Cesc Fabregas: Arsenal have ‘matured and learned’ and it would be ‘fantastic’ to see them lift Premier League

Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is backing his old club to win two London derbies this week and prove they can last the distance in the Premier League title race.

Arsenal host Chelsea before going to Tottenham in what will be two hotly contested matches which they need to win to stay in touch with defending champions Manchester City.

“Those are two massive games for Arsenal, that’s for sure,” Fabregas said.

“They need two wins. They need to keep the momentum; they need to keep the pressure up. Last year, they struggled a little bit in moments like this. But I think they have matured, they have learned. They have the experience of what happened last year. And, you know, a strong team will grow from it. And I think this year, they are ready to show that.

“It would be fantastic if they win the title because that means that the club is where they deserve to be. They belong to be competing at this level. They have been at the top for the last two years, which is already a big thing after a few years where maybe they were not so competitive.”

The Spanish midfielder made his name under Arsene Wenger at Highbury, via Barcelona’s La Masia, and was a 16-year-old squad player the last time Arsenal won the league as unbeaten Invincibles in 2004. He then switched back to Barca before finally getting his hands on the Premier League trophy with Chelsea.

Some Arsenal fans, perhaps unaware of his desire to play in the red and white again, felt slighted when he ended up lifting trophies for Jose Mourinho’s London rivals and let him know how they felt in no uncertain terms when he came back to play against them. Fabregas, however, remains the bigger man and, ultimately, an Arsenal fan.

He describes Wenger as a father figure and feels indebted to the club that gave him the platform to go on and win two European Championships and a World Cup final for Spain.

Only 36, he is now a coach at Italian side Como. As for his fellow countryman Mikel Arteta and the latest Arsenal generation? “I’m delighted for them. I know what they’re building.

“I know what they stand for with Edu, the owners and obviously Mikel and his players. Some of the younger ones who have come through like Bukayo Saka, Martinelli and Smith Rowe remind me of when I was their age, that spirit and desire together. I’m very happy for them.”

He also recalled his younger years when Wenger built his side around him and they went so close to winning the Premier League in 2008-09.

“In fact, we had a couple of years when  we went very, very, very close. It’s not an excuse, but we did have some very bad injuries.

“I remember players such as Flamini, Hleb, Rosicky, van Persie, Eduardo all being out at important stages of those campaigns. When you lose three or four big players in a young team you will always struggle.

“Hopefully this doesn’t happen to Arsenal this year and they can still compete for the title until the end.”


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