By Richard Clarke

The future midfield role of Cesc Fabregas may be more defensive than offensive, according to Arsène Wenger.

The 21-year-old played a key part in Arsenal’s second-half comeback at Wigan on Saturday but only after he had been pushed into a deeper position by his manager.

The visitors played their now familiar 4-2-3-1 in the opening 45 minutes with Fabregas helping to support front man Nicklas Bendtner. It did not work on this occasion, partly because the Spaniard was closely marked.

Arsenal struggled, conceded early and might have gone in to the break 2-0 down had Ben Watson’s free-kick not rebounded out off the inside of the post on the stroke of half time.

However Wenger switched after the break and gradually his side took over. They deserved to win but two goals in the final minute made the score a lop-sided 4-1. Afterwards Wenger explained his thinking.

“We dropped Cesc deeper into midfield and pushed Theo Walcott upfront,” he said. “I felt that we needed a bit more creativity.

“At some stage when a guy is man-to-man marked you either push him completely upfront to create space for other players or you push him completely deep. When he’s in the mid-zone and the ball comes out it becomes very difficult.

“It is a very difficult question to answer about whether that is Cesc’s best position or not.

“He certainly likes to be at the start of things but then he can also give the final ball.

“I would still say the deeper role suits him more because he likes to get the ball from the centre back and he has a good long pass. That’s more him than a guy who plays behind the strikers who might have more pace to penetrate.

“He is very good in the hole too but I believe that is because of the quality of his passing and less for his individual game.”

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13 Apr 2009