Arsenal - The Joy of Cesc
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The Joy of Cesc

In honour of Cesc Fabregas' appointment as Arsenal's new skipper, I thought I'd elucidate his finer points, obviously the fact that he is a bona fide world class footballer apart. England is perhaps the only country in Europe that regardsthe appointment of a captain with any kind of interest, but nevertheless, wth relish and interest here are the best things about our diminutive Catalunyan catalyst.

He Plays With His Heart- Nobody applies themself more to a game than Cesc, to dovetail with his awe inspiring talent, he has the will of the warrior and refuses to be beaten, whether his side are losing in the dying minutes or in the 50-50 challenge. When we are defeated, nobody looks more downcast, the fact that he is a spikey, almost petulant, loser is perversely endearing.

He Doesn't Take Shit From Anyone- Cesc is no respecter of reputation. From the moment he consummately outplayed his predecessor Patrick Vieira in March 2006, Fabregas has always looked to impose himself. When 'respected' pros like Sheringham and Mark Hughes stood in his way, he shouted them down whilst still a teenager. Tomas Repka told all and sundry he was going to kick Arsenal out of the game prior to the Sparta Praha game last season, after two minutes Repka goes eyeball to eyeball with Hleb. What does Cesc do? Promptly puts a crunching (but fair) challenge on Repka, leaving him limping out of the game sobbing like a little boy who's just been denied his dinner. Zidane in the Bernebeu? Step aside Gramps. Gattuso and Pirlo in the San Siro? Psssh, easy. Roy Keane and Paul Scholes in Cardiff when he was 17? Move it or lose it old timers.

Goal Celebrations- When he scores, his face lights up and he generally celebrates like a six year old boy in the playground. Look at any number of picture stills, the last minute winner in the Reebok last season when he runs to Eboue almost in tears. The last minute equaliser at Sunderland when his face is screwed up in delight. The goal against Bolton at the Grove in April 2007, having not scored for eight months he proceeded to shadow box thin air and beat his chest like a savage. And of course, that celebration in the San Siro.

His Handling of the Media- Every time there is a story alleging he wants to leave, he releases a statement within twelve hours denying it and reaffirming his commitment to the club. He has been upfront about his desire to return home one day and the supporters appreciate that honesty. In the meantime, he has been a consummate professional and ambassador for the club.

He 'Gets' Arsenal- There are a number of players who don't at the moment, Cesc is attuned to the unique culture of the club and behaves with the decorum we have become accustomed to over the years.

He Hates Ashley Cole- The fact that he has taken Cole's treachery to heart so much proves the above point.

He's Not Afraid To Speak Out- Much like Gallas, Fabregas identifies the team's problems and speaks out about them. For instance, in the summer of 2007 he said that Arsenal's dressing room was too nice (how things change!), but rather than bitching about it persistently, he helped address the issue.

Everyone Respects Him- His reputation resonates around Europe. When he leads this Arsenal team out, it will strike fear into the heart of any opponent. Opposing fans are effusive in their praise for him. It's generally accepted he'd walk into any team in Europe, let's be grateful he graces ours.

He Loves Pressure- He walked into a team who had just gone an entire league campaign undefeated, amongst footballing giants such as Bergkamp, Vieira, Pires, Campbell and Henry and did not look a bit out of place aged 17. He marked his devut by stopping just short of literally urinating on Keane and Scholes. He waltzed into the Bernabeu and didn't twitch a nerve at the prospect of completely outplaying Zidane and Guti aged 18. He wandered into the San Siro and well and truly knocked Gattuso and Pirlo off their perch in their own back yard. The greater the pressure, the bigger his response.

Fabregas is the footballer that boys want to be and girls want get my meaning here. So congratulations Cesc and the best of luck as skipper of the Arsenal. You join some illustrious names, but yours by no means looks out of place amongst our literatti of greats.LD.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 24 2008

Time: 7:48PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
short term appointment then with Spain beckoning this summer :-)
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24/11/2008 19:52:00

You obviously have intelligence but do you have to swear all the time and talking about urinating on people is not needed. It just seems a shame to ruin a good talent
Orange Quadrant
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24/11/2008 19:56:00

I hate people who ******** swear.
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24/11/2008 19:59:00

A true captain needs to lead by example - I can't think of a better candidate in Cesc. I think Gallas could be a good captain somewhere; Arsenal just wasn't the right fit for him in this role. It takes a special person to handle the media spotlight with tact, and a different means of showing passion to be an inspiration to a side of equally young talent - Cesc has all of the qualities to succeed in this role. I wish him all the best, and give 100% support.
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24/11/2008 20:04:00

At least he wont hold the club to ransom whilst pretending he loves the club Merlin, ring any bells? I ******** hate swearing to Kev ;) Cesc was the only candidate really, ive got a feeling it just might work out....short term though the reaction of Gallas is as important as Cesc being given the captaincy.
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24/11/2008 20:05:00

I wonder who would deputise if Cesc doesn't play? Not an obvious choice is there?
Frosty B
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24/11/2008 20:08:00

***** off you cock sucking mother *****er *****ing off a ***** behind the *****ing school but, you **** whore. That my take on the *****ing *****e bag of a dick face. Little****! Only joking :D And LD, as ever, you speak my mind with *****ing good grace! ;-)
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24/11/2008 20:14:00

OQ, I love language, swearing is an intrinsic part of it, I like it when sprinkled sparingly on prose. It's hardly of Joe Kinnear proportions but I happen to think there's a place for it in the right situation. As the song says, #It's Only Words..........#
Little Dutch
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24/11/2008 20:23:00

Frosty dun think too much now, i want all the ******** 3 points tomm so we can forget about the CL till feb and concentrate on the league. and merlin, i wish his first league win as a skipper comes this sunday mate :d
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24/11/2008 20:24:00

I'd settle for the 3 cups this year! ;-)
Frosty B
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24/11/2008 20:47:00

Frosty, I would say it is an obvious choice. Clichy for vice captain! Great piece LD.
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24/11/2008 21:11:00

I've seen people say that Cesc is not a natural leader. I have a hard time believing that. He loves being the focus of the team. He should be taking all of our set pieces. He seems to know when to yell and when to console. In my eyes, he's a quintessential 'natural leader.' This is a tough situation for him to come into, what with only a couple of other midfielders to play around him. But he is adored by the fans and seems to get along well with his teammates, and to me is the perfect choice. This is also the first time someone younger than me is my clubs captain, officially making me feel ancient at the age of 23.
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24/11/2008 21:31:00

All those qualities are excellent for a player, but are they really going to make him a good captain ?
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24/11/2008 21:32:00

haha, I just got the title by the way, took me awhile. My parents actually had that book in their bookshelf when I was a boy if you can believe it!
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24/11/2008 21:39:00

Yes hes great, although hes been poor this season. But hes the 1 player you have you can truely call world class. But this is something Wenger should of done after the Birmingham game. People werent saying Gallas is a poor captain because its the cool thing to do, or because of a media telling us to do, people said he was a bad captain because he really was! he threatened to score own goals at chelsea ffs hes a big spoilt baby, the way he acted at brum was ridiculous and its obvious he aint popular in the dressng room. Think youl pick your results up now
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24/11/2008 23:03:00

Cesc is the best choice of the bunch. Unfortunately we do not have a born leader in our ranks (obviously excluding Nordveit) but hopefully this will be rectified in the January transfer window. Knowing the type of character Cesc is, the captaincy might spur him on and turn him into an even better player. He thrives on pressure and has a cool head on the pitch. Good luck Cesc.
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24/11/2008 23:20:00

im sure most fans would have shortlisted cesc for the captaincy. he would make a great leader and i fully expect him to take over the captaincy of spain in the near future as well. well done arsene, this is exactly what the team needs right now.
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25/11/2008 00:20:00

At last, I wanted him as captain when Kolo was considered the only option. He will lead there is no doubt. Well done Cesc, show show them all. Captain of Spain that's a given. detect a bit of envy in the first two comments.
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25/11/2008 00:52:00

F***ing great piece Tim. That b*strd has really **** got me excited about the tw*tting Arsenal again. F*cking get in there you ****!!!
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25/11/2008 01:40:00

no wucking forries then rocky7, bucking feautiful!!!!
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25/11/2008 02:28:00

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25/11/2008 07:27:00

******** brilliant captain, ******** brilliant piece! :)
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25/11/2008 07:47:00

HY, I have to pull you up on the threatening to score own goals lie. If that was true why did he celebrate like a maniac when he scored a last minute winner against Spurs that April? According to Chelsea, his threats came before that game? And why did they keep playing him? Would you play a player who was threatening to score own goals? If you don't like Gallas, fair dinkum, but please don't resort to believing anything that Chelsea say about anything, that's just silly.
Little Dutch
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25/11/2008 08:22:00

I have to put a word in for Gallas, too. St Andrews apart (which was scrutinised and over criticised to the point of absurdity), I don't think it's fair to say that Gallas was a truly bad captain. I try to watch every game I can, and with the advent of streaming, that practically is every game, and I for one cannot think of many games where I could honestly say Gallas was a bad captain. If making a mistake every now and then makes you a bad captain, then there can't be a good captain in the country. Did Gerrard get buried by the media for passing the ball to Henry to add a third to their misery? Did Keane get destroyed when he criticised his own fans? Was Terry's captaincy under question after his horrendous penalty miss? Not really. But Arsenal are overly reported on; when it's good it's too good, and when it's bad it's even worse. I genuinly believe that the campaign against Gallas has been persistently fueled by media comment and speculation. Fans of opposing team's comments are not worthy of attention, as unless you're watching every single game, you're really just repeating what Hansen et al are cobbling together in the form of opinion from carefully edited MOTD highlights, etc... And who will be stand-in or vice captain? Gallas, without a doubt.
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25/11/2008 10:05:00

Chaos, again I can do little else but 100% agree with that comment.
Little Dutch
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25/11/2008 10:09:00

And to elaborate on your point further Chaos, of our last three captains, one got *****ed and drove his car through an old lady's garden wall, one spat at (the admittedly despicable) Neil Ruddock and the other missed a chance that would have won us the European Cup. None were hounded the way Gallas has been. Even when Adams was in prison he didn't attract the criticism Gallas has had for sitting down after the final whistle.
Little Dutch
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25/11/2008 10:28:00

Thanks, Ld. It's good to know somebody agrees with me, as I do feel more like a dissenting voice, rather than somebody who is not getting whipped up and hopping on a banwagon. Another point I'd like to add: Chris Morgan nearly killed Iain Hume the other week. Where is the chorus of voices demmanding he be stripped of his captaincy? Other than a few rumblings, nothing, Blackwell comes out and backs the player and the story is over. Gallas has a moan about some discourse within the squad (I don't think he should of - his only other really bad mistake along with St Andrews) and the media/fan/pundit pressure builds up so, so much that Gallas' role as captain becomes unattainable. Not really fair. I'll shut up now - rant over. I absolutely support the appointing of Fabregas as captain - it's the best thing we could do. Let's show some real support tonight. Make it noisy... I know I will!
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25/11/2008 10:32:00

Chaostp top comments well written, concur.
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25/11/2008 13:01:00

Blimey, there's more swearing on here than the spu*s board! lol
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25/11/2008 13:27:00

We all know the reason why that happens to Gallas ChaosTeaCup. Adams was Mr Arsenal, Henry a world class player who had been at Arsenal for years of success, Viera a warrior who played through the pain barrier and helped us to many trophies also. Gallas is an ex Chav and that straight away (rightly or wrongly) put him onto a hiding for nothing and the media have picked up on that!
Report Abuse
25/11/2008 13:30:00

Let's have it right, Henry was skipper after proving himself to be a real world beater at Arsenal, broken all sorts of records etc etc, and was most certainly criticised during his tenure for strolling around the pitch and sulking on more than the odd occasion. Not to mention going missing in the odd big game, '06 in Paris being a case in point. Vieira was the best in the world in his position at Arsenal as well, and correct me if i'm wrong, but was 20 when he spat at Ruddock? No? And wasn't that his second sending off in a row!? And Adams was/is 'Mr Arsenal'. Point i'm making is that Henry/Vieira had achieved greatness at Arsenal, Adams went on to achieve it. Gallas got given the armband after joining from Chelsea and not really proving anything at Arsenal. And Chaos, if Morgan had of done that to a top 4 club i'm sure there repercussions would still be rumbling.
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25/11/2008 13:55:00

I agree Chaos. You iz my new best friend ;-)
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25/11/2008 13:58:00

Great email in F365 Mailbox Tim, finally a bit of sense. You on the forum there too?
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25/11/2008 14:12:00

I agree, Shewore. Gallas may have not 'earned' the right to be captain as convincingly as our previous captains, but if you look at the squad at the beginning of last season there were no real obvious candidates. Perhaps Gilberto, but he was away for pre-season and the first few games of the season - we needed the captaincy sorted before his availability. Flamini impressed so much in his place, that it turned out Gilbeto's spot in the team wasn't guaranteed anyway. Sadly, aside for the little run of games Gilberto had at the end of the season, his influence was small; Arsenal losing nearly every game he featured in. This, it could be argued, was through lack of playing, but that still doesn't unjustify Gallas' selection as captain, really. And damn straight on your point re: Morgan, absolutely spot on. I guess I was just trying to show that what Gallas was guilty of was essentially a bad PR gaff, whereas Morgan was guilty of assault, and yet who cot crucified the most? (not sure a question mark is even warranted there).
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25/11/2008 14:23:00

Fabregas has been a fantastic player for you guys for a number of years...which really sounds quite ridiculous to say considering he's only 21, but hopefully he'll be a great captain for you. It's nice to see a player that so frequently reiterates his comittment to his club, long may he continue to ply his trade in the Premiership. Up the Villa.
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25/11/2008 15:17:00

Of course Iceman. BTW, can anyone please tell me if Van Persie could be for sale.
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25/11/2008 15:46:00

Please take him away from us. You may be led to believe that he is a quality player but he is a brat.
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25/11/2008 16:14:00

Would Wenger consider selling him? He's a great dribbler, Chelsea lacks one.
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25/11/2008 16:17:00

Not in the same way. Chelsea lack a Robinho, not a van Persie. He is more of a turner than a dribbler. Give me Joe Cole any day.
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25/11/2008 16:52:00

Joe Cole and RVP don't even play anywhere near the same spaces on a fotball pitch, RVP plays as the right striker of 2, joe cole plays on the left of midfield or behind the stikers in the hole, as they say! I would take Cole as he is such a handy player, but RVP gives more end product per minute on the pitch.........
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25/11/2008 16:56:00

Although it is very obvious RVP does have a nasty streak. If he isn't causing friction in the dressing room we would foolish to sell him. If on the other hand, he is causing untold grief then yes, any player doing that should be shown the door + a boot to the rear!
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25/11/2008 17:03:00

RvP definitely got issues, man. But if he fulfilled his potential, and converted his technical ability into end product (which he has on occasions), I'd most definitely keep him. He might be a *****, but he's a talented *****. Last season a Man-U fan told me that he thought that RvP was the most technically gifted footballer in the premiership (any Arsenal praise from a Man-U fan I take note of, as I hear it so very little). And indeed, some of the tricks he can do with the ball are gobsmacking. Just sometimes he acts like he needs a good gobsmacking!
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25/11/2008 17:57:00

I think RvP is our most talented striker, we need to keep hold of him. He also seemed to be trying hard in every game I've seen him in this year often with little support. He might be arrogant and disruptive but I think that's something Wenger needs to sort out and hopefully will end with a stronger captain. As for having Cesc as captain, I think he's the best candidate as he is only one of 3 players guaranteed to start every match. The other 2 are Sagna and Clichy. Sagna hasn't been at the club long enough. I also feel it's better for the captain to be a centre back or central midfielder as it's easier for them to communicate with the rest of the team.
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25/11/2008 19:00:00

Nobody has ever doubted van Persie's talent but he really does ***** me off. He does not even try in some matches. On some occasions he seems to use football matches in order to get on the highlights reel. Never helps his opponent and wastes far too many chances for a player who gets so little of them. I would love for him to start working well with somebody and for him to grow up but I would also love nothing more than for us to sell him and sign a player who is top top quality. Why persist with a player who could be sold for enough for us to fund the signing of a better "striker" (not "footballer")?
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25/11/2008 19:14:00

*(replace "opponent" with "partner")
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25/11/2008 19:17:00

I think he's lazy because he lacks competition. He knows there's no one who'll consistently play better than him. Anelka played his best game for Chelsea when he saw Drogba on the
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25/11/2008 19:40:00

He has been in and out like Ron Jeremy! Also Adebayor and Eduardo are ahead of him, he should be doing everything within his powers to prove he is better than them. At the moment he is only confirming the need for them both to return.
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25/11/2008 19:42:00

Ok LD ill take your word for it. I do admire the way you guys stay positive on here, even when you have a japs eye as a captain you still stick up for him, Its commendable. You guys could see the positive in Gomes lol!
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25/11/2008 20:59:00

Hey HudYiddo of course we do see the positive in Gomes lol!!! Love him to bits - this guy's a natural comedian!! Back to RvP, I have to agree with Kevin that what he lacks is competition for his place. For both us and Holland, he's an automatic start when nearly 80% fit. We seriously need Vela, and Eduardo when he's back, to challenge for not just his striking spot, but Ade's also. (We can say the same about pretty much all outfield positions - Fabi is pushing Almunia quite hard - I know.)
Report Abuse
26/11/2008 06:48:00

It's not about seeing the positives, it's about seeing what's there, which nine times out of ten is entirely different to the fabricated media.
Little Dutch
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26/11/2008 09:00:00

I hope the captaincy doesn't hold Cesc back in anywhere. Congrats to Cesc
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26/11/2008 14:56:00


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