By 1970’s Gooner
Francesc Fàbregas Soler is a wonderful midfielder playing football the way it should be played. He has vision, creativity and accurate passing which suits Arsenal's intricate passing game.
But an addition to Fabregas’s armoury of talents is his physical toughness and the desire to not only play the beautiful game but, if the occasion demands it, to be prepared to mix it.
In this aspect, and in this aspect only, he reminds me of Arsenal 1970’s legend Peter Storey.
Peter Storey was a very tough player who never shirked out of tackles. He relished physical games which was just as well as, in those days, you had to have players in the team who were prepared to really mix it.
He was also always ready to protect his own, less than physically endowed, players.
I remember that if an opponent had made a bad tackle on one of the Arsenal players then the crowd would shout the player’s shirt number to him. Especially for the off the ball incidents.
Bob’s your uncle that player was soon on the floor writhing in pain!
Peter Storey could also play football.
He played in two consecutive (unsuccessful) League Cup finals for Arsenal in 1968 and 1969, before winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1970 and the famous double a year later under Bertie Mee.
He played for England at right back. He made his debut in 1971 against Greece and went on to win 18 caps during the early 1970s, later filling the midfield role vacated by the retiring Nobby Stiles.
Now you may well ask how does Peter Storey remind you of Fabregas?
Fabregas dished out the punishment to, of all people, Tomas Repka, the hard man of Sparta Prague and ex West Ham defender. And Repka is built like a tank!
Fabregas’s tackle came just after Repka started putting himself about culminating in a hard challenge against Robin Van Persie. Repka tried to carry on after that but had to come off with a swollen knee.
That showed the opponents who was boss in this game! But it also gave the signal to his team mates that “we will not be intimidated”.
A cry which will need to be repeated many times during this critical, make or break, season for this maturing team.
A cry from far back. From Peter Storey's time.
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