The Case Of Cesc Fabregas

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Post by messixaviesta on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 17:37

I am surprised no such thread exists. At least I could not find one. So decided to create one.

Is this the story of a player who started at a very high point and then essentially just slipped lower and lower to the point at which he is today, easily his lowest ever? It seems like almost all of his best and most memorable performances and moments came in the very early days of his career.

The first time I think he hit the limelight was in the beginning of 2006 in the UCL quarter final between Arsenal and Juventus first leg. Not only were the Old Lady comprehensively beaten but the key hero of the triumph was an eighteen year old prodigy. At that time he was essentially the second brightest teenage player around, behind only the peerless Lionel Messi.

Next season none less than Thierry Henry said that Fabregas is now more important for Arsenal than even the French legend himself. Once Henry moved out of Arsenal in the summer of 2007 there was no doubt who was the superstar of the Gunners. Fabregas started the 2007-08 season in such breathtaking form that for some time it was even claimed that the departure of Henry had been for the better. One standout game was when the Gunners knocked out the reigning European champions Milan with Cesc playing a stellar role. The season had a sad end for Cesc and that too for no fault of his. Instead it was mostly about Arsenal employing a guy called Philippe Senderos in central defense.

On to Euro 2008. In spite of being in top form Fabregas still couldn't find a place in Spain's starting lineup. He did not let that deter him though. Instead his was possibly the greatest super-sub performance I have ever seen at an international tournament.

During these years he was consistently racking up very high assist numbers.

Fabregas started the 2009-10 season in top form but faded towards the end and this is where the rosy path that we have been traversing so far will not so slowly start changing into a thorny one.

At WC 2010 not only did Fabregas not get a starting place but really struggled for minutes even as a substitute.

I think he played the 2010-11 season on lower morale having developed the desire to leave Arsenal.

At this time let us also look at the changes within him as a player. I remember having discussed this with dani some years ago. Fabregas had started as a wonderful deep lying midfielder but an obsession with goal scoring for which perhaps Wenger is also to blame made him go forward so often that he began to lose touch with some of the essentials of midfield play. In hindsight it seems that this could be one of the major reasons for the somewhat shocking downturn his career later took.

Then of course we move to his transfer to Barcelona. In just my view this is one of the worst cases of lose-lose ever in which almost no one benefited. Fabregas failed at Barcelona and that did not come as too much of a surprise. The key reasons for this could be enumerated as his inability to evade markers, his poor off the ball movement, his slowing down the team's game and his not so high work rate.

In Euro 2012 he played way out of position as a false number 9.

To me it seemed that his leaving Barcelona could give him a much needed silver lining and the initial signs were promising.  He played well in the first half of the 2014-15 season contributing to Chelsea's EPL victory. At this time there was one more accusation being levied at him that he had developed the tendency to start a season strong and then tail off in the second half. As anyone following football is well aware it's the business end of the season that matters so much more and that's where Fabregas has been found wanting in the last few years.

Still a counter attacking EPL team like Chelsea might be his best bet is what I had thought. If not as one of the deep lying midfielders he could shine as the trequartista. That's why it came as a major shock to me when Conte decided to bench him in favor of Matic and Oscar and was even quite willing to let him go.

What do you think of him as a player and where do you think his career went wrong and why? What do you think would be best for him at this point?

When Milan made an offer for him I had a thought whether it would be possible to play him in the Pirlo position surrounding him with several midfielders who would do all the running and dirty work for him.

Is it not too early for him to be destroyed? We are after all talking about a player who still is one of the finest final passers in the game, maybe even the very best at that.

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Post by Art Morte on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 18:03

Lack of motivation. Just look at him, you could have his picture in the dictionary where it says 'disinterested' x)

Combine that with the fact he's won tons of stuff and you get the 2016 Fabregas, a player who is no longer interested in working hard and pushing himself.
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Post by Lucifer on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 18:14

You look at him on field or off field and you get an impression that this is the guy who doesn't give feck about anything around him.
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Post by Sri on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 18:29

Waitwut - pretty sure there are already 3 such threads hmm

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Post by messixaviesta on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 18:30

He is motivated because he has won a lot? He has won two league titles. He has never won a UCL. He did win a world cup and two Euros but often struggled for minutes, was played out of position and was hardly ever seen as one of the key decisive star players.

That does not seem like a lot to me when there are players who have won everything three times over and that too as MVPs but still show no desire to stop.

Are you suggesting that he was never likely to become as ambitious and motivated as some other players or is it that his career having taken a downward spiral in the last few years has severely disillusioned him?

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Post by messixaviesta on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 18:33

@Sri wrote:Waitwut - pretty sure there are already 3 such threads hmm


I navigated through three pages and couldn't find the word Cesc or Fabregas in any thread title. If you can share a link, I would like to read the thoughts of various forum members on this subject.

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Post by rincon on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 18:46

Which team does Cesc actually suits better than their current players? He always seems like a misfit sulking around.
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Post by messixaviesta on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 18:51

@rincon wrote:Which team does Cesc actually suits better than their current players? He always seems like a misfit sulking around.


A move to Milan had sounded like a good opportunity for him but he turned it down. I cannot blame him for wanting to fight for a place for one or half of a season but players who stay at clubs for more than two seasons in spite of seeing no prospects for them there look stupid. So I will give him some time and see whether he can re-establish at Chelsea or make a good move for himself.

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Post by Valkyrja on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 18:52

He couldn't get minutes in his favorite position for Spain because Xavi, Iniesta and even Alonso were much better footballers.
Regarding his time at Barca, aside from never being suited to their game, and never being as good as many thought he was, he lost all his agility after that injury in 09-10 iirc. At Arsenal he was good though but still overhyped by the British media.

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Post by rincon on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 18:58

@messixaviesta wrote:
@rincon wrote:Which team does Cesc actually suits better than their current players? He always seems like a misfit sulking around.


A move to Milan had sounded like a good opportunity for him but he turned it down. I cannot blame him for wanting to fight for a place for one or half of a season but players who stay at clubs for more than two seasons in spite of seeing no prospects for them there look stupid. So I will give him some time and see whether he can re-establish at Chelsea or make a good move for himself.


But playing for this Milan is a lower point in his career than playing for this Chelsea. He'll just keep going down.
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Post by Sri on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 19:17

@messixaviesta wrote:
@Sri wrote:Waitwut - pretty sure there are already 3 such threads hmm


I navigated through three pages and couldn't find the word Cesc or Fabregas in any thread title. If you can share a link, I would like to read the thoughts of various forum members on this subject.


Sure thing.. I am trying to fix dinner for some guests atm, I'll try hunting them down later.. You can also try looking in the Barca/Arsenal sections..

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Post by Sri on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 19:18

@rincon wrote:Which team does Cesc actually suits better than their current players? He always seems like a misfit sulking around.


Except when he was played in a team built specifically around him - a la Arsenal of yore

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Post by jibers on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 19:20

I think there a re a few things that have contributed to the state that Fabregas is in. Cesc has been playing top level football since he was 16 and especially in a league like the EPl, where there is less emphasis on tactical structure and more dependence on individual quality, his mileage has been ridiculous. Remember, Central Midfielders along with Fullbacks are doing the most sprinting during games usually. Perhaps this has adversely affected his conditioning, meaning he cannot sustain his peak performances for more than half a season. Injuries have also added to the mileage.

His best role at Arsenal came when he was deployed in a free role as the #10. At Barcelona he just didn't fit into their schematic and he kept getting into the vertical lines that Xavi and Iniesta both played in. This showed that his football intelligence was never as high as previously thought. I think he made a passing comment saying something along the line of Pep tried giving him instructions but he wanted to play his own game. Essentially he was Barcelonas Ibra in midfield. The only reason he was tolerated is because he is Catalan and came from their youth system.

Apparently Tata said that he was a bad apple and Barcelona should get rid of him when he left Barcelona in 13/14. At Chelsea, he was needed in a double Pivote and doesn't have the free role he did at Arsenal. He lacks the dexterity and the positional intelligence to be a part of a double #6 pairing. He is slow to get back into defensive positioning etc

What all this points to is that he cannot work in a collective system where his role is restricted and he lacks both the tactical discipline and the eagerness to perform the task. I think a 433 where he plays a sort of box to box mf ala Lampard and Pogba would suit him but his ability does not warrant a manager to change a whole system for him, especially when Hazard is at Chelsea who for me is a much greater football player and is better for the collective. Alonso is possibly slower but his positioning, particularly in combination play phases is vastly superior and he works his socks off. Cesc is lazy. I can see Conte playing him as a regista in a 352 but his positional awareness is severly lacking when compared to other #6s such as Pirlo, Guardiola, Busquets and Alonso etc

He is essentially a Trequartista without the burst of acceleration and in this day and age of hybridised functional players, he is not the gem he would have been in perhaps eras gone by. Essentially, football has moved forward and left him behind. A poor mans Catalan Riquelme in every sense of the word.

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Post by messixaviesta on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 19:28

@Sri wrote:
@messixaviesta wrote:
@Sri wrote:Waitwut - pretty sure there are already 3 such threads hmm


I navigated through three pages and couldn't find the word Cesc or Fabregas in any thread title. If you can share a link, I would like to read the thoughts of various forum members on this subject.


Sure thing.. I am trying to fix dinner for some guests atm, I'll try hunting them down later.. You can also try looking in the Barca/Arsenal sections..


Thanks. I only checked in the general section. I did go to the Barca section but did not expect to find such a thread there. The Arsenal section should be a good bet.

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Post by messixaviesta on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 19:32

@rincon wrote:
@messixaviesta wrote:
@rincon wrote:Which team does Cesc actually suits better than their current players? He always seems like a misfit sulking around.


A move to Milan had sounded like a good opportunity for him but he turned it down. I cannot blame him for wanting to fight for a place for one or half of a season but players who stay at clubs for more than two seasons in spite of seeing no prospects for them there look stupid. So I will give him some time and see whether he can re-establish at Chelsea or make a good move for himself.


But playing for this Milan is a lower point in his career than playing for this Chelsea. He'll just keep going down.


It's debatable. He could have a team built around him once again after a long time. After the sale of the club settles in he could see some improvement in the quality of the squad. Most of all though he would get to play 90 minutes day in day out. Playing behind Bacca could help him to make good use of his final passing abilities. I am thinking of the last few months of Ronaldinho in Europe when he could have given so many assists except that he had Borriello in front of him. Cesc would at least have Bacca.

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Post by messixaviesta on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 19:34

@Valkyrja wrote:He couldn't get minutes in his favorite position for Spain because Xavi, Iniesta and even Alonso were much better footballers.
Regarding his time at Barca, aside from never being suited to their game, and never being as good as many thought he was, he lost all his agility after that injury in 09-10 iirc. At Arsenal he was good though but still overhyped by the British media.


That's one thing I didn't think of. If we started making a list of footballers who lost promising careers due to injuries the world would end before we could finish that list. Sad

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Post by messixaviesta on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 19:40

@jibers wrote:I think there a re a few things that have contributed to the state that Fabregas is in. Cesc has been playing top level football since he was 16 and especially in a league like the EPl, where there is less emphasis on tactical structure and more dependence on individual quality, his mileage has been ridiculous. Remember, Central Midfielders along with Fullbacks are doing the most sprinting during games usually. Perhaps this has adversely affected his conditioning, meaning he cannot sustain his peak performances for more than half a season. Injuries have also added to the mileage.

His best role at Arsenal came when he was deployed in a free role as the #10. At Barcelona he just didn't fit into their schematic and he kept getting into the vertical lines that Xavi and Iniesta both played in. This showed that his football intelligence was never as high as previously thought. I think he made a passing comment saying something along the line of Pep tried giving him instructions but he wanted to play his own game. Essentially he was Barcelonas Ibra in midfield. The only reason he was tolerated is because he is Catalan and came from their youth system.

Apparently Tata said that he was a bad apple and Barcelona should get rid of him when he left Barcelona in 13/14. At Chelsea, he was needed in a double Pivote and doesn't have the free role he did at Arsenal. He lacks the dexterity and the positional intelligence to be a part of a double #6 pairing. He is slow to get back into defensive positioning etc

What all this points to is that he cannot work in a collective system where his role is restricted and he lacks both the tactical discipline and the eagerness to perform the task. I think a 433 where he plays a sort of box to box mf ala Lampard and Pogba would suit him but his ability does not warrant a manager to change a whole system for him, especially when Hazard is at Chelsea who for me is a much greater football player and is better for the collective. Alonso is possibly slower but his positioning, particularly in combination play phases is vastly superior and he works his socks off. Cesc is lazy. I can see Conte playing him as a regista in a 352 but his positional awareness is severly lacking when compared to other #6s such as Pirlo, Guardiola, Busquets and Alonso etc

He is essentially a Trequartista without the burst of acceleration and in this day and age of hybridised functional players, he is not the gem he would have been in perhaps eras gone by. Essentially, football has moved forward and left him behind. A poor mans Catalan Riquelme in every sense of the word.


Excellent post

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Post by rwo power on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 19:52


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Post by messixaviesta on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 20:00



Thank you. Hope at least some of these are related to his current situation and not problems from his past.

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Post by rwo power on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 20:07

Well, that's why I haven't merged anything - I leave it to the people to review whether there is something useful for them ^^

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Post by Curtinho on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 20:49

I would take Cesc at Liverpool right now in a heartbeat.

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Post by messixaviesta on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 21:14

@Curtinho wrote:I would take Cesc at Liverpool right now in a heartbeat.

Can
Cesc - Wijnaldum


Klopp should have tried. You never know what can happen. Milan gave away Pirlo to Juventus in the summer of 2011 and with that four Serie A titles. Smile

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Post by futbol on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 22:17

Premier League hype + Arsenal fanbase hype + the prodigal son coming back home to Barca hype.

He was always shit.

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Post by CBarca on Fri 02 Sep 2016, 22:56

@messixaviesta wrote:
@Curtinho wrote:I would take Cesc at Liverpool right now in a heartbeat.

Can
Cesc - Wijnaldum


Klopp should have tried. You never know what can happen. Milan gave away Pirlo to Juventus in the summer of 2011 and with that four Serie A titles. Smile


Cesc would die in a defensive system where he's asked to gegenpress (that term lmao)--especially at this point in his career. I think he could be useful offensively, he's still a gifted passer and with the quickness and verticality with which Liverpool attacks, I think he could find himself near the top of the assist charts again. However defensively, positionally, mentally he would crumble at Liverpool IMO.

He's always been a poor man's Riquelme. As jibers has said, if you built a system around him and allowed him positional freedom--he'll be a valuable asset. He's talented, definitely. In any other system I would agree with futbol...he was never really that good. That's not even me kidding either (I don't know if futbol is or not)

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Post by Sri on Sat 03 Sep 2016, 00:29

@rwo power wrote:Well, that's why I haven't merged anything - I leave it to the people to review whether there is something useful for them ^^


Thanks rwo, amazing as ever :bow:

@messixaviesta wrote:


Thank you. Hope at least some of these are related to his current situation and not problems from his past.


His problems date back to when he left Arsenal, he's been pretty shit since. It's not just a new predicament.

@futbol wrote:Premier League hype + Arsenal fanbase hype + the prodigal son coming back home to Barca hype.

He was always shit.


He was legit at Arsenal because he had a team built around him such that it brought only the best out of him while the other 10 worked as a unit to cover his shortcomings. There is a reason why it was called the 'Cesc Role' and not simply CAM or AM or SS or something when he was with Arsenal. Wenger pretty much tailored the entire thing around him. That's why he flourished. He didn't have the same opportunity or position in any other team that he went to - he had to play to a system, instead of having a system built for him. He had to play alongside players much more important than him, instead of being the heart and soul of the entire unit. It was pretty obvious to a whole bunch of us that he will never replicate his Arsenal self after that. It is vindication, seeing his predicament since.

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