We’ve got a confession to make. Having spent hours totting up votes and allocating points to players we were certain that everyone had been accounted for. Unfortunately in our haste that wasn’t the case as one big name slipped through the cracks, going unnoticed until late in the series. While we won’t be applying for an accreditation at Arsenal any time soon for now, here’s a full article on why Cesc Fabregas made the Top 50, to make up for our glaring oversight!
Unfortunately this mistake means we have to say goodbye to Mark van Bommel, who finished 50th in the list. You’re welcome.
If you missed any part of the Top 50, here is a link to all the articles, or simply click below.
17 Cesc Fabregas
The man with the most talked about DNA in European football and who was the target of an unusually forward transfer saga in the summer preceding the 2009/2010 season has had an astonishing 12 months for one so young.
Plucked from obscurity by Catalan giants Barcelona at the age of nine (despite the best efforts to keep him of his coach at Mataró who refused to play him when the Barca scouts came to watch games) he flourished and learned his trade at the hallowed La Masia youth academy.
Six years on and realising that first team opportunities may be limited at Barcelona he had his head turned by the offers of big wages, playing time and a manager who played a distinctly Catalan style of football at Arsenal. His time in England tempered him like a master craftsman would a blade, adding hardness and mental toughness to the young Spaniard, wrought over 293 appearances for the Gunners in 8 years.
2010 was a year of ups and downs for Fabregas.
From being knocked out of the Champions League by the team he supported as a child (breaking his leg in the process) and then seeing his team’s title challenge crumble around him as he had to watch impotently from the sidelines in a plaster cast to lifting the World Cup trophy with Spain, after he supplied a delicious through ball for Andrés Iniesta to score the winning goal in the final.
On a personal level Fabregas’ personal form was astounding during 2010. In 2356 minutes playing time for Arsenal he scored 15 goals and provided 14 assists. A goal every 1.7 games and an assist every 1.8 games. Hugely impressive stats for someone who still just 23 years old. However with great skill unfortunately comes the possibility of your opponent doing anything to stop you using it. As such Fabregas was fouled every 38 minutes for Arsenal.
Any football lover can see in Fabregas’ style that he plays the game as it should be played. His languid style of movement that sees not a foot misplaced and 360 degree vision sets him apart from the majority of his peers. Retaining possession is paramount; sharp little triangles in the middle of the pitch are his bread and butter, wearing an opponent down until their concentration slips for just a half second. And half a second is all Cesc needs, his range of passing is up there with the very best, and he can work the ball to a teammate in positions most of us could only dream. This is proved by the fact that he creates more scoring opportunities than any other player in Europe, one every 29 minutes. When you consider the players in Europe he’s up against, even just the top 5 in the recent ‘Top 50’ on this very site, Messi, Xavi, Sneijder, Iniesta and Ronaldo, that is an impressive feat.
Despite his young age, there was no other player that the majority of Arsenal fans wanted to be named as successor to William Gallas as Arsenal captain. Why Wenger picked him is plain to see, his determination on the pitch is visible and more than once it has been down to him to drag his Arsenal teammates over the line almost single handedly. One of the most obvious such instances taking place just outside our 2010 time frame but it is one that typifies the type of player Cesc is.
Even after suffering a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for two weeks Fabregas made the bench for the clash with Aston Villa in December 2009. With 56 minutes gone and Arsenal looking less and less likely to break the deadlock Fabregas was brought on. He made an immediate impact and within 9 minutes had given Arsenal the lead after scoring a peach of a free kick from 25 yards which he had won himself. Not happy with that he put them further ahead 15 minutes later. After the ball broke to Theo Walcott inside the Arsenal half Fabregas burst a gut to make up 70 metres and slid the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper, re-injuring himself in the process.
Such determination is typical of Fabregas who is a born winner, always giving 100% for the good of the team. Another example is the Champions League game against Barcelona.
After picking up a yellow card which would see him ruled out of the return leg many may have thought his influence on the game would fade. Fabregas however drove on, leading from the front with a never say die attitude that saw Arsenal pull back a two goal deficit to see them draw with Barcelona at the Emirates, the second goal from a penalty he won himself, and then proceeded to score and finish out the game with a broken leg.
Whether 2011 sees him remain an Arsenal player or depart for the trophy laden pastures of the Camp Nou, there is no doubt that we will be seeing a lot more of him over the course of the year, and for many years to come.