Fernando Torres flew to Buenos Aires and didn’t get on the pitch.
Cesc Fabregas started that midweek friendly, as did David Villa and David Silva, and Xabi Alonso and Busquets were in midfield with Iniesta.
Fabregas played with pride, passion and focus until Xavi replaced him in 56 minutes.
Casillas, Ramos and Puyol were missing in defence and Argentina were 3-0 up by then.
After 10 minutes, Messi made a 78-metre run with and without the ball to score from four yards. It was one of his twinkletoes goals. If you looked closely you could see tiny sparks flying off his boots.
Tevez played in Higuain for 2-0, a sweet finish from a very narrow angle. Reina slipped as he tried to control an Arbeloa backpass and gifted one to Tevez for 3-0 in 34 minutes. Game over.
At half-time, Victor Valdes and Jesus Navas came on, as did Corzola, replacing Iniesta, with Fernando Llorente on for David Villa, who had hit the bar with a 25-yard dipper and hit the post with a free-kick that deflected off the back of Mascherano.
Fernando Llorente got a goal back but it was in 84 minutes and Argentina were still bossing the game. Then sub Kun Aguero scored in injury time to make it 4-1. Aguero’s Atletico Madrid are one of my teams to watch : Reyes, Forlan, Simao, lots of talent.
This Arsenal season will be the hardest of Fabregas’s career. Yes, he has an exemplary character. But I’m worried about the main man because he has been forced to stay at a club he no longer wants to play for.
My opinion : Fabregas is leading a squad he no longer believes in. He’s a natural-born winner who doesn’t see himself holding up any trophies as Arsenal captain, so he wants to go. I don’t blame him. And I still think Wenger should have sold him for £50 million in May, just as I think Wenger should have bought Mark Schwarzer in May.
I gather Wenger offered Almunia in part -exchange for Hugo Lloris on deadline day. How embarrassing is that?
When France played in Chile about 10 years ago, Wenger went mental. He hates jet-lag, with good reason.
With Fabregas flying 15 hours to Argentina and 15 hours back, and with Braga coming up, I’m not 100% sure the manager will start Fabregas against Bolton. But since he’s without Van Persie, Nasri, Bendtner and Walcott, he probably has to start him on Saturday.
Obviously, Jack Wilshere will want to play against his loan buddies of last season and show Owen Coyle that he’s developing at Arsenal
One of ANR’s readers disagrees with my stance on the Cesc Fabregas transfer and has written a reflective piece on the sale of big stars between big clubs: Transfer Idiocy and the Cesc Fabregas disappointment
If you want to agree/disagree, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org