Cesc named captain as new era begins…

Today was a weird day and Arsene did what we all thought he should have done this summer. Cesc is our new captain. And our declining form hit an all time low with our 3-0 loss to Man City this weekend and this season has been the worst so far under our professor and chief, Arsene Wenger.

So, Cesc has been named captain and this is what Arsene had to say:

“Gallas will play against Kyiv. But he will not captain the team, it will be Cesc Fabregas.
 
“This is a permanent thing. But I don’t think I especially have to explain why. I have given you information but I do not have to explain to you why I make these decisions.

“This subject is now closed. You have to respect a little bit of the team’s privacy.”

In light of Gallas’ book in which he condemns both Arsene and many of the current team, Arsene had no choice. But he did make, what I believe to be the only viable choice for the captain’s role. This and last season, Cesc has been the outstanding player and leader of our team and in some quarters, the dip in form could be related to taking orders from a crazy captain. I honestly think Arsene has made the right decision.

But was the decision made because of stumbling form. Is there a crisis going on with the team, so bad that the only way we can recover is to make Cesc captain. Is this the final attempt? Is this the lats throw of the dice? Or is it the only sensible decision this season?

Clichy has been talking about Cesc and is happy he’s the captain.

“It is a new start and I hope Cesc will do well. I’m sure he will. When he started in the team everyone was saying he was too young to have so much responsibility but he has shown he can handle a team and put in good performances.

“I’m one of the older players now but, it’s not only about age, it’s more about togetherness. Of course I will do my best to help my team-mates and I’m sure all the players will give him all the support he needs to be one of the best. I’m not scared of saying that he is the key player in the squad so he deserves the respect of the boss.

“His performances over the last couple of years have been fantastic and so I feel it is a good choice. For example when we played this year against Sunderland, we were losing 1-0 but he scored the header and we drew the game. That shows the character of Cesc.

“And, last year against Milan he scored a goal that makes you feel this kind of player is really important in the team. The only thing Cesc has to do now is play his best football. I’m really happy for him and I’m sure he will do well.”

And Clichy says what we’re all thinking. Let’s not be scared of this decision, let’s embrace it. It is the new start that we need. A real leader, someone who the players look up, despite his relatively young age. Cesc is really the one player who commands respect. The one player who everyone knows give 100%. Yes, he’s not in the greatest form of his life, but this is something that will invigorate him, no doubt.

Cesc has been speaking about the captaincy:

“It is a great honour for me to captain one of the biggest clubs in the world. It is a proud moment. I know it’s a big responsibility but together with my team-mates, I know we have the spirit and commitment to get back to winning ways and fulfil our potential.”

That’s exactly what I want to hear. The next test will be to see how Gallas reacts to this, and whether he scores an own goal. I’m not going to sour this momentous day by talking about Gallas. Kyiv tomorrow will be Cesc’s first game as captain and I hope this is the start of a new era.

Remember this day, Monday 24th November 2008, the day Cesc Fabregas became captain.

‘Til tomorrow…]]>

  • Debs

    I’ve been pressing f5 don’t really have much to say cos you’ve said it all! Fabregas would definitely do a better job than Clichy or Almunia. I’m actually excited, and I haven’t been in a while, and I’m sure most people do. there’s this sense of renewed hope and I just pray it’s reflected in 2mo’s performance. Looking forward to an excellent performance and response 2mo, especially from Gallas. Fingers crossed! But yeah, it’s the beginning of a FAB FABregas era!

  • Debs

    *i’ve been pressing f5 all evening* is what I meant to say ;)

  • Debs

    ‘Your comment is awaiting moderation’… never seen that before! New era new rules? lol!

  • ny

    < ![CDATA[handing armband to Cesc is not just enough.
    We must sign Brede Hangeland of Fulham.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[i have a sneaky feeling that wenger might have 'bribed' cesc. chosen him as captain so that theres something making him want to stay at arsenal. and not think about moving in the summer. i won't blame him if he moves though. i'd rather see a cesc in form instead of a cesc having to sacrifice his game for the team.

    and yikes ! we'r probably without diaby and nasri for kiev.

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/diaby-and-nasri-set-to-miss-dynamo-kyiv-clash

    this is horrible news. we'v already got walcott and rosicky out. eboue's out as well. and it doesnt look like either one of sagna or toure is back either.

    ideally i think wenger would have waited another game to put gallas back in th team but he saw that its better to put gallas in than rely on gavin hoyte (bcuz the rest are injured).

    our back line's probably going to be
    almunia
    djourou gallas silvestre clichy

    with only 3 'regular' first team midfielders available.

    denilson cesc song

    and 2 'regular' first team strikers available in the absence of adebayor and eduardo

    vanpersie bendtner

    with vela, ramsey, wilshere all with a shout for the last available position, in the first team against kiev.

    so we'v got 3 central midfielders and 4 with ramsey. we'v got 2 players who can play on either wing (vela and wilshere) and 3 who can play as wing forwards in a 4 - 3 - 3 (vela, wilshere and vanpersie).

    i think its clear that the confirmed starters are almunia, djourou, gallas, silvestre, clichy, cesc, vanpersie - the backline, one MF and one FW.
    now how do we go about selecting for the remaining positions.
    some would say denilson had a horrible game on sat, so maybe he should sit this one out till the second half at least. and they'd play cesc and song in the center. but bcuz we'v got so many first team players out, i think we'r going to see a 4 - 5 - 1 again, which i'm not too confident about. i'd like to see the more aggressive version of that, the 4 - 3 - 3. i honestly think that part of the reason why we'v been wasteful or not an intimidating strikeforce is because we havnt played aggressively. wenger plays too defensive a formation for the talent and attacking ability he has. but maybe its also bcuz theyr too young to play completely efficiently.
    a big factor in why teams are able to close us down is bcuz we take too long to pass and wait for them to get 10 men behind the ball. i think part of why we take too long is bcuz we stand too close to each other, making their job easier. that way we dont stretch them. we should try to stretch them, make space b/w their players. i'm sure we know that but we dont do it well. and i think thats because we have too many players in midfield. as it is our fullbacks are 'defensive wide-midfielders'. and thats a big reason why i think a 4 - 3 - 3 would work. with the fullbacks occasionally joining up with the midfield when needed, when we have the ball. that way we wont be falling over ourselves in midfield and we'll still be putting pressure on their defense and midfield. and if we do it right, we'll be stretching the space b/w their defence and midfield.
    and i think we really have players who can play in that formation. i actually think they want to play that way. i think its the best way to utilize the pace and ability to get behind players that some of our players have. its being wasted by playing against 10 men who'v 'parked the bus'. we need to ensure that their strikers and midfield dont have time to get behind the ball. part of how we do this is by making the through pass from the center of the pitch and not when we'r in their half. theres almost no space and its almost too late by then. and we can make more of those passes if we'v got more attacking players up front who want to run behind defenders.

    i think we can all agree that vanpersie plays best as a wing forward, usually on the right wing. so we should use him there. and we'v got bendtner who's got height. so if we want to go to plan B, we could use him for headers (we still need to work on that part of our game). or we could use him as a striker who pushes their defence back. he does have some good qualities. he brings his team into play. but thats not a strikers first priority. that is to create goals and score. and he doesnt do that well enough. but i have a feeling thats partly bcuz the players feel that wenger wants them to play as a team, and somehow 'lost in translation' they forget (or are not encouraged enough)that they need to play their position at a 100% too.
    so them two up front. and one of wilshere and vela (probably him) as the 3rd striker. vela's played on the left wing/forward for osasuna where he was on loan. so he shouldnt have too much trouble playing there. it seems like its clear enough and wenger's got reason enough to play them all up front. i just wish he would take the right risks.
    in central midfield i'd have cesc, song and one of ramsey or denilson. i'm leaning towards ramsey partly bcuz denilson had a tough game. but also i feel denilson's having to play under too much pressure. and u cant expect a 20 yr old to play as many games in the first team as he has and still stay sane (tongue-twister ?) and ramsey's got that determination and 'brit-grit'. he's got that heart and desire without being arrogant or nasty. thats a great quality.
    i thought song looked lively on sat. hopefully he'll show more of the same.

    so my line-up would be this

    ---------------------------almunia---------------------------
    gallas---------djourou---------silvestre---------clichy
    -----------------------------song-----------------------------
    -------------ramsey-----------------cesc------------------
    vanpersie-------------bendtner---------------vela------]]>

  • zohaib

    and that way nobody will need to be playing out of position

  • unspoken

    < ![CDATA[if tony adams can do it, let fabregas do it too! i think he's one of the more passionate players we have.. and i do hope that he stays for the rest of the seasons till he grows old man.. maybe wenger will now form the team around fabregas?

    but i guess we all kinda know it's also an attempt to make fabregas stay at Arsenal. = /.. so let's hope he does..]]>

  • zohaib

    wat hapnd to my first comment ?

  • Debs

    it’s probably ‘awaiting moderation’! ;)

  • Fabrez!

    This shud b a reason for him 2 stay but we kno that Henry and Viera left as captains too. Granted they stayed for long periods of time. Regardlesss! Go Cesc…i’m well excited about this Kiev game!!! I think with the rest he got and the armband, hopfully he’s mentally and physically ready 2 go!

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[my long comment is still awaiting moderation.

    while i wait, i'd like to point out that we might have got gallas and cesc back for the game. but now we have 2 new injuries.
    diaby and nasri are injured and won't play tonight.]]>

  • raymond

    < ![CDATA[Liverpool, it pains me to say, are jumping around in first or second place in the EPL/

    Yes I know this is an Arsenal blog, and if you have ever read it before you will know that nothing will ever shake my belief in Arsenal, but I mention this thing about Liverpool Insolvents because of something rather curious.

    There is an article in the Guardian today in which the Carragher fellow (the one who was banned for throwing a coin at fans at Highbury) asked fans of the I’s to be patient, after the Scousers booed their own team during the weekend’s home game against Fulham.

    Fulham, of course, play negative football. They are more interested in negating than creating. Survival is the idea, and who cares what it does to the crowd. We all know that. It is true of many EPL clubs.
    The Guardian says, “Jeers greeted both the full- and half-time whistles at Anfield, which has not witnessed a league defeat for Liverpool in 2008, while the midfielder Lucas was targeted by supporters as the Brazilian made his sixth start of the season in place of the in-form Xabi Alonso.”

    That is interesting, because since most of us spend our time thinking about Arsenal we can lose track of the fact that the lack of faith we see among some visitors to the Ems is found even more volubly in the backwaters of the north west.

    Such a report does show the need (if it ever needed to be shown) for Arsenal supporters to be positive about the team no matter what. Especially as at the moment we are giving our even younger youngsters games because 20% of the team have been injured, not while playing or training for Arsenal, but while playing around for pathetically stupid international requirements. (At least when I say that this time I can’t get a load of abuse from people calling me a racist for criticising Togo, when I am simultaneously criticising England).

    The demand for success-success-success is a constant among the larger clubs in England, and it is never going to be possible to meet all the time. What we must not do is be seen to be the same as the people from the wild badlands where the hub cap is currency and “Calm Down” is the standard greeting.

    Gallas needs support, our new captain needs support, whoever is at right back needs support, and whoever is playing alongside Van Persie needs support.

    Tell you what though - can you imagine the reaction on the day that Eduardo is announced as a substitute for the first time - even if he doesn’t come on the pitch.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Something no one has mentioned when we lost to City at the weekend is we Had 8 first team players out injured.

    Count them.]]>

  • mason

    < ![CDATA[CESC Fabregas’ Arsenal. That sounds a little better, doesn’t it?

    Of course he’s a risk, but which Arsenal captain of the last 20 years has not been? You had powder-keg Patrick Vieira and his regular flirtations with abroad, moody Thierry Henry and his regular flirtations with abroad, slightly mad Chelsea recruit William Gallas and 21 year-old developing alcoholic Tony Adams.

    To the best of my knowledge, Cesc does not get sent-off twice a season, did not play for Chelsea, is not mad and does not have a drink problem.

    Add to that the fact he is genuinely world class, is in his sixth year at Arsenal, is intelligent, articulate and plays with passion and you have someone who really does tick all the right boxes. His recent form has been poor, but to borrow that horrible but very true cliché, form is temporary and class is permanent.

    Cesc may leave one day, but he can stay here three or four years and still be only 24 or 25. That’s not old. He will remember how quickly things can change as well. Right now it feels like we’re back to where we were when Gallas took the armband 14 short months ago.

    I initially plumped for a Clichy captaincy, but the more I think about it the more right this feels.

    So what of Gallas?

    By that I mean every possible opportunity to jump on Gallas was taken up with relish by critics who steadfastly ignored anything positive. Even when they had no choice but to acknowledge a good performance against United, the footage of him instructing Walcott was twisted to suggest it was some kind of one off.

    St Andrews wasn’t clever, but just because the pictures were dramatic it doesn’t make true the implication put across that it was the primary reason for last season’s failure. Equally, Gallas has played his part in this season’s defeats. But to believe they would not have happened without him is wishful thinking.

    Imagine it. An away draw, one defeat all season, three points clear with 11 to play and you change your captain because he reacted over emotionally on a very emotional day? For all the flack Gallas took at the time, I can’t remember anyone saying he should actually be stripped of the armband there and then. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    Whether he should have lost the armband in the summer is a far, far fairer question.

    But going back to the blame Gallas’ shouldered, can you remember a single instance in the written or broadcast media where Kolo Toure’s fairly obvious decline in form has been cited for things not going particularly well? I can’t.

    Every time there was a chance to paint Gallas as adrift from his team-mates, the opportunity was leapt upon. Footage such as this and the way a fair few players went out of their way to congratulate their captain after a meaningless goal against Twente painted a less obvious picture.

    No doubt there were tensions, but the black and white idea of Gallas being either liked or hated by his team-mates is an easy conclusion to draw. As a club, Arsenal are renowned for keeping things very much in-house. The vast majority of what goes on behind closed doors staying behind closed doors and much of what does come out is stuff they are very happy for people to know.

    Witness how no UK national media outlet broke news of the Gallas decision on their web-sites on Friday. It was only after agencies picked up a francefootball post that they got a sniff of what a couple of blogs were already reporting.

    And where were all those inside scoops detailing the furious half-time bust-up before Gallas opened his mouth? Nowhere.

    It means we have to sit through post-match analysis which taken seriously would constitute an insult to our intelligence, but I can live with that.

    So what kind of reception can Gallas expect tonight? A decent one I suspect. For those of you who don’t get to games, a fair gulf has existed between the carping in the media and on the blogs and what the fans at the games appear to think of our now former captain.

    If he can now fight his way back and be a positive influence, I for one won’t be complaining. In different circumstances his outburst would have caused far less excitement. He was not the right captain (in hindsight could any player less than a year out of Chelsea ever be?), but I just feel his mistakes have been misadventure more than anything malicious.

    The club yesterday wheeled out senior pro (!) Gael Clichy for the obligatory pre Champions League presser in a decent bit of PR. You have to love the Clich. He said all the right things: praising Cesc, admitting Gallas made a mistake but paying proper tribute to him.

    Tonight is a biggy. You sense that if we are to qualify, tonight might well have to be that night. In particular, it’s a big one for the defence. A 0-0 draw will see us through, while a 1-1 would leave us needing to avoid disaster in the final round of games to qualify by my maths. A Porto loss in Turkey would be handy too.

    The team will be something extraordinary frankly. We’re without our first five wide players (Rosicky, Nasri, Walcott, Eboue and Diaby) and our first three right-backs (Eboue again, Sagna and Toure). Two of our top three strikers are also out.

    Could we possibly see Djourou right-back, Song and Gallas in the centre and Silvestre left-back, with Clichy left midfield? Or will Song, Denilson and Cesc be strung across the middle? I don’t know.

    Come on you Gunners!]]>

  • gadhedino

    < ![CDATA[Now, although I feel Gallas was wrong to destabilise the group and break the sanctity of the dressing room, especially just before a match, the issue of RVP hasn’t really been looked at.

    In the Guardian ( )yesterday, they said how Gallas was great mates with TH14 and Petit, both of whom dislike Van Persie and that for Gallas to have to apologise to Robin would mean he lost face with them. Could the fact that he spoke out while in France be Henry’s influence? Perhaps he felt vindicated to speak out after sharing the problem with the Arsenal old boys.

    What also struck me as weird was that the player who had fallen out with RVP was Walcott – not someone who seems contentious or egotistical in any way.

    Add this to the reports at the beginning of the season that Cesc had to mediate between RVP and Greedybayor and a picture builds of the disruptive influence being RVP, not Gallas (and we know he has been so in the past for Arsenal and Holland).

    Furthermore, last year when team spirit seemed to be at its best, RVP was injured for large periods.

    Our team is made up largely of French, African and a few Spanish players. Robin is the only Dutch and nearly the only northern European player there, apart from Bendtner (who seems to share his youthful arrogance). Is the difference cultural?

    Remember in the summer, Robin spoke out about how Arsenal need to pay its stars better or lose them? Well last week he was offered a huge wage increase and new contract and perhaps this is what prompted Gallas to break his silence at this point. He sees a cocky young player, out of form, often injured and recently suspended for a petty and avoidable red card and Arsenal reward him with a better deal. One of Gallas main gripes was how much the young players get paid compared to other clubs and then they rest on their laurels. Similarly, Mark Bright commented this morning that he felt sorry for Gallas because younger players have no respect for senior pros anymore and he had difficulties with many young upstarts at the end of his career.

    So while we’re quick to hang Gallas for speaking out and being selfish, is RVP getting away with being the over-indulged, over-paid trouble maker?]]>

  • gadhedino

    < ![CDATA[Now, although I feel Gallas was wrong to destabilise the group and break the sanctity of the dressing room, especially just before a match, the issue of RVP hasn’t really been looked at.

    In the Guardian yesterday, they said how Gallas was great mates with TH14 and Petit, both of whom dislike Van Persie and that for Gallas to have to apologise to Robin would mean he lost face with them. Could the fact that he spoke out while in France be Henry’s influence? Perhaps he felt vindicated to speak out after sharing the problem with the Arsenal old boys.

    What also struck me as weird was that the player who had fallen out with RVP was Walcott – not someone who seems contentious or egotistical in any way.

    Add this to the reports at the beginning of the season that Cesc had to mediate between RVP and Greedybayor and a picture builds of the disruptive influence being RVP, not Gallas (and we know he has been so in the past for Arsenal and Holland).

    Furthermore, last year when team spirit seemed to be at its best, RVP was injured for large periods.

    Our team is made up largely of French, African and a few Spanish players. Robin is the only Dutch and nearly the only northern European player there, apart from Bendtner (who seems to share his youthful arrogance). Is the difference cultural?

    Remember in the summer, Robin spoke out about how Arsenal need to pay its stars better or lose them? Well last week he was offered a huge wage increase and new contract and perhaps this is what prompted Gallas to break his silence at this point. He sees a cocky young player, out of form, often injured and recently suspended for a petty and avoidable red card and Arsenal reward him with a better deal. One of Gallas main gripes was how much the young players get paid compared to other clubs and then they rest on their laurels. Similarly, Mark Bright commented this morning that he felt sorry for Gallas because younger players have no respect for senior pros anymore and he had difficulties with many young upstarts at the end of his career.

    So while we’re quick to hang Gallas for speaking out and being selfish, is RVP getting away with being the over-indulged, over-paid trouble maker?]]>

  • realist

    < ![CDATA[Arsene Wenger had to be realistic in this situation.

    He had to bring Gallas back.

    And he had to make Cesc Fabregas his captain. He was the only candidate for the job.

    William Gallas, a world class defender, is an intense introvert who cares too much, as I've always said. And when Gallas became skipper, the pressure became too much for his particular temperament. That was why he sometimes behaved as he did.

    As Wenger explained on Monday, "He took all the team's problems to heart."

    Gallas has issues few people know about but he's still the best defender at the club. And by far the most experienced. I feel sorry for him. He has been restored because the team needs him against Dynamo Kiev and Chelsea .

    Intelligent, loyal and honest, Cesc Fabregas is Arsenal's best player.

    As a character, Fabregas is the finest footballer in the Premier League. He has achieved a helluva lot at 21 and won Euro 2008 with Spain on June 29. Having played in Spain's balanced team, which has electric strikers who are far superior to Ade and RVP, and having played with Senna, a model anchorman, and Casillas, a superb goalkeeper, he knows what is missing at Arsenal.

    Will Fabregas wait around while a team is built round him? Yes. Should he wait around while Wenger grows a team around him? No. Because he only has one career. Fabregas should not have to babysit Denilson when he is only 21 himself. If the manager keeps buying kids, Cesc should go elsewhere and play in a team of men, a team that knows how to defend, how to win trophies.

    But I hope he stays for another two or three years. While I could never imagine Arsenal winning a trophy with Thierry Henry as captain, I CAN imagine Fabregas lifting one up.

    Recently, Arsenal has let Fabregas down by making him play in a weak team.

    They now need him far more than he needs them. But he is sincerely grateful for the opportunities Wenger has given him. And he would like to repay the club by helping them to win trophies. Nobody doubts that. Fabregas has never let Arsenal down. He's contributed more to AFC than anybody of his age has ever done, so we all wish him well.

    It's up to Arsene Wenger to create a team worthy of his new captain.

    Don't say : he's only one player. He's far more than that. Just as you'll never see anybody as gifted as Bergkamp again, and you'll never again see any halfback as majestic as Patrick Vieira in his pomp, neither will you see another teenage midfielder who can read the game and pass the ball as astutely as Cesc Fabregas.

    Good luck, Cesc. We believe in your ability and character. We hope you stay at Arsenal. But most of us think you should be playing in a team of men.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[my line-up would be

    —————————almunia—————————
    gallas———djourou———silvestre———clichy
    —————————–song—————————–
    ————-ramsey—————–cesc——————
    vanpersie————-bendtner—————vela——]]>