By Tony Attwood, and no this is not a picture of me
Ah the Liverpool dilemma. Or to put it at its most succinct
That is the Telegraph, and I have left the link in this time, just to prove we don’t make this stuff up. By the look of the picture above it seems the manager rather agrees.
The press really have rather got it in for Liverpool at the moment, which is interesting, considering the easy ride they gave them earlier, not least when their owner lied consistently about the Sanchez affair.
However the main target at the moment is an old chum of ours…
Fabregas has become a liability for Chelsea
Poor ol’ Cesc he’s been going downhill for a fair ol’ time, which is actually why Barcelona decided that having implanted their DNA in him (remember all that DNA in his blood stuff?) decided to let him go. And also explains why Mr Wenger chose not to put in a bid, even though he could have had Cesc on the cheap.
Quite possibly Jose Mourinho only had the scaliwag to try and rub Arsenal’s collective noses in it, and that has rather backfired. Yes Chelsea have been on a good run against us, but they are not doing quite so well at the moment.
Another headline, this one in the Independent, pronounced,
Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas go missing as Steven Naismith shines with a perfect hat-trick
while back in the Tele their moral outrage was outraged as they proclaimed, Mourinho in x-rated rant at Martinez and spoke further of “foul-mouthed attack from Chelsea manager after champions’ defeat at Goodison Park”.
Isn’t it funny how few ways the media, supposedly written by men whose job it is to, sort of, well, write, can’t ever go beyond “foul mouthed attack” and “rant” and stuff. The Independent did at least find “blast” instead of “rant” but were still stuck on “x-rated”.
Now X-rated in the UK means a film that can only be seen by those aged over 18. So are we really saying that the phrase “fucking hell” (or “f**king hell as the delicate yobos in the Sun would say) is one that anyone under 18 never uses? If so those journalists ought to spend an afternoon at a barbeque in the middle class village in which I live and listen to the six year olds.
But anyway, the decision has to be made, we are told, “over whether the time has come to drop Cesc Fabregas.” A player who is described by the know-it-all chappies from the papers as “now a passenger, his attacking influence blunted, his energy levels depleted and his confidence apparently shattered.”
Elsewhere: “Fabregas’ influence on Chelsea has been waning ever since the turn of the year, and if Mourinho hoped that an extended post-season break might resuscitate his marquee signing from last summer, he has been horribly mistaken.”
So what is it that tells us that once again Mr W was absolutely right on not to buy the broken Cesc?
The reason is that the average number of goals Fabregas has scored or set up, and the number of chances he has created per game has gone down down down.
At Arsenal Cesc was not used as a goal machine until 2009/10 when he scored 19 in 36 games. The following season he scored nine in 36. Overall he scored 57 in 303 games. Fractionally under 19%.
For Barcelona his scoring record shot up – 42 in 151, but that was because of the particular way in which he was played. Just under 28%.
For Chelsea in his first season it was 5 in 47 and 0 in 6 this season. That is 10.6% – way under even the modest return at Arsenal.
At the start of last season, Cesc was undoubtedly producing the goods for Chelsea, delivering over three goal scoring chances a game. But the figures were into a downward spiral. Now it is one per game, and no goals for himself.
In fact all his numbers have collapsed entirely this season: the Spaniard has yet to be responsible for a goal is creating, on average, just one chance per game.
It is a similar tale when it comes to Fabregas’ passing where he passing far less than he was a year ago, and with many more of the little buggers going astray. In the game against Everton only one Fabregasian pass found a Chelsea player in the Everton penalty area.
Instead the new Fabregas honed carefully by the master Mourinho has led the player to create square passes 40 yards from goal.
Now this is the sort of pass Gilberto Silva produced, only in his case he did it after deftly taking the ball off the foot of an opposition player. Take and pass, take and pass, always always. It was stunning to watch. (Incidentally it was a comparison with Gilberto that made a very tiny number of us rave over Coquelin from the off, because he not only did the take and pass, he also could do the 40 yard pass with accuracy. The only problem was that sometimes it went wrong, and then spectators tended to forget the intercept and remember the mis-placed pass. But some still had faith.)
Of course it is true that Cesc is now playing further back. It is also true, at least this is how it looks to me watching on TV, that Cesc don’t like that much.
What is really interesting is that Cesc is being played further back, just as Santi Cazorla has been. But while Santi has flourished in his change of position and accepted it willingly, the feeling is that Cesc is mightily pissed off, or simply can’t hack it this far behind the attack. It certainly looks a bit as if he remembers 2009/10 when he scored 15 in 27 league games and thinks that this is how it should be – by rights.
The question was, why did Barcelona decide the drop Cesc, the player they had gone to so much bother to try and get? The answer is something Chelsea should have wondered about – but didn’t.
For we all knew that once the holiday season was over Cesc went a bit downhill, and that the moment when he changed from asset to liability was getting earlier each season. But Mourinho, always one to aim for one-upmanship has turned this into the whole season of going downhill by getting Cesc back into training very late. Which actually was stupid.
So Cesc. To drop or not to drop when he faces Arsenal. I suspect the Mourinho character will get it wrong, whatever he does.
- 14 September 1996: Tony Adams admitted he was an alcoholic. He recovered however, to become the first player ever to captain a league winning team in three different decades.
- 14 September 1999: Piorentina 0 Arsenal 0. It was the start of the second season of playing Champions League games at Wembley. Arsenal won only one of the games, and the experiment came to an end, although it showed Arsenal could get crowds of over 70,000 when space was available.
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