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Issue 345
23 October 2011
Updated Weekly

Fab Tackle Doesn’t Measure Up

OLD BAG: This is an archive story from Issue 138 - 3 Apr 2006




Patrick Still Wears the Trousers

It was billed as the changing of the guard - Young Cesc Fabregas outplayed his illustrious predecessor Patrick Vieira as Arsenal brushed Juventus aside in the Champions' League quarter-finals on Tuesday night. But even as the 18-year-old's on-the-field accomplishments were fully sinking in, urgent questions were emerging over his suitability for the role as the Highbury outfit's midfield enforcer.

For despite the twinkling toes and the clinically taken goal, it was disappointingly clear that Fabregas's tackle simply doesn't measure up to the man they call "Le Grand Saucisson".

French Pride

Team-mate Robert Pires admitted Vieira's was a big jock-strap to try and fill. "We were all delighted for Cesc after ze game," he told the Onion Bag. "We opened ze champagne and gave a rousing rendition of the ze Marseillaise, but zen Patrick came into ze dressing room to congratulate us – just a towel round 'is waist – Mon Dieu! Zere it was again straining against ze cotton just like ze old days. Even zough we 'ad won ze match, we all fell silent – Now zat's a true Highbury hero."

Italian Jessies

Since his move to Italy at the beginning of the season, Vieira has been a massive hit at the Old Lady. Not only is he a huge presence on the pitch in the cut and thrust of the midfield, his arrival has seen the Turin club's female fan-base triple. "Thees team 'as been full of… 'ow you say… nancy-boys for as long as I can remember," one vivacious supporter told us, her voice thickening. "Now we 'ave a real man playing for Juventus."

Small Pork-Based Snack

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger conceded that his young charge had a long way to go before reaching Vieira's stature. "We encouraged Cesc to model himself on Patrick. Our European lads are all very close, but from the moment Thierry and Robert nicknamed him "Le Petit Chipolata" I knew the young boy had a mountain to climb," he said sadly.

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Also in Issue 138