seems unlikely that anybody will sign before the World Cup ends.

I, for one, would have loved to see Carlos Vela back in an Arsenal shirt. Will we use the extra money to sign someone useful?

I, for one, would have loved to see Carlos Vela back in an Arsenal shirt. Will we use the extra money to sign someone useful?

Arsene Wenger certainly felt that would be the case and while he’s somewhat right in that a lot of big teams haven’t made moves, there’s still been some activity from the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City. Some of those moves involved players involved in the World Cup.

As has been the case for the past few summers, Arsenal’s rivals have already gotten the jump on strengthening key areas of the squad, while Arsene Wenger’s been on honeymoon holiday with the FA Cup trophy. Doing this. Even then, there are fans of other teams begging Wenger not to steal their stars. Don’t worry, he won’t.

Actually, he’s in Brazil scouting for the next youth star to raise up and sell, or he’ll pick up some obscure talent.

It’s as this point in the summer, after seeing all the other activity, that Arsenal fans, especially those paying week in, week out for tickets at the Emirates, should enact some retribution, Stewie style. And if there’s still no proper action by August then there’s always part 2.

Okay, maybe that’s harsh and I’m reacting a bit too soon when, as mentioned before, there’s two months left in the transfer window.

My frustration is down to seeing other teams make moves, and seeing the  number of players linked to Arsenal that we’re highly unlikely to buy. Same old, same old.

Was Mesut Ozil a one off?  Or will he be joined by more?

Was Mesut Ozil a one off?
Or will he be joined by more?

Some Arsenal fans seem to get too excited with every mention of a quality player, and after the signing of Mesut Ozil it’s not too far-fetched to say we’ll spend money. Given the top options touted though, I still doubt it. Nobody, minus probably a select few, knew about the Ozil signing and I don’t see Arsene Wenger being happy with his supposed big-money targets being tweeted and reported by every Tom, Dick and Harry.

Serge Aurier? – seems the most plausible as he fills as need and Wenger has worked with Ivory Coast players before.

Karim Benzema?– Already unlikely, and he’s certainly prized himself out a move with his World Cup performances so far.

Alexis Sanchez? – Barcelona would be dumb to let him go, and he’s another player who’ll cost some change after the World Cup.

Arturo Vidal? – Juventus would raise eyebrows with the sale, and all Wenger said was that he’s a great player.

Mario Balotelli? – Really? Does anybody think Wenger would want this headcase in the team despite his talent?

Those are some of the big-name or most linked players in terms of transfer rumours to the Gunners, and I don’t see any of them as a reality. Maybe the likes of Loic Remy and Morgan Schneiderlin, sorry Southampton fan, are more attainable.

Now, I’m not saying we can’t attract those top players but those players in particular seem pretty tough buys at this point.

I guess we’ll see when August ends how the team has changed. Hopefully it has for the better.

On another note, I’m adding a new category, books, and I’ll start with a book that every Arsenal fan should read “So Paddy Got Up -An Arsenal Anthology.” I know I’m behind the 8-ball as far as that’s concerned, and a few of the articles concern event surrounding Arsenal in 2011, but its a good read nonetheless.

Until next time.


Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas – Arsenal did not need me – ESPN FC

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas – Arsenal did not need me – ESPN FC.

Since you’ve given me the chance to revisit this Cesc, let’s do so.

Let’s look at how, tactically, you would not have been an indulgence on Arsene Wenger’s part. Okay, yes, you may not have been needed like we need a striker, right-back and defensive midfielder but you would have made us much, much stronger.

Based on this quote from Fabregas captured by The Guardian during a recent press conference, Wenger must prefer not to have options;

We spoke to Wenger and he said that the space was very well filled by Mesut Ozil and it was hard to find a place for both of us in the team.

So let’s take a look at some of the different line-ups Wenger could have gone through with Fabregas in the squad. There are plenty of options in truth but I’ll just go with  the first five that come to mind.




Isn’t that array of tactical options something any coach would want? Jose Mourinho is sure to make the most of Fabregas in all of those formations.

Why couldn’t Wenger?  “The Professor” isn’t one for changing tactics but after the 2013/14 season he has to be considering it somewhat, right?

A return to defensive discipline would be necessary but don’t tell me that none of those lineups don’t make Arsenal a strong contender. Especially if other moves are made.

Formation 1 provides plenty of possession as well as goal threat, with the likes of Fabregas and Ramsey coming from deep and Ramsey playing in that box-to-box role he’s made his own.

Formation 2 sees Fabregas as that lone goal threat from midfield, but he rekindles his relationship with Theo Walcott to form an impressive right side for Arsenal as Ozil links play even further.

Formation 3 focuses more on width, and allows Fabregas to use his range of passing to link with the likes Cazorla and Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Formation 4 is unorthodox for Wenger but promises plenty of goals. Ramsey can cover the left side of midfield on his own while the defensive mid can shuffle over to cover Fabregas, essentially creating a 4-2-2-2.

Formation 5 is simple and possibly the most effective, with that space between the forward and midfield free to be exploited by all.

So there would have been more options for Arsene Wenger. Would he necessarily use the last two options? Unlikely, though the two striker approach was used once or twice late on, albeit with more width, and the side did go through a period of 4-3-3 when both Fabregas and Nasri played in the side.

Why didn't you take me back, boss?

Why didn’t you take me back, boss?

Fabregas is the starter in these formations but that doesn’t mean Wenger would neglect the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and maybe even Gedion Zelalem. I guess there’s Mikel Arteta too. Frankly, there’s no one that can play in Arsenal’s midfield, not attacking midfield or on the wing, but the midfield third, that’s world-class. Sorry to break to any all of a sudden Ramsey fans.

I’ve liked the Welshman from day one and couldn’t be happier he’s shut some of my fellow Gooners up with his performances last season. He’s not world class, though. Not after one season. Remember what’s happened to Wilshere? He’s now the same Wilshere who can’t even be picked ahead of Jordan Henderson(really no idea how that happens) for England at the World Cup.

Fabregas has all the skills Arsenal’s current midfielders bring to the pitch(vision, passing, goals, creativity) and some they don’t(leadership and experience). It would be harsh to say his a winning mentality and the current Gunners do not but he’s better placed in that group too. He also would have had something to prove and, being only 27, he would be in his prime.

Goals is something Arsenal is especially lacking from midfield, and it would do no harm for the squad to have another player to add to Ramsey in that regard.

What I mean in that respect is that, while Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere can chip in with goals, they are not in the class of say, a Frank Lampard. Cesc Fabregas and, hopefully, Aaron Ramsey are.

The one knock against him is his mobility and pace but it’s not like he’s in a wheelchair. He’s already shined in the Premier League with that “impediment” so that’s a dumb argument.

Another point of contention is that Arsenal fans, and maybe Wenger himself, seem to be taking the talk of Fabregas as “anarchic” to heart. See Michael Cox’s analysis of his challenge to adapt to Barcelona.



See Fabregas' position in the 2006 Champions League final. A position he played for multiple seasons before a move further forward

See Fabregas’ position in the 2006 Champions League final. A position he played for multiple seasons before a move further forward

Fabregas didn’t do himself any favours with his comments on the matter(see paragraphs 6 and 7) but it’s still not all true. When he broke through At Arsenal, Fabregas started off in a deeper role and one must say he was okay defensively even though that part of things was left mainly to his midfield partner. He then moved further forward, and became more direct. At Barcelona his “English” play led to him being used in the various positions and it’s not as if many other players could adapt to that system without losing some of their creativity etc. For  exhibit No. 1, look at Neymar.

Do people think Fabregas has lost his ability to dictate from deep with his exquisite range of passing? Possibly.

That’s simply not the case, though. The thing is that he was moved further forward, becoming more direct as result, which improved his goal-scoring ability. Wenger could easily “retrain” him to that role, having him play beside a pure defensive midfielder, and still make use of his goals.

Mourinho surely has that in mind, and will also hope Fabregas will continue to score goals.

Arsenal fans who say he gets what he deserves for leaving as he did are also holding a grudge. Maybe I have a different perspective because I like Barcelona and wanted Fabregas to win trophies. Something I don’t see him doing with us then. Took 3 years didn’t it?

It doesn’t matter in the end.

Aaron Ramsey is the next great hope, providing many of the similar attributes Fabregas did during his time, and he usually started as one of the pivot midfielders. Fabregas could do the same, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have two midfielders capable of doing that job. No one else, bar probably Wilshere(who would need to add goals to his game) can do that.

Arsenal would have added an extra midfielder with a skill-set that few could match had they re-signed Fabregas. They would have had a better chance at dictating games, creating goal-scoring opportunities and would have added a leader in the dressing room.

All I can say, yet again, is tsk, tsk, tsk Arsenal, Wenger and Fabregas.


Tsk, Tsk, Tsk Arsenal, Wenger and Fabregas

Arsene Wenger’s office, June 2014

Ivan Gazidis and Stan Kroenke enter right

Gazidis: Morning, Arsene. Can we come in?

Wenger: (puts down a picture of the “Invincibles.”) Sure, sure Ivan. How are you?

Gazidis: Good, thanks. We have a bit of transfer news for you that would give us a really strong start to the summer.

Wenger: Yes? What’s that?

Gazidis: Fabregas is available, and I know I don’t have to tell you that we have the first option to sign him. We should act quickly as it seems Chelsea and Manchester United are interested.

Wenger: Is he now? Hmm. That is interesting but I’m not sure why we’d get him. We don’t need him.

Gazidis: What?! We didn’t need Mesut Ozil either.

Wenger: Yes but look how happy the fans were. We gave them what they wanted.(Smile)

Gazidis: And Fabregas is nothing? Our former captain who is a goal-scoring threat from midfield, a playmaker, a leader, a World Cup winner, a La Liga Winner and someone who can slot right back into the side? Not to mention he can provide the depth we so obviously need given our constant injury issues.  If we don’t get him then he’ll go to one of our direct rivals, and we know how that worked out the last time it happened.

Wenger: You don’t need to mention any of that to me. Fabregas was one of my greatest students, and might I remind you of how I dealt with Andre Santos after his little man-crush. All those attributes Fabregas has is split among the midfielders we have now. Why get it all in one person? We know what areas of the pitch we need to improve on, and we signed that new fitness guy.  My budget may not allow for much more. Plus, Diaby’s coming back. He’ll be like a new signing.

Gazidis: Did you say your budget? Right. So, we’ll get that striker then?

Wenger: Calling my contacts in the Monaco youth system after you leave.

Gazidis: And that right-back?

Wenger: You forget Jenkinson is here? Plus, I’m sure Nagoya Grampus has a right back that I can develop into the next Atsuto Uchida. We haven’t dipped into that market since Park but it’s worth a punt.

Gazidis: Goalkeeper? Defensive midfielder?

Wenger: Now, hold on there. That’s a lot of new faces. Look what happened to Spurs. I have until the end of August you know. I’d like to be able to take in this World Cup, and get a good holiday for once. I just won a bloody trophy for you guys, and now you’re like a silverware crazy Roman Abramovich type guy. Not cool, monsieur. Consistency’s the key, and silverware once every decade. Right, Stan?

No response

Gazidis:(sighs) Alright, Arsene. I can’t believe I’m going to do this but I’ll pass on Cesc. Let’s hope he doesn’t have to turn to one of those guys.

Wenger: He won’t.

5 Minutes Later

Gazidis:(rushes in) Go to BBC Sports Now! I TOLD YOU WE SHOULD HAVE SIGNED HIM!


Wenger: F#$k

Okay, so that may not be as funny as it was in my head initially but its one of my ways of dealing with what I think  is an absolutely atrocious decision by Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.

You simply don’t let a player like Cesc Fabregas pass you by. Not even Jose Mourinho, who surely harbors some deep down feeling of dislike for the Spaniard due to his Arsenal and Barcelona ties, is dumb enough to.

And you say, well aren’t you the one who thought it was wasteful to buy Mesut Ozil? Yes, I am, but if you’re going to buy Ozil you may as well turn around and buy Fabregas who you know can, and will, deliver in the Premier League. I may not even mind if it’s just another decent forward that’s brought in should Wenger feel the outlay for Fabregas was too much.

Okay, not really.

I definitely understand the need to strengthen other areas, and I am shedding my former cynicism in the hope that they will be addressed. Correctly.

Still, this is all too reminiscent of 2012 when Robin van Persie went to Manchester United. Sure, Fabregas didn’t make the straight switch like the Dutch forward but considering the option we had in place it basically feels like that. Chelsea just need a few more pieces and they’ll be even better than last year.

With this move, or non-move rather, Arsenal’s summer in the transfer market has already gotten off to a bad start. A good number of the quality players linked to the Gunners are participating in the World Cup. Any number of things could happen in the next month but it is a bit more difficult to sign a player focused on World Cup duties.

We’ll see what happens.

My disappointment is mainly with Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, and that usual rash emotional reaction is directed towards Cesc Fabregas. I can no longer use you in any fantasy team, FIFA team or get you in Football Manager.

One logical bit of reasoning for Fabregas’ choice was put to me like this. He really had no other option. Manchester United is still a wild card, no French or German teams would necessarily need or want him or vice-versa, Italian teams couldn’t afford him and he wasn’t staying in Spain.

So, he had limited choices which is extremely odd for such a talented player.

So long Fabregas. You have gone to waste away in the crazy world of Mourinho.

Here’s to hoping you don’t come back to bite us in the butt next season.