Fabregas: Arsenal trophy drought will go on

 

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The Independent Football

Cesc Fabregas has explained his decision to leave Arsenal as being due to the slim chance of their winning the Premier League. Fabregas left for Barcelona this summer after seven seasons in the Arsenal first team, during which they won only the 2005 FA Cup. Now at the European and Spanish champions, Fabregas admitted that a fear of missing out on trophies drove him back to Barça.

"I want to be in a club that is able to win the big titles year after year and I don't see that kind of future for Arsenal," Fabregas said. "I still have many feelings for Arsenal, but I fear that they won't be able to push the other big clubs in England away. If you look at the team this season I can't see them finishing in front of teams like Manchester United or [Manchester] City, or Chelsea. There's just too big a difference between the squads."

While Fabregas conceded that Arsenal's record of developing young talent means that they can spend less than their rivals, he expressed "hope" that the team could regenerate and improve without him. "I respect that Arsenal don't have the same financial opportunities as the others," he said, "but it was part of my decision to leave that I find it hard to see Arsenal winning the Premier League or Champions League in the near future. I hope they will replace me and the others that have left with some quality players and maybe they can take Arsenal back to their level as champions."

Arsenal travel to Blackburn Rovers tomorrow lunchtime, and manager Arsène Wenger admitted yesterday that Aaron Ramsey was unlikely to play. The Wales midfielder had started every game this season before Tuesday's trip to Borussia Dortmund, which he missed with an injury. "Ramsey had a little test today and will practice tomorrow, he has a little chance to be available," Wenger said. "Thomas Vermaelen is progressing very well and will be available after the next international break."

Tomorrow's match will be Arsenal's first away league game since the 8-2 defeat at Manchester United. Wenger is confident that his team has "turned a corner", following a victory over Swansea and a draw in Dortmund. "You have to consider that last year we were the best away team in the league," he said, "and Old Trafford was a one-off result. You cannot take that as a general rule, and what we have achieved over the last few years away from home is what people forget.

"We feel we have turned a corner, but we will be judged by the consistency of our results. Inside the club, we feel we are on the right track, the spirit in the team is good, strong and together. We want to change the scepticism around us, but that will only be if we are consistent with our results.

"Let's get result after result, stick together and not talk too much. The atmosphere was very down after the Old Trafford game. Since we have put two results together and that changes straight away the atmosphere in the camp."

On Tuesday night in Dortmund three of Arsenal's new signings – Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun – started, and Wenger expressed his confidence yesterday that his deadline-day buys would be vindicated by their performances. "I believe that if you look at the class of their attitude we were right, at their intelligence level we were right and at their quality we were right," he said. "They need a little bit of time to get to know the other players well and find a balance in the team. You lose confidence quickly with the result we made at Old Trafford, and gain it back slowly. We will try to do that from game to game."

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