Life after Arsenal

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Apr 30th, 2012

I watched Barca beat Rayo last night and I wondered why Cesc only made the bench, when Barca had no Xavi and Iniesta was on the bench. The two people that Cesc is supposed to be the long-term successor to aren’t playing and still he doesn’t start in his natural position. Alcantara started yet Cesc didn’t. Are Barca regretting their purchase? Unlikely. Are they unsure of his qualities. Probably. Do they think he isn’t the long term successor to Xavi they thought he would be? Plausible.

Cesc really pushed for his move to Barca last summer, a lot more publicly than many Gooners recognise. His lack of a public statement about moving or staying said more than he probably believed it would and eventually he got his wish.

I wonder now if he believes he made a mistake. Sure he joined the so called best team in the world but they were on the decline when he joined and he isn’t really being given much opportunity to shine in his best position. Sure he has been in good form and has scored plenty of goals but the change in formation at Barca to accommodate Cesc could be pointed to as one of the reasons for Barca’s “decline” this year. I’m not suggesting that Barca are finished or going the same way as Chelsea or AC Milan of a few years ago but I don’t see them being as dominant as they were in the previous three years and they are much easier to beat.

A player who created the most chances of any player in the top division for 5 years can’t get a game in a position to make assists. I could be wrong but it seems like Cesc has been playing a roaming strikers role and has been there to finish moves rather than create them. For 5 years Cesc made more chances than Xavi and more than Iniesta so why isn’t he getting a game in his best position? In a new position he has still assisted 20 goals this season his 2nd best assists tally since 2007/08.

I’m struggling to understand why someone with his goal and assists return whilst playing out of position still hasn’t been given a chance in his true position especially when the two players in front of him were both not starting. To make matters even worse Cesc didn’t even get off the bench last night.

There is real potential that Cesc (and Barca) could finish this season without a ‘proper’ trophy to his name and the bitter side of me said “good” when this thought first entered my mind but then the rational side of me kicked in and I started to wonder if there is a curse on players that leave Arsenal as none of them really tasted success again or fell into obscurity as the likes of Hleb, Flamini, Reyes, Edu, Petit, Overmars, Adebayor to name a few will lay testament to.

Then you have the likes of Henry, Vieira, Cole and Wiltord. Henry went on win La Liga and the Champions League but he was often out of form, out of position and never really played at the same level he played at Arsenal. I do not begrudge him his champions league success as that was his main reason for leaving Arsenal but I wouldn’t agree that the grass was greener for him. Vieira won the Serie A multiple times at Inter but can that really be counted as success? With some of the best teams in the league demoted or with heavy points deductions and then selling on their best players because they missed out on Champions League football can you really consider them champions? I don’t. Winning when there is no real challenger isn’t really winning at all. He wasn’t an integral part of the Man City FA cup winning team either but I will be generous and say that his grass was almost as green.

Ashley Cole and Sylvain Wiltord are the only two players that I believe have left Arsenal and achieved a similar level of success. Cole has won the league once, the FA cup three time and the league cup once since leaving Arsenal. Wiltord left Arsenal and won three league titles on the bounce. Cole still has a few years left in him to become more successful at Chelsea than he was at Arsenal but I doubt he will ever emulate his Arsenal form and class but I hope he finishes his career with less trophies with Chelsea than Arsenal will have won in the time he was playing at Chelsea.

I think there is something in players not being as successful post Arsenal but I don’t think there is a curse and if there is one then I am certain Cesc will be the player to break it.

I personally hope that Arsenal can keep up the illusion of a curse by ensuring that Arsenal are winning the big trophies in the years to come and make Cesc regret leaving Arsenal so soon.

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About "" - 509 Posts

I am a South London born Gooner now living in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. I'm a husband, daddy, podcaster, trainer enthusiast and aspiring author. My work is my passion and for that I will always be grateful. Here is where I write my thoughts and views on Arsenal Football Club, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

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