The last time Arsenal beat Chelsea at the Emirates, in December 2010, one of the heroes that day was the Spaniard Cesc Fabregas, and Sunday will be his first return to the Emirates since he forced Arsene Wenger to sell him to his boyhood club Barcelona.
When that move was finalised, at a ridiculously low price, much was made of the fact that Arsenal had inserted a buy-back clause into the sale that meant that the Gunners would have first option if the Spanish giants decided to let Fab go at some point in the future. That point came and went last summer, but all Gooners were shocked that Cesc was snapped up by Chelsea instead of returning to the Emirates as expected.
Some rumours insisted that Wenger had turned down the chance to re-sign him, as Mesut Ozil had joined us by then, and Wenger himself said that he thought the move to Stamford Bridge was decided six months before it actually happened, leaving Gooners wondering what had happened to our buy-back clause.
Wenger was asked yesterday why he didn’t activate the clause, and he replied: “We will have to discuss that one day, with all the terms… it is not as clean as that,”
“I cannot speak to you about that (reasons) now because that will not help us to win the game on Sunday.”
Fabregas has been instrumental in Chelsea’s march to this season’s title and has chipped in with 16 assists so far and guess who was the last Arsenal player to reach that total? Yes, it was Fabregas in 2009/10!
So what will the reception for or previously “Prodigal Son” when he comes onto the pitch on Sunday. Cesc was never as maligned as other known traitors like Adebayor, Van Persie or Sami Nasri, but we all know what Arsenal fans thought about Cashley Cole moving to Chelsea. Will the home crowd give Fabregas a standing ovation (like they gave to Juan Mata) or will he be soundly booed when he comes out of the tunnel?