Random Thoughts And Biblical References On Cesc’s London Return
The disappointment from that game continues to linger among Arsenal fans. After gaining command of that all-important third place, the latest reversal now heaps pressure on us once again. Any slip-up in the London derby at the weekend has the potential to completely derail the excellent work of the previous two months.
Our rivals in that derby take on Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge tonight. While everyone expects Barca to knock the Blues senseless, Chelski have provided a stiff test to the Catalans in recent seasons. Of course, those results were in the Mourinho days and the Blues look a lot more open and vulnerable defensively than they ever did when the Portugueser was in charge. Still, it is something the Blues will probably take heart from.
From an Arsenal perspective, a heavy beating by Barca would be helpful to our cause on Saturday. On the other hand, a good performance by Chelski in a draw or even a defeat, will give them a massive lift especially after the 5-1 drubbing of Spuds at Wembley a few days ago.
Birthday boy Woijiech Szczesny thinks the Blues might sneak in draw at home tonight but will be comprehensively beaten by the Catalans at the Nou Camp. His words show just how difficult players perceive a trip to the Catalan stadium, a fortress if there every was one.
The Champions Legue semis hail the temporary reappearance in London of Barcelona’s prodigal son who returned home last summer. Cesc Fabregas invites metamorphic comparison to the biblical character who squandered all his wealth on wild living, before realising the error of his ways and returned home to beg forgiveness from his father.
Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.
– Luke 15:29-30, World English Bible
So Cesc came to London when he was 16 and squandered his talents playing for Arsenal, running all over the pitch and doing what he liked. Then he begged forgiveness and a transfer from Papa Guardiola and his father took him back into his fold for a pittance of what he was actually worth and Cesc was ever grateful for that, having learned and grown as a person.
Cesc actually spoke thus yesterday:
I’ve learned a lot, especially tactically. At Arsenal I was free to do whatever I wanted and tactically I wasn’t good at all.
Here I have to work much more for the team and be married to my position – I can’t just go wherever I want to. I have to think tactically, and that’s the thing I feel I have improved on. I feel more mature as a player.
It makes me sick. More so because I know it is true. Cesc has definitely learned to be more tactically aware and looks to be developing into a much more well-round player.
The main reason for this of course, is because unlike at Arsenal, the Barca team is not built around him. The Catalans have their own wanderer in Lionel Messi and Fabregas has to be content with being disciplined in the role assigned to him.
There is also the news of Robin van Persie’s visit to the Barca hotel in London, right after the Wigan loss. The media are questioning if this is the start of the end for Van Persie’s Arsenal career. Of course, there is a far simpler explanation for this. Robin was visiting Dutch teammate and good friend Ibrahim Afellay, besides maybe saying hello to Cesc Fabregas as well. But why let facts get in the way of selling newspapers.
It is a warning for Arsenal though, to wrap up the Van Persie contract issue as early in the summer as possible. The longer it takes to reach an agreement (or otherwise), the more pressure the media will heap on the club by reading between the lines – even if the paper is totally blank.
Back tomorrow with more thoughts on the Arsenal. Cheer up.