Cesc Fabregas Banner at the Emirates Should Not be Removed by Arsenal


No Gunners supporter enjoys seeing Cesc Fabregas play for Chelsea, that’s pretty obvious. It hurts more than seeing Robin van Persie suit up for Manchester Untied or the host of Arsenal rejects scrounging for playing time at Manchester City. But the reason it hurts so much is no fault of Cesc Fabregas, it’s just a product of how much he did for the team and the quality player he is.

Chelsea are traveling to the Emirates this weekend and that means Cesc Fabregas will be making his Arsenal homecoming wearing colors we never thought he’d wear. It leaves for an interesting conundrum with the Cesc Fabregas banner that hangs from the Emirates, as seen below:

Cesc Fabregas has earned that banner. He was affectionately called “Captain Fantastic” by Arsenal fans and he was the central figure of the Gunners from 2008-2011 when he was captain. Even before becoming Captain Fantastic, Fabregas was a regular in the starting XI since the departure of Patrick Vieira, who also holds a special place in Arsenal’s heart. Fabregas took Vieira’s No. 4 short and made it his own.

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While at Arsenal, Fabregas created 466 goal scoring opportunities and contributed 86 assists and 48 goals (via footballtalk). But despite the love the fans had for him and the love he had for his club, Cesc Fabregas desired to return to his boyhood club of Barcelona and that he did in 2011. It was at a time when players were departing Arsenal right and left but the departure didn’t feel as much like a betrayal; perhaps because it was a different league, perhaps because of how much he did for the club.

But now he plays for Chelsea, so the banner needs to be taken down, right?

Wrong. Cesc Fabregas didn’t up and move straight to Chelsea. He wanted to come back to Arsenal but Arsene Wenger denied him, stating that Mesut Ozil was the new thing at Arsenal and that Cesc had his chance. For that reason, Chelsea capitalized on the opportunity and signed Cesc Fabregas at a time when Mesut Ozil wasn’t exactly on top of his game, leading to a lot of frustration on the part of Arsenal fans – frustrations that have since been alleviated.

Cesc Fabregas has made it clear what his feelings for Arsenal are: “Arsenal is in my heart and always will be” he told the Guradian in 2013. He also said after a hostile reception from Arsenal fans that “They will always be in my heart forever” (via SkySports)

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The fact that he plays for Chelsea may deafen those words to some Arsenal supporters, but I believe him. You could make the argument that if he truly had Arsenal in his heart, he never would have went to Chelsea, but I’m not of that mind. I understand the argument fine, but when I see him in Chelsea Blue I’m not necessarily mad at him so much as I’m just upset at the circumstances. But not as upset as I could be, because Mesut Ozil is doing fantastic and it’s not like we’re constantly wishing we had him back solely for performance sake.

Fabregas is an Arsenal man first and foremost. Regardless of who he plays for now, even he admits that it’s Arsenal who got him to where he is. He was brought up at the Emirates and he was at his best at the Emirates. That’s why the banner is there. You can’t change what he did for this club and what he meant to North London. Players move on all the time. Patrick Vieira ended up at Manchester City but we don’t take away from what he did for the club.

Nobody is happy to see Cesc Fabregas playing for Chelsea but while the Blue does tarnish my fanship, it will never tarnish my respect for what he did for Arsenal.

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