Thoughts on Cesc, Rosicky and Fabianski’s roles in the team

There’s not too much Arsenal news floating around today (it often happens on a Thursday when we have a Sunday game, with the manager’s press conference not until the afternoon) with the best of it coming from the mouths of Cesc Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky and Lukasz Fabianski.

Cesc has stated that he believes this week’s opponents Manchester City are now a tital rival, Rosicky added that the difference between Chelsea and Arsenal is an absence of killer instinct in front of goal while Fabianski has remarked that he is feeling more confident on the pitch. But instead of commenting on their remarks – which are all spot on and bare little discussion – I’d like to give some opinion on the three players in question.

Starting with Cesc, I think it was noticeable how much he has been missed during his injury lay-off. It’s not so much that we rely on him to do everything but his presence in the team – much like Michael Ballack when he plays for Germany – has such a galvanising impact on the rest of the team. Players like Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri can appear hindered by the pinch of responsibility, Andrey Arshavin’s exquisite footballing brain is misunderstood and young players like Jack Wilshere are not permitted to express themselves as completely as when Cesc is on the pitch.

The captain was rusty against Shakhtar Donetsk but he still oozed class. His return allowed Arsene Wenger to play a midfield trio with a rare quality: three players who could pass, tackle and cover for each other in each midfield role, a sentiment supported by Zonal Marking’s tactical piece about the game. His awareness and positioning is so good that it secures the midfield in defence and he is so reliable in possession that the runs of players further forward become more frequent and natural.

If Cesc goes at the end of this season as expected, we still have enough quality to cover for him. But if he stays, Wilshere keeps developing and Aaron Ramsey can get back to form then next season we will have a midfield the envy of every side in Europe, including Barcelona and Chelsea.

Rosicky and Cesc share a laugh on the training ground

Moving onto Rosicky and in my opinion the Czech man has been the quiet achiever of this season. His performances have been consistently impressive and whenever he has been introduced from the bench he improved the team. He is still not scoring enough goals for a player in his position but the feeling I get if he can just nab one, the floodgates may open.

Rosicky has more defensive awareness than any of the other players who start across the front three and this may be important in the bigger games later in the season. Wenger has often used Emmanuel Eboue on the right side of attack to give the side balance with Arshavin allergic to defending on the other flank, but this is a role that Rosicky is also fit to play.

What has also been notable about Rosicky’s participation in the team this season is that it has been carefully managed by Wenger. It is clear that he is still nursing him back from his terrible long-term injury ordeal and wants to prolong his career for as long as possible. Baring all this in mind if Rosicky can bang in a couple of goals and continue to prove his fitness, he may well be called upon more consistently in the later stages of the season.

Finally today, Fabianski. What a story his is turning out to be.

It would be foolish to conclude that Fabianski has proved everybody wrong, that he is now a top goalkeeper and he deserves to have the No1 jersey. But since his return to the side he has not put a foot or indeed, a hand, wrong.

Since the joyous moment of his Belgrade penalty save Fabianski has looked a new man. Despite the loss to Chelsea he put in a flawless display, making a number of good saves and commanding his area with ease. Against Birmingham he was called upon less often from shots but looked even better in the air. His confident last minute diving catch, a moment greatly appreciated by Eboue and Alex Song, revealed a man who is happier and more comfortable than he has ever been at the club.

I made a comment back in August that Fabianski “has the same nuggety feel of Victor Valdes, a player who for his first two seasons in the Barcelona first team combined brilliant shot-stopping performances with some horrendous errors”. They can both look a bit scrambled at times but just as Valdes has kicked on to become a spectacular mainstay in the Barcelona starting team if Fabianski can continue this form, it won’t be long until he holds the same distinction at Arsenal.

There is obviously a long way to go but the signs are good and as far as a footballing story goes, Fabianski’s has the chance to be one of the more romantic in the past few years.


Have your say on Cesc, Rosicky and Fabianski by leaving a comment.


The editor and chief writer of AFCB, Andrew Weber is the man who started it all. An analytical and thoughtful writer, Andy has been entertaining readers of the blog for over three years and is also a keen football culture connoisseur.



  1. You could not have described it better. I would only like to comment on Rosicky. I think you are dead right on his evaluation this season. He has been our best player(according to me) this season though he does not have goals to speak for that. But his contribution both in offense and in defense. In last match he made a crucial tackle tracking the Shaktar’s winger. Thats what Arshavin lacks and he does not make those silly passes which puts our defense in danger. Though I am a bit disappointed in his playing time but I think Arsene has some plans for him(as you have specified) to prolong his playing career..
    P.S. I too believe we would beat City though it would be a close match

  2. It’s great to see Rosicky playing so many games (for club and country). He must have hit some sort of personal record for consecutive games at Arsenal! He is a good player to have around and I agree that he is quite capable of improving.

  3. I agree with everything you wrote. Cesc is the talisman of the team, he has that rare ability to lift other players by his presence on the park. Arsenal have looked lost at times this season without his guiding influence.
    Rosicky is a quality player and I’m sure we haven’t seen the best of him yet. Watching him control and distribute the ball is worth the price of admission.
    As Wegner has said, we’re now seeing the Fabianski he sees in training all the time. I’d still like to see Schwartzer come in during the January window and take on a player/keeper coaching role but his performance against Birmingham was an 8.5 out of 10.
    The biggest improver of the season without doubt is Wilshere. He has the ability to do Cesc’s job when he’s not on the pitch and he was my player of the match until he lost his head in the last 10 minutes against Brum.

  4. Rosicky awonderful player and in future the should start him infront of ashervin. And fabinsk make those silly mistakes. If he wants to remain no 1.

  5. Have to agree, this is a very good piece, Andrew. It is a sign of how great a player Cesc is, when he has such a positive impact on the team, even though he is still working his way back to full fitness. He seems to thrive on the pressure that comes with being the leader of the team. In turn, it takes some of the pressure off of those players around him.
    It is great to see Rosicky getting back to some great form. Didn’t he play the Arshavin role(on the left) before his injury problems? At his best, he is quick and can track up and back and has a great football brain and complements Cesc and the team very well.
    Also agree that it is good to see Fabianski getting a run in the team and finding some form and much needed confidence, just like the rest of the team.

  6. Anyone noticed how good clichy looked without arshavin on the pitch…. Rosicky should start at city, seeing him track back and tackle that shaktar winger was what inspires the players around you. I wonder how clichy cesc and song feel when arshevin loses the ball and doesnt track back?? Imagine making 60th minute substitutions of Walcott and Arshavin…..haha. We must win on Sunday!!!!!

  7. what i would say is that what you guys have been saying is true, but what i want us all to start think now is what we are going to o with the man city game…. i was thinking that since we all knw that arshavin could not mark well, why not we try with rosicky and nasri there and put delinson where wilshere should be, if you can go back to one of your comment on denlison where you made us to know that he is a better player, i think it would work, cos if we should put diaby there on sunday i can say it that we get roasted.. that is my own thinking if it is not correct you can let me know

  8. I would Love to See Rosicky play Consistently, He is a class player and he could be a great deal in our quest for a cup this season, he has all it takes to make it big. As fo Fabiansky, it seems he has now gained confidence but must abit improve in his Judgementof the ball. Finally, playing Rosicky, Cesc, Alex Song, Nasri, Diaby to provide for Chamack in our next game, can bring good results.. i like the Blog.

  9. Yes, Cesc is a very important cog in Arsenal gear box but we have to be realistic and see him for what he is. He is replaceable. I have been watching Arsenal games lately, smugly smirking at the step up of Wilshere. Dont underate that cunning Frenchman. He must have been hurt/shocked and spurred by the rumours, statements in media and pictures of fabregas in Barca’s uniform. I have also seen similarities and differences between those 2 players. Plenty talents but Wilshere has something of fighting spirit that Fab for all his vision lacks.

    With Rossick’s industry and never-say-die attitude plus his professionalism and patience we might survive fab departure. Just hope that Jack continues to develop his game to add goals to passing and tackling. We have a talent on our hands.

  10. its amazing how fabiaskinator have been doing between the sticks as of lately,there is room for improvement,but you cant kill the kid,he is getting the job done,as fabrigasinator already indicated that the killer instinct is lacking infront of goal,i must endorse his statement because i think they realy over illaborate infront of the target.however,arsenal philosophy and style of play is a beauty by itself and must be maintained by all means necessary.we keep whinning we want trophy which is everybody dream,but we also rememember before wenger came to highbury we were only winning in our draws,my point is!the club have been like a newborn child that is being nurtured and as time progress if manned properly will be a huge success and will be envyed by many thats my say,blessup urself all faithful kunners for life.

  11. It kills me to say it, but I don’t see how Cesc denies the Barcelona siren song next year. I hope he stays…

  12. Mr wenger pls stop fooling the fans your not going to spend a dime in Jan so pls stop you make me sick when you make these comments don’t mention any transfers period.
    Boy am sure a lot of you guys wish that every week would be like Tuesday easy team easy win Arsenal was expected to win this match we have never had problems with these teams.
    As mentioned above Mancity is a real treat you better believe it.
    in the last five years Arsenal have won 2 and lost 3 at Mancity so not so bad. This game will be a real test for sure wenger has said this team has matured (i have my views on that) but this is a chance to prove me wrong, a second chance. I wish i could have some of the confidence you guys have but am a realist and the best judge of the future i have is the past so if we can win at city it will prove two things
    1. Yes! maybe we have improved
    2. Money don’t buy success
    And will someone pls tell song to play his role the goal against column is where his concerns should be every week not rampaging forward.
    when we play poor teams his bad positioning doesn’t show its when we play good teams it evident. So good luck guys on Sunday show me you have improved and make sure to let city no if they want to play football we can sure do this and if they want to fight we do the same for sure no backing down………………

  13. The key is somehow getting Cesc to stay. I have no idea how, but it absolutely must be done, end of story.

  14. We can not say Rosicky is a dead body and cant score goals it is just the injury that reduced his quality.I hope everyone knows how Rosicky was in his form b4 injury,and i appreciate what Wenger is doing to play him for a couple of time and see his improvement.Wish to see the combination of Cesc,Song,Nasri and Rosicky on sunday match against Man city.

  15. I will be happy if Wenger could improve the Arsenal defence in the January transfer window. Pls Mr Manager,make it to make Arsenal more stronger and the best.

  16. I note that Goodplaya made a great point about Fabianski – that he needed 20 ‘ordinary’ games to secure no. 1 spot. Ordinary in the sense that he doesn’t make a complete arse of a situation and contributes to us losing. Clean sheets every match is not realistic, but solid performances that makes our defence more confident is what we should be hoping for.

  17. I’d say we’ve got the beating of the new pariah’s of the league, man shitty, so long as everyone puts in a full shift – plus we get that bit of luck we deserve. Diaby will be absolutely no good in a match like this. man shitty’s players aren’t going to let him stroll around like a fool, they’ll be into him like a train and Diay’s going to be on his arse waving his arms about while Tevez is sticking the ball in the back of the net. Therefore we need to play Denilson instead of the absent Jack W. I also feel we should start with Arshavin because if the Russian is up for it, as he should be, he’s going to be our match winner. I’d probably have Walcott on the bench but only because he’s just back from injury – remember how awesome he was before the injury? Our defence worries me the most. No Kosh, Verm or Sagna? Hmmmm… like I say we’re going to need some luck. I’d play Gibbs ahead of Gael though. We’ll probably concede 2 so need to score 3!

    Rocky’s firing those shots in – sooner or later one of them has to go in.

    One more thing – Jack Wilshire is only 18. As AW says lets not build him up too much. In any case, in my opinion, Ramsey is even better and will prove so if he can get back to his pre-injury level. That boy’s got it all and I reckon could be one of the all time greats.

  18. on Rosicky… i’ve been dying to see more of those thunderbolt shots from him. i hope he still has a few in him, maybe one on sunday? REALLY want to see them pound city.

  19. @ Old Timer – Cheers for the comments (as always) but I completely disagree with you about Diaby. He will start, he needs to start, and he will play his new role slightly ahead of Fabregas in the midfield. His dribbling and unpredictability will be one of the keys to us opening up City.

    I posted after the Shakhtar game that the front five that will play against City – Chamakh, Arshavin, Nasri, Diaby and Cesc – are all well-rested and none of them played 90 minutes this week. They should be fresh and sharp enough to open up a team that really struggled against Blackpool. What we need to watch out for is their individual quality in the final third.

  20. agree with everything said

    a lot of people are saying rosicky should be starting instead of Arshavin, but I think as you say, Wenger is being understandably cautious with him.

  21. rosicky is performing way better than arshavin at this moment. and i think wenger is doing a great job in carefully plotting rosicky return to the first team. he should start against mancity at the left flank slot. remember last season 4-2 defeat. we managed to save the embrassment by grabbing two goals which rosicky created and scored !

    mancity is in a great form this moment and they are the fav. nevertheless, we have to win this sunday no matter what. a defeat could ceased our title charge before it even started. goodluck Rosicky, goodluck ARSENAL !!!

  22. I would also like to see a little more Rosicky. A little off topic…what are everyone’s thoughts onDiaby. It seems like two to three years ago he had a couple flashes of brilliance and then last year I felt like every pass he made was to the other team. Feel free to disagree with me but I’m not sold on the lad yet. I like him as more of a holding midfielder which is where I think he plays his best ball. However, around the final third I feel like he is shaky and lacks some creativity where other players are better suited. I also think his first touch is the worst out of all of our midfielders…thoughts on Diaby?

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