Arsene Wenger has taken a risk in giving the armband to someone so young but I really feel he’s made the right decision. Fabregas is a natural leader, has a never-say-die attitude and is highly respected by his teammates. He’s the perfect man to take this young squad into what is certain to be a new era for the club.
Fabregas had this to say about receiving the armband:
“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.”
Nothing you wouldn’t expect in those comments. But the unique thing about Fabregas is that when he says something like this he gives the overwhelming feeling that he absolutely means it. That’s why he’ll be a popular choice amongst the players and fans alike, especially the ones who have been supporting the club before the manager bought such a strong international flavour to the club. He might be Spanish but he’s shown that he’s Arsenal through and through and it’s great to see such a loyal and passionate young man rewarded with a great opportunity.
The manager has chosen to remain tight-lipped about just why Fabregas has been appointed, choosing instead to focus his attention on William Gallas. Wenger has given the outgoing captain his backing by reinstating him for the Kiev match and challenging him to make a fresh start. I think recalling him is the right decision given our injury crisis, but it will be interesting to see how he performs given the tumultuous week just passed.
Although the manager was far from talkative about Fabregas the same cannot be said of his press conference buddy Gael Clichy. He was full of compliments for the new captain, praising him for his responsibility and character as well as recognising the new era that Fabregas’ appointment will bring. In his own words:
“It is a new start and I hope Cesc will do well. 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. I’m really happy for him and I’m sure he will do well.”
He’s such a positive guy, Clichy, and I think the decision made by the manager to have the Frenchman accompany him to the pre-Kiev press conference was quite clever. He was only ever going to be full of praise and of all the players in the squad you’d be hard-pressed to find a more agreeable and loyal one amongst them. I just have a little feeling that Clichy will be promoted to vice-captain next season over Manuel Almunia and Kolo Toure and I think it will be the right decision. Indeed, I don’t think many people would argue with a leadership team of Fabregas and Clichy going into next season.
Although the appointment of Fabregas is sure to improve spirits going into tonight’s game against Kiev there are still big issues with the squad. Samir Nasri and Abou Diaby have joined Emmanuel Adebayor, Emmanuel Eboue, Theo Walcott, Kolo Toure, Bacary Sagna, Eduardo and Tomas Rosicky on the injury table and we’re looking very light-on, particularly out wide. Indeed, as far as I can tell there’s not one out-an-out winger available aside from Jack Wilshere and that’s not an ideal situation to be in.
The back four looks like it will consist of Johan Djourou, Mikael Silvestre as well as Clichy and Gallas but it’s anyone’s guess as to how they’ll line up. If I was the manager I’d be putting Gallas at right-back not to prove a point but simply because I think he’s more comfortable out wide than Djourou. The other option is to stick with Gavin Hoyte but his confidence might be a bit down after a tough time against City.
New captain Fabregas will surely be joined by Denilson in the middle with two of Alex Song, Aaron Ramsey or Jack Wilshere. I have a feeling that Carlos Vela will start alongside Robin van Persie tonight and I feel the Mexican’s movement and pace will give our attack the mobility it has lacked in the past two games. Regular readers will know I’m a fan of Nicklas Bendtner but it’s clear to me that the van Persie-Bendtner combination is not working at the moment and with Vela in great form he deserves to be given a chance.
Anyway, that’s all for today in a very positive blog. The Kiev game is live on SBS in Australia at 5.30am tomorrow and I’m intrigued to see how things pan out. I’m looking forward to seeing how the fans react to Fabregas as captain as well as Gallas if he starts. I’m looking forward to seeing how they both perform in their new roles and whether the players who played so poorly against City can step things up and get the three points required to qualified for the next round.
It should be a great game. Enjoy it. Up the Arsenal!
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