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The lost son has returned… Cesc Fabregas finally got his wish and got to wear a Barcelona uniform, this time not forced on him by Reina and Puyol. He even kissed the badge. Oh, that had to hurt for Arsenal fans I’m sure. Or maybe not? After two long years of this saga, knowing that the team is finally moving forward, or maybe backwards in terms of ability, from what I saw yesterday against Udinese.

It wasn’t so long ago that Cesc was kissing the Arsenal badge. Yes, played can kiss different badges, declare love for two different clubs. It’s a fickle business, this football game. Love and dedication for your country, you club, your home grown team, your current club. And it’s always a problem with Spanish, Argentinian and Brazilian players. The calling from Real Madrid and Barcelona is always more lucrative, a bigger draw. Cristiano Ronaldo was dying to leave to Real Madrid even as he was tearing Europe apart in Manchester United uniform. Is Real Madrid a bigger, better club than United?

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Arsene Wenger wasn’t on the lines yesterday, serving a ban and watching from above. After Theo Walcott’s early goal, he didn’t have a lot to be pleased about. Udinese were the better side, more dangerous and had to feel disappointed with their failure to get an away goal. The Aaron Ramsey and Rosicky combination in the middle didn’t work very well. If I’d have to pick between the pre-injury Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, I’d go with Ramsey. He can be great, but it’ll take time, and less on pitch clashes with Ryan Shawcross.

Back to life without Cesc. Barcelona might present their newest addition to the All-Star team tonight at the Nou Camp against Real Madrid. Funny thing about the first leg in the Bernabeu – Real were the better side, but Barcelona with a patched up defense and midfield didn’t really need to play well and get a draw. And it wasn’t luck. They’re the better team, and a Super Cup before the league starts isn’t exactly the place to prove Real Madrid are back on top in Spain.

Arsenal have a very tough second leg in Italy next week. In the middle? Liverpool, a highly unpredictable side at this point, also working out how to play with a brand new and semi shiny midfield. I’m pretty sure they’ll be under heavy pressure in Udine, and this team does not defend very well. At the Emirates, against Kenny Dalglish last year, was one of Arsenal’s more tragic failings as they fell apart in the title race. These games couldn’t come at a worse for a team still trying to figure out who, where, what and how.

Arsene Wenger’s new life without his favorite player on the pitch looks like a failure waiting to happen. Fabregas’ Barcelona future? A bit more optimistic.