The Chelsea Fabregas conundrum; the Liverpool Vampire problem

By Tony Attwood, and no this is not a picture of me

Ah the Liverpool dilemma.  Or to put it at its most succinct

Insipid, confused and lacking direction, this Liverpool side makes no sense

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”.

Mourinho in x-rated tunnel blast at Martinez for ‘making him wait’ for press conference

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.

The Untold Books

30 Replies to “The Chelsea Fabregas conundrum; the Liverpool Vampire problem”

  1. Cesc oh Dear Cesc ,
    what aileth thee
    Betrayed by DNA and The La Masia gang
    Shipped across the Stmford Bridge
    into the laps of The Specialist in killing talented players For a few season of perosnal honour

    Oh Mourinho
    when will thou ceasest to play the prankster
    like a gangster ,instead of turning Stutters to star
    like Emperor Wenger
    You conjure stars into stutters

    come learn @ the feet of Wenger
    Can’t u see?
    Weah, KANU, Toure brothers , Adebayor, Lauren, KO’d the Boss , Ramsey, Bellerinho, Cow the Lin….

    Can’t u see Moo the Moan?

  2. UA, forgive me if I sound a bit dis-respective. I don’t mean to do such a thing. But please suspend all posting of articles on Chelsea vs Arsenal which is coming up on Saturday till after Arsenal have concluded their Ucl game this Wednesday away to Dinamo Zagreb. This Chelsea debates first appeared on as soon as the referee blew his final whistle to end the game between Arsenal and Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium. And I warned against such a rush. Football match being a focus game, the Gunners focus should not be distracted by them reading articles and comments on Chelsea game that is not their next match, but Dinamo Zagreb is.

  3. Some shrewd observations on Cesc, as you say, he does not look happy. Cannot imagine Pedro is over the moon either.
    Chelsea could still come to bite is at the weekend, especially if they are given help, but cannot escape the conclusion something is wrong behind the scenes. Never mind the players, the manager does not seem happy at all. Arguements with the owner? Not being allowed to spend as much as Jose is accustomed to? Jealous at what his first choice…..allegedly…Utd are allowed to spend?
    As we know, with Jose, there will be short term expensive success, then it will all end in tears, as sure as death, taxes and the arrival of the AAA when we drop points

  4. Those ill informed exaggerations will act as extra motivation for Chelsea and Cesc- who we know to be a great player going through a minor loss of form.

    When we beat Chelsea at their place- I will gloat but not before- not when our record against Mourinho has been so bad in the EPL.

    Lets see whether Mr Wenger was right to let Cesc go to Chelsea at the end of the season- last year it didn’t seem such a great decision- he was a key player when Chelsea won the league.

  5. Nice write-up Tony!

    Its very simple about Cesc; his DNA has changed – not an easy thing – but Jose is a specialist at this 🙂

  6. Reckon that it might be folly to put the knife into Cesc’s back just yet. Certainly we should wait until after the match. There appears to be trouble at mill down SW 6 but they will find a way to get up for this one. We should never count chickens it’s not advisable.

  7. Tony,
    “their owner lied consistently about the Sanchez affair”
    I think you mean the “Suarez” affair.

  8. AW didn’t take up the chance of bringing back the 2-faced Spaniard because it would have given the wrong message around the dressing room. You can’t take back a player that went ‘on strike’ to get a move away from your club in the first place. Imagine what that would do to the players. Ozil/Cech saying, “I’m not playing for arsenal again as I want my move to Bayern/Sparta prague (Or whoever) to see if it’s better there but if I don’t like it I’ll come back here as I’m actually very happy here”.

  9. Once a player has left us in not so a ‘proper’ manner , we should draw a line and move on. Why speculate about what ifs as it is never going to happen .
    He , as some others left when we really needed loyalty , commitment and believe that AW was on the right path . They turned their backs on us , and knew very well what they were doing . So please forgive me (or not !) if I don’t have sympathy for these turncoats .
    I used to seethe when we had idiots on here repeating the names of traitors as our failure to keep them , when the truth was it was they that wanted to leave.
    I don’t waste my time finding out how they are faring ,or playing as I HAVE moved on . Arsenal FC and the team AW puts out is all I care.
    But in my usual style I do have a laugh or two , or an occasional ROTFLMHO moment ! Its so cathartic !

  10. Sometimes you really should be in tandem .

    Jack and Jill have just climbed Le Alp de Huez, one of the steepest peaks in the Alps on their tandem.

    “Phew, that was a tough climb” said Jack, leaning over, breathing hard. “That climb was so hard, and we were going so slow, I thought we were never going to make it.”

    “Yeah, good thing I kept the brakes on,” said Jill, “or we’d have slid all the way back down!”

  11. The Problem Dog-

    “I’ve really had it with my dog,” said the first guy to his neighbor. “He’ll chase anyone on a bicycle”

    “Hmmm, that is a problem,” said the neighbor. “What are you thinking of doing about it?”

    “Guess the only answer is to confiscate his bike!”

  12. Lost in translation –

    A nerd was walking down the sidewalk one day when his friend, another nerd, rode up on an incredible shiny new bicycle.

    The first nerd was stunned by his friend’s sweet ride and asked, “WOW! Where did you get such a nice bike?”

    The second nerd replied, “Well, yesterday I was walking home, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up to me on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, ‘Take what you want!'”

    The second nerd nodded approvingly, “Good choice. The clothes probably wouldn’t have fit.”

  13. Silence is golden . One day this will be us on UA , when all of ‘them’ fall off !

    A tandem rider is stopped by a police car.

    “What’ve I done, officer?” asks the rider.

    “Perhaps you didn’t notice sir, but your wife fell off your bike half a mile back . . .”

    “Oh, thank God for that,” says the rider – “I thought I’d gone deaf!”

  14. Do you know the punishment for bigamy? Two mothers-in-law.

    Just think, if it weren’t for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all.

    If you want your wife to listen and pay attention to every word you say, talk in your sleep.

  15. Q : What’s the difference between a poorly dressed man on a tricycle and a well dressed man on a bicycle?

    A : Attire

  16. Tony
    Wasn’t Arsenal’s first right of refusal to get Cesc back from Barca at £35M?
    If so, then not exactly “on the cheap” ,was it.
    Besides he did help Chelsea win the title didn’t he.

    In marketing terms then he was well worth it for them.

    Cesc and Chelsea are going through a slump which is great news for us since we play them on Saturday, but I would reserve your gloating until we actually get a result against them.

    If we lose, then we will go into the following match against the in form Foxes , and the best performer in the league thus far ( Mahrez)in a must win scenario.
    Failing to get at least three points in the next two games might put us too far back off City and out of the title race in September.

    Gloating is so overrated especially five games in.

  17. First dally into the CL tomorrow, this makes a pleasant change.
    See we’ve got some youth on the bench, hope to see some of them play.
    (Looking for our own 19yr old to hit the mark too. 🙂 )
    Anyway, the season is now well under way, hope the lads increase their form now, there are 4 cups waiting for us. 🙂

  18. ‘ As I got older , I learned that pleasing everyone was impossible , but pissing everyone was a piece of cake !’

  19. Interesting reflections on Fabregas. This reminds me of an interesting trend with Wenger decisions. For most of his time at Arsenal he has refused to resign players who have chosen to leave Arsenal. This has been despite that fact that some of them have virtually publicly begged him to do so (Song, Hleb, Fabregas, Petit). This rule seems to have eased up a bit recently with a few aged favourites returning for a late cameo – Henry, Campbell, Flamini. However, it is still noticeable that Wenger doesn’t make mistakes here. When Song became available, he looked just like what Arsenal needed, but Wenger declined. The same is true of Fabregas. Fabregas initially looked good for Chelsea and I wondered if Wenger had made a mistake, but no it seems he was right again.

    In fact, the fate of players leaving Arsenal is generally dire. A whole series of world class talents from Anelka to Song have destroyed their careers by exiting. It is difficult to think of any exceptions to this rule in nearly 20 years. Even Henry and Viera never recaptured their Arsenal form. Wenger’s record with new signings may be mixed, but his record with letting players go and deciding whether or not to resign them is incredibly good. The only real exception was Cashley, who’s post-Arsenal career was as good as (but not better than – he was an invincible after all) his Arsenal one. Whatever you think of him, I think this proves a certain strength of character. Actually the failure of Arsenal leavers is a bit strange. It is interesting to reflect on why this is so: Is it because Wenger has such a positive influence on their careers that they decline without that influence? Or is it that Wenger is an impeccable judge of when an player is declining and subtly ‘lets them go’? Or is it just luck (consistently for 20 years?)

  20. I have to say Tim, Song never looked like being what we needed, he hadn’t learnt from his time in Spain and was still doing the same old shit.

    I think the reason why they don’t do as well elsewhere is Wenger’s unparalleled ability to put a team together, he knows the way synergy develops and what kind of players need to do what, and go where. It’s a jigsaw puzzle, and the pieces never fit quite as well into other pictures.

  21. DR – you’re right.

    There is the simplest of explanations why players don’t have the same success after leaving Arsenal. Arsenal play as a team. The player who thinks he is superb & can do it anywhere finds out quickly that not all teams play the same game.

    Petit was the player that Wenger should have taken back because of his partnership with Viera.

    Wenger does not only let players go for footballing reasons. He has moral reasons & also lets disruptive players go.

  22. Tim, the common denominator with Henry, Campbell and Flamini was that they were free agents who he allowed to train at Colney, so he could judge whether they were worth a cheap’ish gamble. Would Song have come back with the right attitude after he caused training ground issues to force his Barca move in the first place? Probably but not really a gamble worth paying a transfer fee for.

  23. Man is free to make whatever choices he wishes, but he is not free of the consequences that his choices bring to his life. An alcoholic, for example, can buy liquor and a diabetic can intake sugar through palatable sweet dishes. However, when the defining moment of such decisions takes effect on his life – ironically when his life itself is in perilous danger, the desire to adhere to discipline and stringent control becomes stronger

  24. @ Brickfields, you my friend, are the best! On Fabre-pass as a friend of mine was wont to call him in his Arsenal days, I have absolutely no sympathy for him. He won the league with ‘them’ last season? So what? He won it a little later than he should have. With us.

    What makes anyone think he couldn’t have won the league with Arsenal if he and his co-turncoats in RVP, Nasri and Song, had stayed? Imagine an Arsenal team consisting of these and playing without turned heads (and hearts) for a year or two more for AW? To think Wenger built his team around them, gave them his full confidence when it was most unpopular (and actually stupid) to do so. It may seem a little too early to some, that Fabregas is not yet washed up and all that. Big deal. Who care? Take a look at a certain Robin van Something to see the light.

    Who wants to bet against THIS Arsenal team winning the EPL this season? Compare the odds to Chelsea winning the league come May 2016…

    Tony, you done a darn good job man! Well done. Give yourself a pat on the back for me!

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