ANR reply from Dan : Fabregas is better than Xavi


I have been a regular reader for a long time, checking ANR daily is as commonplace for me as my morning coffee.

However, in recent months you are sounding less like the outspoken football fan with a big heart and more like Alan Hansen and all the stupid pundits on the television.

I remember the piece you wrote about Sir Bobby when he passed, it was very touching.

I have always enjoyed your insights into Arsenal, the problems are obvious to all the fans I speak with the locals around the Emirates, and we all respect the balls you have by voicing your opinions online. So for the last few years, thank you.

But now, with your slandering of Henry, Wenger, and the fact that you have jumped on the Barcelona band wagon, you sound like everybody else.

Let’s take the final for example.

You headline your piece by calling the Dutch “dirty bastards”. If you watched the final, you know as well as I do that Spain are not a bunch of choir boys, plenty of their fouls went unpunished because many of their key players play for Barcelona.

Howard Webb is a crap ref, always has been, always will be. I am not denying that the Dutch played dirty, but so did Spain . The Dutch got frustrated that the ref was booking them for almost every challenge while the Spanish were getting away with the same thing.

I hoped that you spotted what a poor player Xavi is, despite all the stats in his favour, all I saw him do the whole game was dive for free kicks, no class whatsoever, Cesc came on and in 10 minutes did what Xavi could not do the whole game, a much better player, no wonder Barcelona want him so much. I dont know what it is with British culture but there is this constant need to belittle anything different than their own which I have noticed throughout the years, and it’s the same with the BBC football commentary and match analysis as well as the newspapers.

Hansen and co have clearly disliked Arsenal for a while now because of the lack of British players there, it’s no secret, John Terry, Gerrard and Rooney, the supposed Three Lions and pioneers of Englishmen in an English league, can do no wrong in their eyes. Week in and week out they commit disgusting fouls that go unpunished, Rooney swears at the ref all the time but never gets booked for it, yet that is never mentioned.

However, should Eboue, Van Persie or anyone not British do any of the above, the pundits and the media just don’t hold back.

Could it have been more obvious that they wanted Spain to win? Why? Because Barcelona are over-rated. For some reason people on this side of the ocean cannot stop talking about Barcelona. But why? They play in a league in which themselves and Madrid are miles ahead of everyone else, most of the teams in La Liga would struggle in the championship. Also, they beat a depleted Arsenal side. At the Emirates, against an average Arsenal side with an injured captain, they could only muster a draw. I’ve seen better Arsenal sides beaten by worse teams. As much as I hate to pop this bubble, the reality is : Spain play dirty too,

Barcelona are not THAT good.

Cesc is better than Xavi and Del Bosque should be embarrassed that 30-year old princess Xavi gets picked above the 23-year old Cesc who had a phenomenal Euro 2008 and is a better player.

The English football know-it-alls are a bunch of D class legends (bar Tony Adams) who, instead of admitting that the English players are a bunch of over-rated primadonnas (your words, and mine), just belittle every other nation and support Spain because of all the Barcelona media hype.

I guess I have gone off-course while writing this, but here are some things to think about :

1. Why blame Capello? We have watched the same England team make the same mistakes under different managers. Is it really his fault?

2. Could England have done better had they had Arsenal players in the squad? Arsenal teach style, fair play and focus, something that is missing from the English team.

As for Henry, the man is a legend, not only to Arsenal fans, but to many true football fans too, he changed the dimension of the striker’s game. He brought va va voom to England. Ireland are a rubbish team, they couldn’t even beat France.

Thanks for reading.

I hope you return to your traditional form, your critical and honest approach makes this the only football blog worth reading

yours sincerely, Dan.



Myles replies :

I’m glad you’ve got all that off your chest !

England will never have Arsenal players. It’s a French club that hires French players and puts millions into French football.

I agree that Fabregas is superior to Xavi.

His eye, his vision, his quick-release passing, and solid goalscoring, make him a better player.

I would have loved to see Fabregas play with players who know where to run, when to run, how to stay onside.

Like Ian Wright, Overmars, the young and zippy Ljungberg.

In 1985-86, when West Ham came third, Frank McAvennie scored 26 goals in 41 league games. And Tony Cottee scored 20 goals in 42 league games. If Fabregas had been playing in that West Ham team they’d scored 35 goals each and been champions.

Don’t compare Fabregas and Xavi in isolation.

You have to look at the bigger picture, at the overall quality of the players in the Barcelona squad compared to the mediocrity of Rosicky, Walcott, Eboue, Song, Nasri et al.

Cesc Fabregas has carried Arsenal for years, winning nothing. By last May he was in despair.

Yes, despair. I’m talking about despair.

Think about despair. Think about how Fabregas felt, and why he was desperate.

Any serious footballer would have done what Fabregas did. He wanted to get out of the Colney creche and into a grown-up squad of winners.

So he told Wenger he wanted to go.