Despite the perennial overtures from those pesky European champions Barcelona, Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has continued to pledge his future to the Gunners and long may that resistance continue because the Spanish star – and one of the top 5 midfielders in the world – remains the single most influential player Arsene Wenger has at his disposal.
What can you say to Gunners fans to reassure them that this year will see an end to the trophy drought Arsenal have experienced?
Our style and philosophy of playing the game has remained consistent for a long time now and I am sure it will soon pay dividends. We are a young team but we are ready and the experience of Arsene Wenger will help to bring the best out of all of us. We remain confident of achieving success.
The pressure must be building though….?
Of course we are under pressure to win the title because Arsenal is a big club and expectations are always high. But the other challengers have spent huge amounts of money in recent years to build their squads and perhaps they are the ones who are under the most pressure because of this investment. Arsenal has a long-term vision for the future.
And what about the team’s style, will it need changing to win trophies?
I do not believe the manager will ever change the way he wants the team to play. I am sure that whenever we win the title, we will achieve it playing good, attractive football. We only know how to play one way and it would be treason to abandon our style of play.
Can you win the Premier League itself?
Nothing is ever impossible. We are not the favourites this season but we truly believe we can we can fight for the championship. We were unlucky at Old Trafford against United but we proved we are ready for the battle with our great victory against Everton on the opening day. This team is maturing and growing in confidence all the time.
Aren’t Manchester City your big dangers for a Champions League place?
City have made a strong start to the season and when you look at the players they have signed in the summer, I think they will be aspiring to win the title and not just finishing in the top four. When you have a team with players like Robinho, Adebayor, Tevez and Wright-Phillips, you must believe you can challenge for the trophy.
I have to say I feel lucky to be at Arsenal and be part of the club’s philosophy. Here we prefer to develop young players and give then their chance as I was given my chance when I was a teenager and that is a situation I am comfortable. Other clubs can spend what they like but we are happy with the way we do things at Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger didn’t sign a defensive midfielder in the transfer window, did that surprise you?
People always say we need a defensive midfielder but I think there are players in the squad who can fill this role. In a short time, Abou Diaby will be one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe although it is not his natural position and Eboue can also perform well in that role. We have many options so the team does not lose its balance.
What do you think about Arsenal’s Champions League group? Is it one of the easier ones?
If I am being completely sincere I must admit that we did not have one of the worst draws for the Champions League but neither do I think it will be as easy as some people are trying to suggest, as the first match proved. Olympiakos are a team with a lot of European experience and they play at a home stadium that has a very intimidating atmosphere meaning it’s difficult to win there. The Greeks often pass the group stages too so have a proven record. As for Standard Liege and AZ Alkmaar, they are young teams with plenty of talent that aren’t afraid of us. Both of these teams have a style of play that has a striking resemblance to the way Arsenal plays and are sure to fancy the opportunity they have to try and beat us.
Footballers have gained a reputation for being out of touch these days. How do you keep your feet on the ground?
“My parents have been a big influence on me and they taught me how to be myself, to remain true to myself at all times. Also, I had to grow up quickly when I felt home as a teenager to sign for Arsenal, so I believe I am mature for my age. I left my family and my home city when I was very young and had to learn quickly about myself. I will never forget where I have come from and how hard I had to work to achieve my ambitions.”
How do you feel you have changed as person since you left Spain?
“I’m definitely a calmer person now. When I was younger, if we lost a match I was so angry but today I am more relaxed because defeat is sometimes unavoidable. Controlling your emotions when you are on the pitch is very important but it is also important when you are not playing. It is an important lesson I have learned from the manager.”
What targets do you set yourself at the start of each new season?
“The first and most important ambition is to enjoy myself, to take pleasure from every match. I am still young, so there is still much for me to learn about the game and for me to improve my standards. Each season I aim to surpass the number of goals I scored in the previous one and I am also always trying to improve my touch with left foot.”
Finally, can you tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know?
“What I would really love is to be able to go to university to study. Because I moved to England when I was a teenager my education was interrupted and I hope to be able to pick it up again one day. My ambition is to gain a qualification in physical education.”
Thanks to Cesc Fabregas for the interview and I’ll leave you today with a great video of our captain’s brilliant football brain at work…
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