Vermaelen is the captain, but Arsenal are desperate for an on-field leader


Our team is currently devoid of leadership: nobody is able to take the bull by the horns and pull us out of this pile of excrement.

Yesterday’s game against Swansea was the ideal opportunity to start Arsenal’s recovery, as a win would have taken us within only two points of third position in the league table. A lot of the recent negativity surrounding both the quality of our football and our position in the league would have been instantly forgotten, as the hunt for third would have become our main focus.

However, our collection of eleven players on the pitch never looked like winning yesterday; and more than the result, this is hurting us badly now. Of course, Swansea are not a bad team and their confidence was high; and nothing is better for not feeling fatigue than being on a good run. Swansea deserved their win, but it is also fair to say that we handed it to them by not finding a cutting edge throughout most of the game.

It is absolutely amazing that Arsenal can still look so disjointed and one-dimensional after 15 PL games. I still feel that all our players are working hard to make things happen, but football is a lot more than 11 players working hard and performing their roles as good as they can.

Without any doubt, the most important thing that Arsenal are lacking at the moment is on-field leadership. Everybody is hiding in that respect, or maybe it is just a case of not being able to lead; maybe we have a bunch of players who need to be led by a strong leader with excellent organisational skills. And who is going to do that?

Vermaelen is a fine CB and for me he is our first soldier in defence, but he is not a leader. Any leader would choose Vermaelen in his team, as he would give his all for them, but ultimately he is a specialist who should be left to concentrate on his defensive duties like a pit-bull terrier.

From an organisational point of view, I would prefer Mertesacker to be our captain, or maybe Arteta. Both have a good overview of the game and can organise a team really well. They both could do a far better job in leading the team on the field than Vermaelen currently does.

But I am actually starting to think we need something else now.

We need a new on-field hero: somebody with the energy and drive, the never-say-die attitude, and the ability to rouse the troops; somebody who can re-install belief and purpose in our football, and who understands what it means to play for Arsenal: somebody of the leadership pedigree of Adams or Vieira.

Until recently, I believed Jack is too young for this, but a leader needs to take to the stage when duty calls him.

Jack is the complete midfielder and has the fighting spirit to make things happen; he bleeds Arsenal and also has the required organisational skills to guard the shape of our team and the execution of Arsene’s philosophy of football on the pitch.

West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal Barclays Under-21 Premier League

It is time for a new hero. It is time for the giant-killer to start wielding his axe at Arsenal. Arsene has got to be brave a make changes now.

Total Arsenal.

“This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure”

Winston Churchill.

47 thoughts on “Vermaelen is the captain, but Arsenal are desperate for an on-field leader

  • Hi Total 🙂

    Jack would be a good choice, but not sure whether it should be now as I`m worried it might affect his game somehow, no reasoning behind this, just a worry !.
    Actually, I cant find myself reasoning about anything Arsenal at the moment, nothing is making sense !. It`s a good squad, fair enough not like the quality we`ve had in the past, but it should be good enough to challenge for top 4, basically I`m stumped, haven`t a clue, so lets hope them well paid experts at Arsenal can earn their money in sorting it ( whatever “it” is ) out.
    I feel sorry for people like yourself, who take all the time to put up positive posts day in day out, only to be knocked back each time. It`s great that people like you and Stretch manage to keep your composure, when you probably want to scream !. Go on, let it out, no one`s watching at the moment and I wont tell anyone !. hahaha
    We are now getting the feeling of ordinary club supporters ( eg, Spuds ) at the moment, but at least we know it`s only at most a season long blip .

  • Thanks TA.

    I agree, make Jack on field captain immediatly. When Adams got the captaincy every one thought George Graham was crazy but it was a masterstroke.

    Its also time to bring Ox into the first team and have Eisfield and Gnarbry in the squad.

    If Vermalen is any good at organising nights out, or knows the odd stripper, then i would keep him as Club captain.

    We need to take a risk in the transfer market also. We have been linked with Zaha and Hunteler, i say lets go for it.

    A couple of buys, a new captain, bringing more youth into the squad is what we need. All risky but if we are going to go down lets do so in flames.

    Of course none of his will happen. Arsenes only change will be to bring TH14 back on loan.

  • Evening Glic 🙂

    I just don’t think we have a choice any more. Jack would revel in it and and the rest would be happy to help him. If we can get a beast of a DM behind him and he can organise the team and lead by example, it could really work out for us!

    Hope you made good progress with the LS today 🙂

  • Hi Terry 🙂

    Good to hear you are back on the sofa; doing foot massages and stuffing grapes in Mrs Terry’s luscious mouth! 🙂

    All agreed on trying different things, including pushing our youngsters forward.

  • Looking forward to Tuesday, not only is it my Wedding Anniversary ( it was 36 years ago that I was sentenced ! ), but even more important, it`s one of the rare occasions I will watch us live on TV , as it`s one of them games we dont have to win, so I wont feel any stress, a bit like a League Cup game.
    Hope we play some decent youngsters as we need all our regulars rested to fight in the league !.

  • Eisfeld is first team material. Santi should rest now that Rosicky is fit. No one should be guaranteed a first team spot

  • Total…….Our display yesterday had nothing to do with captaincy, good,bad or indifferent. There were too many players just going through the motions. Not good enough. We need experienced players to step up and take responsibility themselves.

    Take Gibbs performance!!!!! he has played 73 games for Arsenal, including european games. One would suggest he should be capable of making decisions for himself. His all round play was simply not good enough if you want your team to be successful.

    Individuals need to perform accordingly, to their potential and ability. imo far too many Arsenal players are just strolling around and not busting a gut, and not giving any where near enough effort and quality.

    Maybe I’m being too critical on certain players, but Im used to Top quality, and thats exactly what i want, first rate players for Arsenal. Wenger has spoiled me and many other Arsenal supporters during his reign. If this is the case that our players are not good enough then he needs to have a short and long term plan to address the problem. Thats what he gets paid to do.

    Rant over.


  • Hi Total, Terry and GliC.
    Total, I posted a long comment on the end of the last post, is there any chance you could transfer it here? Thanks.

  • Hi NS,

    Agreed on Eisfeld – well at least I would like him to get a chance rather sooner than later. He looks like a fine player and could add some spark to our team.

  • Hi VCC 🙂

    So who was leading the troops – who was making sure we executed our philosophy of football?They are a bunch of individuals without a leader, a structure and somebody who keeps it all going. No team can do without leadership, without somebody who organises things and drives them on.

    I disagree with you and Redders: the quality of the players is not a problem – although improvements are still welcome. It is the way they are organised and being led, on and off the pitch that is the biggest problem. They are not gelling, all the automatisms are gone, and players look constantly like they don’t know what to expect/to do next. Not good!

    Rant over. 🙂

  • Okay Herb, here it is:

    Hi Everyone, thanks for the update VCC, GliC has robbed me of last place, but that was his cunning plan all along
    The current malaise at Arsenal is heart-breaking, but not altogether surprising.
    As I’ve said before, it is not conducive for the long-term health of any football club to have a major share-holder who has no love for the sport, no emotional connection with the club, and who distances themselves from the life-line of that club, the supporters. Phillipe Auclair has talked of major splits between the BoD and Mr Wenger. We have no leadership from the very top of the club, whose role is essential in offering supporters a vision of the future.
    On Phillipe Auclair, I’ve also mentioned him saying that Mr Wenger has no tactics, just a philosophy, and he operates like a maverick poker player. He gambles that the players he selects can just go out without any real structure, and that their natural ability will out-smart anything any opposition offers. It used to, but it hasn’t for a long time.
    On one level, Arsene Wenger loves the club, and strives to do his best for Arsenal. But an ugly truth we must also accept, is that on another level, he has grossly mis-managed the club in terms of the wage-policy, and it is now horribly manifesting itself out on the park with our turgid, passionless football. Gervinho had a free header at goal and it almost hit the corner-flag. Who are these charlatans that dare to disgrace our club?
    Mr Wenger has criticised Chelsea and MC’s spending, but we’ve had Champions Lge money for the last 16 years, so apart from the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea, we operate on a far superior level to the rest of the Premier Lge, yet you never hear a manager of a lesser club complaining that Arsenal have greater resources. I’m on record (somewhere), as saying Mr Wenger should have gone after the embarrassment at OT last season, and nothing I have seen since then has convinced me otherwise.
    Alan Hansen on MotD last night said we need two full-backs, a DM, and a striker – quickly – as opposed to the root and branch shake-up that is needed, but it’s a starting point..
    If something drastic doesn’t happen soon, Arsenal will be finished as a competitive football club and the whole Emirates project will have been a complete failure.
    I wish Peter Hill-Wood a speedy recovery.

  • I am not one for calling for Wenger’s instant dismissal, but I feel that unless he can prove that he can still make a fist of it by the time his contract expires in 2014 then that would be the time for him to go.
    By making a fist I mean that he should have more faith in his truly gifted youngsters. Eisfeld and Gnabry have already be mentioned, but we also have Afobe, Wellington and Campbell out on loan – with Miyachi having already returned from Bolton. These players would not only allow Cazorla and Arteta, for example, to be given a rest but also bring something new and fresh to the first team.

    They would also bolster up Wenger’s somewhat dubious definition of talent in his transfers of late.
    Once Wenger appeared to have the golden touch – picking up rare and unheard of gems for a song from around the world – but now that everyone else has cottoned on to this and are either also muscling in on these talents or are the current clubs of these rare gems and are hiking up their transfer costs accordingly, Wenger appears to be at a loss as to where to find his future stars.
    For instance, How did Wenger not spot Jelavic – now of Everton – or, indeed, Michu, now of Swansea? These were exactly the players that Wenger would have snapped up in the past, so why cant he spot them now?
    Therefore we have to rely on the proven talent of our current youngsters. But Wenger needs to have both the courage to play them and the ability to swallow his pride and play current first-team players in other positions, such as giving Walcott a regular central striker role.

    In addition – and this may seem peverse – but I also hope that we fail to qualify for any european competition next season. For too long, qualification to the EPL has been the bench-mark for Arsenal’s success as a team and as Wenger’s justification to remain as a manager.
    In the absence of these two life-savers, together with the likelihood of another season without silverware, Wenger’s managerial ability – or inability – must surely then be clear to see.
    I would rather Wenger leave in 2014 – if he leaves sooner, then so be it – with some of his reputation still intact. It would be such a sad shame to see him forced out as a broken shadow of what he once was.
    This sad fall from grace has been seen too often with other clubs, Dalglish recently at Liverpool; Clough in the past at Nottingham Forest.
    So let Wenger prove to us that he can still rise to this final challenge or show that he has the courage to realise that he should leave the post to a better man before he exhausts what remains of his reputation.

  • SW16G – that is a very balanced comment. Good to see fellow Gooners able to keep things in perspective and yet show their passion for the club. 🙂

    I have no doubt that Arsene could not put more of himself into the team as he does. A hard worker, he is, and there is no doubt they is suffering at the moment.

    Does he still find the gems? I think so, but you are right the competition has improved tremendously and the likes of Everton, Newcastle, Swansea and Fulham are now also capable to find gems for affordable prices.

    I don’t agree with you re not qualifying for the CL. At the moment, we remain just one platform away from the top-platform: the one were all the prices are being won. Arsenal can make the step, but we need to keep our top-players at the end of the next few seasons. Like you, I like to see the young players given a chance, but I also feel we need to add a beast of a DM and an experienced GK. I also would like us to sign a right winger, if Theo indeed does not want to play there any more.

    What do you reckon: can Wenger still do it?

  • Hi Total,
    Auclair wrote the recent Thierry Henry biography, and seems to know what he’s talking about regarding our manager.
    Hansen won eight titles and three European Cups with Liverpool, so whether you like him or not, he knows what it takes to play and win at the top level.

  • Hahaha Herb, you have noticed my cunning plan, but now I am there, there is no way I will give up my last place. To cement my place at the bottom, I`m going to predict my results for next week now and pick the most unlikely of wins, here goes……and in no particular order…. some quiete please ……for the dates….8/9/10 of December 2012.






    I`d say that keeps me bottom ! hahaha

  • Herb:

    “On Phillipe Auclair, I’ve also mentioned him saying that Mr Wenger has no tactics, just a philosophy, and he operates like a maverick poker player. He gambles that the players he selects can just go out without any real structure, and that their natural ability will out-smart anything any opposition offers. It used to, but it hasn’t for a long time.”

    People love to believe that. Yes he works around a philosophy of football, but to suggest there is no structure to it and that players just go out to outsmart the opposition is utter BS.

    Wenger is not perfect, but he gave us so much and maybe he can do it one more time. Obviously, he lost your support but I am sure you would love him to turn things round for us as well.

  • Hi GliC, it could well have been TalkSPORT.
    If it had proper structure, Total, Mr Wenger would buy a better quality of player more suited to his requirements instead of continually forcing square-pegs in round holes.

  • Philippe Auclair is sometimes on the ” Fans Forum ” on Arsenal player with Tom Watt. He actually comes across as an intelligent well informed football journalist !

  • Our £140m worth of ‘talent’ (wage-bill), was humbled and given a football lesson by a club with less than £20m worth of talent (wage-bill).
    Last year we finished 19pts behind MU, this year after just 15 games and 23 remaining, we are already 15pts behind. That represents massive decline.

  • Yes VCC, that concludes the voting from glicdom !. Yes , I know, how ridiculous to put Arsenal down for a win !. hahaha
    I`m still greatfully puzzled how we beat the Spuds 5-2 !. hahaha

  • I know what you mean. I’m still scratching my head after Saturday. I worry for the rest of the season.

    I know I keep banging the same drum, but I really think there is something not harmonious about the team/manager/coach

  • Nite nite all. Sweet dreams. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives. Onwards and upwards. COYG

  • For the record i am still 100% behind Arsene Wenger (with a knife in my hand hahaha) The man desrves our respect and every opportunity should be afforded to him to turn it around. With his integrety, he will know when to call it a day.

    Herbie makes some very good points, but i dont buy his doomsday scenario

    I see this period as a means to an end, not as some kind of road to noweresville. A place were grown men all look like geeks, have no chance with women, and indulge there fantasies with a copy of playboy is not were i believe Arsenal will end up.

    We have already been told what the strategy is. Its to generate as much turnover as possible, reinvest it back into the club, and at the same time play a major role in talks with other clubs and footballing bodies to push through ffp rules.

    All this is designed to make us more competitive, and hopefully with our historical power, internal organisation, and hugh potential, push us to the top

    I have no reason to disbelive the Board. Kronke has a history of long term investment and tends to appoint people and then let them run the club as they see fit.

    I will be the first to admit that we have sliiped this season from acceptable standards. arsenal is a great club and the thought of languishing in mid table is not what we expect.

    However, i am very optomistic about the future and the solid foundations we have built should act as a promise for some great Arsenal teams of the future.

  • Morning all..
    I agree with TA..
    It’s all about leadership.. and teamwork.. (teamwork only work with leadership)

    From the very beginning I don’t like Verm as our captain.. as I don’t like him as our vice-capt last season either.. The only good thing about Verm being captain for me is that we will not see him again next season.. LOL..
    I don’t watch our last game.. but if Koscielny there I think it will be different..

    Yes it was a bad tradition of Arsenal to do that (selling our captain).. but I hope they do it again this season.. maybe for the last.. before this tradition break.. haha..

    Expensive players are not the answer.. Look at Chelsea.. they buy a lot this season.. and bring Hazzard, Oscar, Marin, Moses.. and still will bring another..
    Look what happened..?? They lost their captain John Terry.. they don’t have leader in the field.. And they never win in the last 5 or 6 games..

    Yes.. All we need is leadership.. But who..??
    For now I choose Mertesacker.. and Giroud.. We need their energy..
    Willshere is great but still too young.. will be perfect in 3 years ahead..

    All we need badly now is winning a game.. Hope away to Olympiacos bring us back the winning spirit..

  • Hi Henry 🙂

    I also thought Wilshere is too young, but I had a long hard thought over it and feel he is the only one who has the potential to become a great leader in our team. I’d rather Mertesacker concentrates on organising our defence and Giroud leading the line, and little jack binds it all together in the middle with his leadership skills.

    I would like Vermaelen to stay at Arsenal, but not as our captain.

  • Like Glic I not sure Jack’s ready for that role yet. I understand your reasoning as his never say die attitude, would be an example in itself. However I’m not sure that Jack is as tactically aware as he’d need to be to fulfil the position and the added responsibility could easily stifle his game. No I think Jack needs to develop further before he’s bestowed with the captaincy, if he hadn’t missed over 15 months injured he’d be a lot closer now. Where I’ve found myself closer to you is in the idea of another defensive mid, but whereas many want a purchase I’d rather look within. I think we possess a rough diamond in Frimpong, I don’t want him polished up I would rather he stayed a little frayed around the edges. A hard man to physically compliment our Miquel wouldn’t go amiss me thinks, especially an enforcer type.

  • Hi Richie, re earlier comment, I reckon the opposite is the case: Jack would revel in the responsibility where it would be too much for F-pong to take on the DM role. It would perhaps be better for Jack to get more time as a player, but Arsene/Arsenal need now somebody to lead this team on the field and I reckon he is the best candidate as per the post. 🙂

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