THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

14 January ~ They say success breeds a winning mentality, so maybe it's Arsenal's lack of success in the last five years that has caused their captain Cesc Fabregas to humiliate himself and his club by accusing Ipswich of playing “rugby” in Tuesday's Carling Cup semi-final. Ipswich were without a manager, languishing near the relegation zone in the Championship and had just been thrashed 7-0 by Chelsea. Did Fabregas genuinely expect them to suddenly have a change of heart and play free-flowing, attacking football? 

Fabregas's bitter comments, inflammatory as they may be, as surely part of a deeper problem at Arsenal – the fact that their defence dislikes defending, or that their midfield is made up of five-foot-somethings. The Gunners don't seem to have the same ruthlessness in victory as, say, Manchester United do at the moment. They are very keen to blame someone or something (the Portman Road pitch in this case) for their failings, which breeds a lack of ambition among the players.

Can you imagine Ryan Giggs complaining that a lower-league team played long balls in a cup tie? No, because United have the professionalism to dig in and battle those kind of teams, as well as the ability to outplay other teams. Arsenal, frankly, can either beat a team with thrilling football or not beat them at all. And what is worse is that they seem to think every other team should try to play their brand of football rather than making them flinch with set-pieces and long throw-ins.

Arsène Wenger could go some way to solving this by breaking his stubbornness and signing a couple of players in the Tony Adams mould. Until he does that, it's difficult to see Arsenal winning a major trophy, especially if they don't like playing teams less gifted than themselves on pitches that are less manicured than the one at the Emirates.

There's certainly no “rugby” played in La Liga. In Spain, nobody tackles too aggressively and therefore the teams with the most skilful players are sure to win. At least Fabregas can guarantee himself a trophy with Barcelona next season when he is finally rid of the competitive world of English football. James Dielhenn 

Comments (7)
Comment by Mahbury 2011-01-14 14:58:36

I'm not surprised that you have no comments. James, your talking out your arse Mate. Arsenal will go on to lift the Carling Cup. Ipswich have already played their final.

Comment by Kid A 2011-01-14 15:34:30

Fabregas's actual quotes: "I don't know if it is long ball or it is a rugby kick but it worked for them," he said. "In England a lot of teams play like that and it works for them, they create chances like that and it is their football. I can only remember two opportunities for them but it was from a long, long ball because, playing football, they could not really get behind us or [get] attacking."

Is that really bitter or inflammatory? Has he really humiliated himself? Storm in a teacup methinks.

Comment by Dalef65 2011-01-14 18:08:51

I cant help but agree with the theme of this article.
Fabregas has a history of making derogatory comments about teams who employ dogged tactics against Arsenal.

Remember the "did you actually play for Barcelona ?" comments made to Mark Hughes when he brought Blackburn Rovers to the Emirates.?
That was simply because they refused to lay down and die for Arsenal.

I also believe Fabregas was at the heart of the Phil Brown spitting incident when Hull went to Arsenal and won.Even though he wasnt actually playing that night.

Now we have these comments about Ipswich,which really only an Arsenal fan would say are not somewhat uncalled for.
Arsenal lost the game fair and square,so why is Fabregas trying to damn Ipswich with faint praise.....??

This whole Arsenal/Fabregas/Wenger attitude that they play some sort of morally superior football to the rest of the league is getting just a bit tiresome..

If they drop the precious attitude and dig in a little bit they might just win something one of these years,instead of waiting for everybody else to stand back and admire their pretty football.

Comment by tratorello 2011-01-15 10:11:28

The fact that Fabregas thought we were playing rugby must account for why, when presented with a very good chance to score from 6 yards out, he decided to knock it over the bar for a drop-goal.

Comment by MoeTheBarman 2011-01-15 11:47:50

Kid A - indeed. Sounds more like shit stirring media to me.

Comment by The Awesome Berbaslug!!! 2011-01-15 15:15:59

What a whinging bitch. if you're playing against a team that's as weak in the centre of defence under the high ball, you'd be an idiot not to play it. It's what chelsea do, it's what man utd do to a lesser extent when they play arsenal. It's not stone age tactics. It's the appropriate thing to do.

And if it makes their players go mental, you'd be a fool not to do it.

Comment by adpage85 2011-01-17 09:49:17

Slightly strange article. 'In Spain, nobody tackles too aggressively...' really? Quite a stupid thing to say, as daft as saying that all English players are thugs.

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