It has been a tough few weeks for the Arsenal players, manager and any one associated with the club but it is important that supporters remain positive about the next season. With the season virtually over, the Arsene Wenger will be pondering as to where the season went awry and what he can change for the next season.
He will be considering signing more experienced players to provide guidance to the young Gunners and will be desperate to end the title drought in the next season. The first question that is likely to come up in the summer will be regarding the future of Cesc Fabregas who has already been named as the prime target of cash-rich Manchester City.
The Arsenal captain has been at the club for over seven years now and has been integral to the team. However, in his time at Arsenal, he has not been able to win as many trophies as he would have liked while his home club Barcelona have been winning a number of trophies in the same period.
Though the Arsenal captain has always given his full effort on the pitch, Wenger will be considering as to whether he is the right choice for being the captain for 2011-12 season. These are the reasons why the manager must change the captain for the next season and it is likely that either Robin van Persie or Thomas Vermaelen will be the next captain if Wenger opts to change the captain or Fabregas leaves the club.
1. Desire of Playing for FC Barcelona
Cesc Fabregas has been committed to the club whenever he has taken the field and has been great for the Gunners on a number of occasions. He is arguably Arsenal's best player and is the heart of the team. The Arsenal captain has been the subject of transfer speculation in the last few years and he has done nothing to quell these rumors.
If anything, he has only added fuel to the fire with his statements which clearly state his desire to play for FC Barcelona. However in an Arsenal team consisting of so many youngsters, the fact that their captain wants to leave the club will not be positive for the club. Also, these speculations are prominent till the end of the transfer window in August and could have an adverse effect on the mood of the camp in the pre-season.
The Arsenal captain has been dogged by many injuries this season, especially a recurring hamstring injury, which has curtailed his involvement in a number of games this season. Though he has been eager to play for the Gunners, his body needs to be rested and he needs to have breaks in order to be at full fitness.
As the captain of the team, he has been desperate to start in as many matches as possible but sadly, he has been injury prone this season. Arsenal will need a captain who has excellent levels of fitness and unfortunately, Cesc Fabregas seems to be suffering from far too many injuries due to his long playing career at such a young age.
Wenger would need to take a cue from Sir Alex Ferguson who opted to give the captaincy to Nemanja Vidic instead of Rio Ferdinand, which was mainly due to concerns about Ferdinand's fitness and Vidic's leadership has been very important for the Red Devils to clinch the title.
3. Responsibility, a Burden for the Spaniard
Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie are the two most experienced players in the team and the youngsters look up to them as inspiration. However in a recent interview, Fabregas did stress on the importance of having more experienced players in the team who can guide youngsters. As the captain of the team, he seems to be burdened with a lot of responsibility at such a young age.
Though he considers it to be a privilege to be the Arsenal captain, he has often looked stressed and not enjoying his football as much as he should. He has also put too much pressure on his body trying to lead by example and has played often with niggles and small injuries. The Arsenal manager needs to relieve the burden on Fabregas for him to be at his best and have a long and successful career.
4. Incapability to Inspire the Team
Fabregas is a player who is a winner and hates to lose games and he tries his best to achieve victories for the Gunners. However, he is a player who tries to play to his best to inspire the team but is not someone who can drag his players with his leadership skills. When he is not in form or is struggling with niggles, the whole team seems to be bereft of any drive to win on some occasions.
He is not a vocal leader and has struggled to inspire his team when they are hit by a spell of good pressure by the opposition. The most notable example of this in this season is the 4-4 draw against Arsenal where he failed to inspire his team to preserve the lead. Another example is the game against Tottenham where he was rampant in the first half but when more defensive organization and leadership was needed in the second half, he could not inspire his team.
It is no coincidence that Patrick Vieira was the last Arsenal captain to lift a trophy at Arsenal and he was clearly a leader who could inspire his men to fight hard. Arsenal's legendary captain Tony Adams was again a vocal leader who instilled fighting spirit in his team mates.
5. Inability to Withstand the Pressure
Though the Spanish midfielder is one of the best midfielders in the world, he has clearly been affected by the pressure of captaincy. In the 2009-10 season, he was at his best almost single-handedly keeping the Gunners in the title race with 19 goals and the same number of assists. He is a player who can make things happen but he has struggled to cope with the pressure.
However Fabregas has done his best to cope with captaincy and some of the blame must be attached to Wenger for his inability to bring in experienced professionals who can guide Fabregas and his team to do better. Manchester City brought in ex-Gunner Patrick Vieira and he has been instrumental in guiding many youngsters.
Despite many sections of supporters criticizing the performances of Fabregas and questioning where his heart lies, the Spanish midfielder has played with a lot of heart and deserves to be applauded by every single Arsenal supporter.