Watching the FA Cup Quarter-Final tie between Manchester United and Arsenal on Saturday, I am sure I heard the Arsenal fans singing the “We’ve got Cesc Fabregas” song at one stage of the game, which left me in disbelief as to why the loyal Arsenal fans even wanted to mention the player’s name after his performance in their Champions League defeat at the Nou Camp.
My opinion wasn’t acknowledged by my Spurs supporting mate who I watched the game with but having watched the Champions League tie with an Arsenal fan, I know he would’ve been livid and I am sure a few other Gooners were too despite the actions of those in attendance.
Fabregas’ performance for Arsenal at the Nou Camp was wrong on so many levels, even I felt rather disgruntled despite not being a fan of the club. However, I do admire Arsene Wenger and what he has achieved at the club since he arrived in 1996, although his blame of the Referee being his main reason why they lost the tie, I am starting to wonder if the club needs a shake-up if they are going to rid this trophyless streak off their backs.
This isn’t an article doubting Fabregas’ ability as a midfield player, he is technically gifted and one of the best passers in the Premier League by far but it’s his ability as a captain that irks me – especially in as crucial game as last Tuesday night.
Although, I wonder what would’ve happened if the Arsenal team had a Captain like Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira or Kenny Sansom in the team. It wasn’t until after the game that I saw the highlights of both teams lining up in the players tunnel before the game in which Fabregas left leading the line of his team to embrace members of the Barcelona team, players he knows well from the Spanish squad and his time in the Barcelona youth team.
I take into account that Cesc has a history at the Nou Camp and the likes of former captains would’ve had no affiliation with the opposition but if they did, they would’ve left any friendly embraces until after the game and would’ve been focused on the tough task ahead.
What message did it send to his team mates in the line seeing their leader and captain, laughing and joking with the opposition before doing battle on the pitch? A captain needs to set an example to the rest of the team and although Cesc is one of, if not the best player in the Arsenal team, it does not necessarily make him captain material.
In the past, fellow Arsenal team mate Denilson spoke honestly about Fabregas lacking leadership qualities and that is what is missing from the team being a more complete side. In the game itself, Cesc did not look fit and according to the Spanish press, he admitted to them that he was injured after 15 minutes. That was no excuse for his mistake, a backheel outside his own half in a crowd of congested players, which gave Barcelona the ball back and of course Lionel Messi went onto score.
Perhaps Fabregas wanted to prove to the Barcelona players and fans that he can do what the likes of Xavi and Iniesta do week in week out, but that certainly wasn’t the way to go about it. However, since the game, Fabregas’ father has come out with a comment that his son felt so helpless after the defeat that he wanted to “shoot himself.”
There is no doubt that Fabregas cares for the club but perhaps the burden of being Arsenal captain is too much for him and manager Arsene Wenger should look to give the armband to someone who has the correct leadership qualities.
Wenger’s successful team from the Nineties had leaders and so did the ‘Invincible’ team and while the current Arsenal squad have matured, maturity alone does not make leaders, it requires a certain personality type that former Gunners captains had in abundance.
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