Arsenal managed to overcome a resilient Huddersfield side in the FA Cup to reach the next stages of the historic competition. The Gunners were the favourites in this encounter but they were put through a stern test by the championship side who fought till the end. Arsene Wenger said it was that sort of a Cup tie which provides intense excitement and demands the players to perform to the best of their abilities.
Arsene Wenger had to rotate his squad to keep them fit for this gruelling set of fixtures and the only real gamble he took was starting the in-form Samir Nasri ahead of the experienced Czech captain Tomas Rosicky. He opted to rest key players Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas for this encounter and yet managed to field quite a strong team.
It is quite unfortunate that Nasri was injured during the game due to a hamstring injury which puts him a doubt for the important Champions League game against FC Barcelona. Fabregas was brought on in the last few minutes of the match and salvaged the game in favour of the Gunners by inspiring his team when they looked unsettled.
The Spaniard has not been at his best for large parts of this season due to recurrence of his hamstring injuries but he does seem to be free from those troubles at present. He has been crucial in still keeping Arsenal in the FA Cup with two late penalties against Leeds and Huddersfield respectively. Fabregas is not one to shirk responsibility and despite some criticism, he has been an able leader for the Gunners.
He was strongly linked with a move to Barcelona and, according to many sources, he had informed Wenger that he intended to move to Spain. But Fabregas started the season in Arsenal colors and he has promised to stay at least till the end of the season. He has always declared that he does love Arsenal and has admitted that captaining this team means a lot to him.
Despite all the transfer speculation surrounding his future, he has not been distracted on the football field and continues to try his best regardless of what goes behind the scenes. His celebrations after that goal against Ipswich, which confirmed Arsenal's berth in Wembley, showed how much it meant for the young World Cup winner.
In this modern era of Football, there is a lot of emphasis on player power and most of the players can play their cards according to their wishes. Most people have criticised Fabregas for not speaking up about staying at the club, but even if he did have a desire to join his boyhood club, Barcelona (which is still unconfirmed), he has been very professional in handling the issue.
Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas are great friends and the Spaniard said that the first thing he did after winning the World Cup was to talk to the Dutchman. He also dedicated his success in South Africa to Arsenal for helping him become one of the world's best attacking midfielders. These were comments he made when speculation was rife that he had played his last game for the Gunners.
He has always maintained that his future lies in the hands of Wenger, whom he considers as his second father. Also, he has never handed in a transfer request and it is clear that he has the desire to achieve success with the club, which brings us to the situation of Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.
Torres has had to shoulder the burden of scoring goals almost single-handedly on a number of occasions, and it is true that a lot of promises have not been kept, but that has not been due to the new owners, John Henry and Co. because they have run the club in a dignified manner since taking over. The Spanish striker declared that the Reds were the biggest club in England when he committed his future to the club in the summer.
However, it does seem like he has inserted a clause in his contract allowing him to leave in summer for a price of £50 million if the club cannot compete in the Champions League next year. Despite all his statements about the club, he has handed a transfer request and has made it clear he wants to move to Chelsea due to his ambitions of winning the title.
If Torres had moved on in the summer, it would still have caused Liverpool supporters a lot of despair but they would not be incensed by it. The timing of the transfer request has let the club down and shows disrespect toward the club and its supporters who have supported the striker ever since his move from Spain.
Liverpool are currently in good form and are the outside bets to qualify for the Champions League though it does look improbable at present. One of the main reasons why Liverpool have suffered is due to the exceptionally poor form of El Nino who has come to life on very few occasions, most notably against Chelsea. Also, he has enjoyed better form since the arrival of the King, Kenny Dalglish, or so it seemed. It has only been the opening of the transfer window which has injected some life into the striker to remind other clubs that he still remains one of the best in the game.
The fact that Torres wants a move away from the club is easy to understand but his desire to move to Premier League rivals would itself not make it comfortable for the Liverpool faithful. The timing of the transfer request has shown a lot of disrespect towards the club, who are essentially left with a lose/lose option.
Fabregas, on the other hand, has always maintained that he does not intend to disrespect the Arsenal supporters which is why he has preferred to deal his transfer speculations directly with Arsene Wenger. There is a good possibility that the Spaniard will leave the club next season but he has shown great respect for the club and Arsenal fans should support him if he still retains the respect and dignity when he departs the Emirates.
This article was also featured on The Invincible Gunners, a blog on Arsenal and other football news