Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fabregas should start ahead of Xavi

Spain bounced back from the shock of suffering defeat to Switzerland in their opening game by outclassing Honduras in a performance that was as eye-catching as it was efficient. That they won only by a two goal margin had much to do with the profligacy of their finishing, a deficiency which requires to be redressed if they are to have a chance of winning the World Cup. While David Villa, cutting in from the left wing was mostly ruthless and was denied a hat-trick only due to a misplaced penalty, his strike partner Fernando Torres, although showcasing good movement, was unusually mediocre with his finishing. No doubt, a lot of Spain’s football was dazzling; the neat triangles between Xavi Hernandez, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets were as good as anything we have seen so far this World Cup, but there was a definite sense that the cutting edge required of a champion side was lacking.

This view is bound to face opposition, but I firmly believe that Cesc Fabregas must start for Spain ahead of Xavi, as he may well hold the answer to their shortcomings. Although Xavi comes into the World Cup finals on the back of a magnificent season in which his reputation has once again been tremendously augmented, Spain may need the myriad talents of Fabregas to succeed in South Africa. He may not yet be as ingenious a passer of the football as Xavi, but he gets into better positions in the penalty box and is indisputably a more accomplished finisher.

Fabregas’ goal scoring may not be the shining aspect of his game, but it has improved significantly enough over the course of the last few campaigns to be considered as a genuine talent. While Xavi has scored only 35 goals in 352 league appearances for Barcelona, Fabregas has notched up a remarkable tally of 15 goals in just 27 league outings for Arsenal last season. With Vicente Del Bosque intent on playing a system that incorporates two holding midfielders, it is imperative that the third central midfielder plays closer to the centre forward, something which Fabregas is more adept at, than Xavi. The Arsenal captain’s passing, which although not yet as skilled as Xavi, is not unduly inferior and I believe the intelligence of his movement in and around the box could prove crucial if Spain are to live up to their billing as favourites.


Ghanshyam Nair said...

I, on the other hand, would leave Xabi Alonso out were Fabregas to come in. This would mean Xavi plays deeper, in his more natural role, but also make forward runs off the ball from time to time.
Alonso doesn't do that. Were Xavi to play, Fabregas will play like a number 8, a role he's perfectly suited to. Were Alonso to play, he'd almost be a ... See morenumber 10.
So Xavi-Busquets-Fabregas is the way to go.
However, I wouldn't play that combination. I'd go all Barcelona and play Xavi-Busquets-Iniesta, which I think is the best balanced midfield three Spain could possibly pick.

Ghanshyam Nair said...

Whooops. Copy-pasted from my Facebook comment. Ignore the ' ... See more'

Suhrith said...

I thought Xabi Alonso was Spain's best player against Honduras. His passing was both accurate and penetrative and he actually didn't just sit alongside Busquets. In fact he was just as impressive with his long balls from deep in midfield as he was with his distribution from areas closer to the Honduras' box.

If Iniesta were fully fit, I'd probably play him too, but he just hasn't been himself this past season. Just a solitary goal all season. Looked fairly lacklustre against Switzerland as well. In any case even if Fabregas doesnt start, if it doesn't go to plan, as was the case against Switzerland, he must surely make at the very least an appearance from the bench. I still remember the game against Aston Villa last season, where he came of the bench when it was nil-nil and made an instant impact, scoring two goals.

ayan said...

I think Xavi would be a better option than Fabregas for the simple reason that when you have players of the calibre of Villa and Torres, one doesn't really require a third finisher; just a supplier. No one is better than Xavi at the moment in this regard.