Cesc: A skipper to rally round?
FourFourTwo's Deputy Editor Matthew Weiner on the new chief Gunner...
So Cesc is captain. ItÃ¢ÂÂs everything that Arsenal fans dreamed of, isnÃ¢ÂÂt it? The GunnersÃ¢ÂÂ one genuine world-class player, talisman and altogether good egg is now the clubÃ¢ÂÂs statesman.
No longer will the Emirates faithful have to cheer through greeted teeth for the unlovable William Gallas, who may have had an unerring ability to score crucial goals but was never truly accepted.
Maybe it was all the over-zealous fist-pumping or self-conscious team talks for the Sky cameras, but Willy was never a true captain Ã¢ÂÂ and you didnÃ¢ÂÂt need to witness the Birmingham debacle to see that.
The French stopper was always hard to love Ã¢ÂÂ and not just because he was considered by many Arsenal fans as a Chelsea interloper. Despite his softly spoken voice, the man appears to have an unusually caustic character.
Willy and Fab: Past and future?
When he left Stamford Bridge in acrimonious circumstances there were rumours that he had threatened to score an own goal unless he was allowed to leave. At the time it was felt by some that this story may have been put out by a Chelsea board suffering from sour grapes.
However, recent events suggest that such behaviour may not be beyond the pail for Monsieur Gallas who, as one tabloid journo wrote today, has proved to be the worst skipper since Heather Mills.
In his place steps a young man who rightfully should have been given the armband a season ago. Wenger made an error when he stripped Gilberto of the captaincy; the widely respected and well-liked Brazilian only heard the news via the internet.
To do such a thing would have been far more forgivable if the replacement had been Cesc, a man who knows how to do the right thing off as well as on the pitch.
When rumours surfaced once again in summer 2007 that Fabregas was being courted by Barcelona and Real Madrid, the Spaniard swiftly declared his intention to stay in North London Ã¢ÂÂ actions contrasting starkly with that of his more mercenary team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor.
"Come here and say that"
For this willingness to cut through the rumours that give football supporters sleepless nights, Arsenal fans were truly thankful and it is for reasons such as this that they are grateful to now have a captain that they can truly be proud of.
Only time will tell what the captaincy will do to Fabregas. Can he turn around the clubÃ¢ÂÂs fortunes? Will he turn around his own recent dip in form? And more to the point, can he resist the overtures of those rich European clubs?
After all, Arsenal have got an unfortunate habit of selling their skippers Ã¢ÂÂ think Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira. Crucially, however, both of these players were moved on by Wenger only once he had squeezed the best years out of them. If the same can one day be said about Cesc Fabregas, then Arsenal fans will be only too happy.
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