Cesc Fabregas is the centre of attention at Arsenal once more, and this time it has more to do with his football and leadership ability than transfer gossip and accusations of cheating.
The Arsenal captain has returned to his best form in recent weeks, and was again outstanding on Tuesday night as the Gunners confirmed their place in the Carling Cup final with a 3-0 win over Ipswich. Fabregas scored the final goal to cap another man-of-the-match display, which followed his virtuoso performance against Wigan at the weekend.
If Arsenal are to win the final at Wembley in February, they will need their captain to sustain the form and hunger he's showing now.
By his own high standards, this has been an inconsistent season for Fabregas, whose summer was disrupted by speculation over a possible return to Barcelona. There was also the matter of the World Cup, where he was used only fleetingly as Vicente del Bosque's side became world champions.
Recently his leadership qualities have been the subject of debate, and Roberto Martinez called into question his honesty after Wigan's defeat to Arsenal at the weekend.
So it is little wonder Fabregas celebrated his goal, and Arsenal's win on Tuesday as if it were the first of many trophies the Gunners are predicted to win if they can finally end their six-year barren run without a pot. He was joyous at the final whistle and corralled his team-mates into a lap of honour at the Emirates to applaud their fans.
It was, as Jack Wilshere said, a sign of the Spaniard's desire to win. "He's a great captain and now all he want to do is lift trophies at this club. His performances show he's a great captain and great leader. He loves this club and he just wants to win trophies."
The 19-year-old Wilshere was still a schoolboy when Arsenal won their last trophy, the FA Cup in 2005, and shares the club's frustration. "Obviously we want to win trophies and we haven't done that in a while. This is a great opportunity to win a trophy." (© Daily Telegraph, London)