By Chris Harris
Cesc Fabregas is revelling in his new role at Arsenal.
The captain has been the fulcrum of Arsène Wenger's midfield since Patrick Vieira left for Juventus in 2005 but he has had to adapt to a subtle positional change this year.
Fabregas was occasionally deployed as one of the 'three' in a 4-2-3-1 line-up last season and has been granted more creative freedom this term thanks to Arsenal's 4-3-3 formation. Wenger's new tactics comprise a 'holding' midfielder - usually Alex Song - who offers protection for the back four, plus two other midfielders who look to get on the ball in the attacking third where they can create chances and go for goal themselves.
Fabregas has taken time to adjust but dazzled in his new role last Saturday as Arsenal dismantled Blackburn at Emirates Stadium. The Spaniard set up four goals, scored another and might have had a hand in the sixth goal of a 6-2 victory if he hadn't been substituted. At the launch of Nike's CTR360 Boot, Fabregas explained why his new position can bring out the best in him.
"It is difficult to say which position I prefer but probably the one I'm playing now is where I feel most comfortable," said the captain.
"I'm still getting there, you know, to be at my best in that position. Because I think it's different. When I started at Arsenal we were playing 4-4-2, I was one of those two in the middle so I could come very deep to get the ball and when I was young it was really good for me because I had more time from deep positions to link with other players, to move forward from deep.
"Now my position is higher up on the pitch, sometimes I don't touch the ball as often as I used to, so I have to be patient. But I know I'm in this part of the pitch where I can do dangerous things in terms of giving the final ball, and I have more time to go to dangerous positions to score a goal as well.
"I feel more freedom in that position."