Poor Tommy Vermaelen: another victim of the leadership trap

Has the Leeuw van Vlaaderen lost his bite?

Has the Leeuw van Vlaaderen lost his bite?

I like Thomas Vermaelen: he always plays with his heart on his sleeve and has only said nice things about our club. From the start of the season, however, I have argued that not Vermaelen but Mertesacker should be our captain.

Wenger tends to undervalue the importance of choosing the right captain, and as a result our on-field leader is often chosen based on a mixture of length of service and importance within the team. I agree with Wenger that leadership is a responsibility of the whole team, and there definitely is a need for more than just one leader on the pitch. But for most footballers the captaincy of a team still means a lot, and many players benefit enormously from the presence and guidance of a proper captain.

To lead a team, whether at work or in sports, you need to have certain capabilities. I have seen many a colleague promoted to a leadership role while totally not suitable for it. Often technical specialists within a team/department/organisation are promoted to a leadership role as a means of reward for his/her great contributions to the business, or as a retention measure.

But a technical specialist often does not know how, or even like, to deal with leadership issues: such as sorting out inter-colleague disputes, or having to stand in front of a group and tell them what to do, give them a rollocking, or motivate them.

Thomas Vermaelen is a technical specialist. He is a good defender with plenty of stamina, and great in the air and on the ground. But he needs to concentrate on what he does and remain focussed throughout the game; if he doesn’t he will make mistakes.

And this season TV5 has made a number of painful and costly mistakes; most notably against MU when he meekly gifted VJ the ball, so the Dutchman could do nothing else but score. And there have been more of these sorts of avoidable and costly mistakes, and many have occurred in the top games.

Vermaelen needs to be left to do his job, and rather be led by somebody else than having to lead others. In my view, Arsene should never have offered him the captaincy, and Tommy should never have accepted it.

The natural leader in our defence is Mertesacker: leading the line is his biggest asset, but with Vermaelen as our captain, Per was not able to be his natural self. On top of that, because Vermaelen was our captain, another fantastic CB suffered in equal amounts: Koscielny. Until recently, Wenger played his captain automatically, if and when fit, which meant that Koz ended on the bench most of the time. Yet many of us have argued that Mertesacker and Koz are our best pairing out of the available CBs.

I reckon Vermaelen is quite similar in style and quality to Koscielny, but since he was made captain, Vermaelen has dropped dramatically in form. So much in fact, there are now strong rumours he will be sold this summer. I reckon there is some truth in this, but it would be a real shame. I don’t see him necessarily as a first choice CB, but he would be great back up; and we know from previous seasons how much we need strength in depth in this area of our defence.

The best thing to do now is to remove the captaincy from Vermaelen asap, and give it either to Arteta or Mertesacker; the latter being my preference.

Mertesacker, whether the new captain or not, should be made responsible for organising our defence and lead this area of our team. Vermaelen and Koz can then compete with each other to become Per’s first choice partner at the back, and I have no doubt that whoever wins this battle will thrive under the guidance and organisational skills of the BFG.

It is not yet too late for Tommy, but I feel strongly he has become the next victim of the leadership trap; and unless Koz gets injured or suspended, we might not see him many more games in an Arsenal shirt. That would be a real shame.

Written by: Total Arsenal.

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78 Responses to Poor Tommy Vermaelen: another victim of the leadership trap

  1. AFC says:

    TA, great post as usual.

    The thing is Verm got the captaincy because of the length of time he has been at the club and . Per has only been at the club for a few seasons so I can see why Wenger gave the captaincy to Verm instead of Per. The same can be said about Arteta.

    The problem in giving the captaincy to one of our 3 CBs, is that none of them can be guaranteed a starting place as Wenger does not know our best CB pairing and in terms of abilty are pretty much the same.

    If Wenger is insistent on giving the captaincy to a player who has been at the club for a number of years the only candidate I can see is Sagna but he may be sold in the summer so I say Wilshere should be the captain starting from next season as he is our most promising player and will eventually become captain. Also making him captain will make him less likely to leave us in the future as he will feel he is the heartbeat of the team like Gerrard at Liverpool.

  2. VCC says:

    Nice read Total. I think you are spot on with Vermaelen. Ever since he took the captaincy his game has suffered. Strange reaction because I thought it would have the complete opposite affect on him.

    If he does decide to move on, we need to replace him immediately, as we are short on back up in this crucial position.

    It would be nice if Wenger gave the captaincy to someone else, and Thomas stayed to fight for his position and prove to us all, that he has not lost his mojo.

  3. crispen says:

    this fallacy that Jack should be captain needs to stop. The kid has not yet fully developed his game. There is nothing wrong with the most talented player NOT being a captain… Please lets not mess up his development. He should be given another 3 full seasons before he is considered for the captaincy… and since when does being stop our captains from leaving. the opposite has been true for the last 5 years.

    Giggs has been the best player at Manure for two decades but has only captained a handful of games. Jack’s time will come.

    BFG is a good choice. My choice would be Rosicky.. He has been here forever, has the talent and has captained his country for 5 years now. Sagna is my next choice.

  4. AFC says:

    Crispin, the reason I said jack should be captain is because Arteta and Mertesacker might not be regular starters next season.

    I agree with you and if it was my choice I would have Sagna.

  5. Red Arse says:

    Excellent stuff, TA, and a damn good read!! 🙂

    Verm has been a victim of his injuries over recent times which has not helped him.

    Another factor, which I wrote about yesterday, and is in line with your thinking, is that being captain of a settled and successful team makes it easier to get by, as the captain, and as a player, when you have a dip in form.

    Clearly with the outgoing RvP, and the changes to the team because of injuries to Gibbs, Sagna, Kozzer, as well as the drop off in form of Chezzer has meant the team are not settled and not as successful as he and we would have wished.

    The constant rumours about Barca wanting him too, cannot have been a good thing for his mental concentration either.

    He would have been better off not being captain, but I think taking the captaincy off him now, so late in the season, could make matters worse during our run up to the season end and our attempt to get 4th place.

    My choice for captain, next season, would be Hermann the German, aka Per! 🙂

  6. Red Arse says:


    I am not sure what you are referring to as ‘data transfers’. Is it for your work or for the gee gees, or both? Just being curious — ignore as appropriate!! 🙂

    Like me, you might sometimes question the reason for blogging, but there is always the lure of chatting to your buddies to draw you back, and although you clearly know bugger all about the HGR, 🙂 you always make interesting and slightly off beat comments! 🙂

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC 🙂

    I believe that choosing he the right captain is very important and the only criteria for picking a captain has to be suitability. Length of service or technical/tactical qualities are not so relevant; but ability to organise the team, communicate with the rest of the team, lead by example and motivate a team through a difficult patch in the game, or set of games, is crucial.

    Wilshere shows a lot of potential for this and I have no doubt he would be a good captain. However, I feel Mertesacker is the best choice, but we need to continue to play a formation and tactics which suit him best (like we did recently and at the start of the season).

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi VCC 🙂

    Vermaelen has tried very hard to combine leading the team with being a good defender, but yes, it had the opposite effect on him of what we expected.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Crispen 🙂

    Rosicky is a good choice, but only if he gets a regular starting place in the team, which looks less and less likely now.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Redders 🙂

    Thanks fro adding the circumstances TV had to deal with, and yes, it has not been an easy time for him to be a captain.

  11. AFC says:

    TA, I agree Mertesacker can trive on the captaincy but I feel Sagna deserves the captaincy more than him (if he does not leave). He has been loyal to us for a number of years and has been very reliable at RB for us, for a number of years (he even was reliable when asked to play CB and jenks got sent off) and maybe he and Mertesacker could be our best CB pairing, he is experienced at both international and club level.

  12. AFC says:

    * thrive

  13. TotalArsenal says:


    I just don’t think Sagna would be a great captain. For me, he is a specialist and wants to get on with the job. I reckon he would buckle under the weight of the captaincy, just like TV did/does.

    He definitely deserves recognition for what he has done for us and I hope he’ll be offered a new contract rather sooner than later!

  14. Highbury Harmony says:


    Another interesting, thought provoking article that I’m sure will extract varied responses, all of which will likely be well-supported.

    While I agree with the overall sentiment of your article, re: Vermaelen eventually being relieved of his captaincy duties, I question the timeliness of your suggestion. Much like AFC, I believe stripping the captaincy now would do more harm than good for squad morale the rest of the season.

    With Vermaelen already not starting games and Arteta wearing the armband, there already has been a “subtle” shift in leadership without making the issue public. It saves face/public humiliation for Vermaelen and allows the players to focus more of football/results than the media circus that generally follows this club.

    Of our current players, Arteta is my natural choice to be the next captain. As Santi eluded to during one of his first interviews at the club, Arteta is one of the most vocal players on the team and everyone sort of sees him as the leader/captain anyway (despite Verm being given the armband). He’s a guaranteed starter and for the rest of the year, his place among the starters is the least volatile, yet his position on the pitch is the most influential. Whether he properly fulfills the role of a DM is a different story altogether, but as a leader and vocal presence, he’s the easy choice.

    With that said, like AFC, I do not believe (more so hope) either Mertesacker or Arteta will be in the starting line-ups next season. Giving the armband to either permanently could be yet another mistake. The only suitable candidate that we have who will be a permanent fixture in our starting line-up for the foreseeable future is Jack. He is the ideal successor for Vermaelen as captain, but is still young and there is some truth in that it could negatively affect his development.

  15. AFC says:

    TA, you are probably right. The only problem with giving the captaincy to Mertesacker or Arteta is that they cannot be guaranteed starters next season but then who really can be guaranteed a regular starting spot next season apart from Jack, Cazorla or Walcott. Cazorla could be a option but I do not think he is vocal enough.

    Maybe Wenger might buy an experienced GK like Cesar who would be able to make a great captain?

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, I reckon Mertesacker could be a regular starter next season, but only if we build our defence/defensive play around him. He played twice 90 minutes for Germany in the last week and they seem to rate him highly. I reckon it is all or nothing with Per: make him a leader and he will thrive; make another CB the leader and he’ll will underperform.

    Do you reckon we will sign a top, experienced GK this summer, AFC?

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi HH 🙂

    You are making a valid point re saving Vermaelen the humiliation of losing the captaincy. The problem for him is, though, that he is likely not to play any more, or hardly any more, this season, as Wenger has moved on and made Mertesacker the leader of our defence and Arteta our captain…

    Agreed on Arteta doing a good job as our captain at the moment, but I am not sure whether the rest of the team see him as the leader, even though Santi said so.

  18. AFC says:

    TA, I would rather give the captaincy to Mertesacker and build the team around him. I am sceptical of giving the captaincy to Arteta as I feel he is starting to enter a decline. Next season if we cannot get amorebieta on a free I would rather we made Sagna a CB (if he stays) and buy a Monreal type RB.

    I do want Wenger to go and buy an experienced GK but I feel buying a new GK is not a necessity and would only waste money which would be better spent on outfield players. I say renew Fab’s contract for a year as he is capable of stepping in when needed and sell Mannone.

    I am hoping to send you a post in the next few days explaining why we should not buy a new GK in the summer.

  19. Red Arse says:

    I have expressed my reservations before about our veerrry slow Herman the German, but he does have other top rate attributes as regards experience, reading of the game and a physical presence (altho’ he is a bit too ‘nice’ for me) so I think he will become captain next season and he will be a regular starter, injuries allowing.

    For me the only other alternative would be Cazorla, with his ‘top’ playing status, experience and will to win.

  20. glic says:

    Thanks Totes. A decent distraction from you and HH`s stalker type love in with Jovetic ! hahaha

    I have always been of the opinion that a CB is the best position for a Captain if posssible, they have the best view of whats happening all around,they are in the best position to organise ( eg` back 4 line etc` ) and instruct and are usually big muvverz who no one is going to argue with !.
    Most I know are not meek insecure introverts, BFG is a good call as long as his performances are up to standard, unlike in Cricket, where many years ago Mike Brearley was England Captain and was shite as a batsman, they forsaked a better batsman for a great Captain, this should never be the case in football. if he`s a great Captain but his performances are crap then out he goes !.
    I`m glad ( and somewhat surprised ) Wenger had the space hoppers to bench Verm` for his below par games even though he is Captain !. It may even have the desired effect to give Verm` the kick up the backside he needed !. It will not surprise me to see an improvement in game when he gets the opportunity.

  21. Red Arse says:


    I would really like to read your Post regarding the GKs, because I think it would be a mistake to buy a new Keeper, too, but I will leave my reasons until TA puts up your Post.

    That said, I suspect we are looking very hard for a keeper, and I have a feeling it will end up with an Almunia type — not good enough to be a ‘top, top’ keeper, and just causing frustration and unhappiness with Sczcesney by keeping him out of the team needlessly — and causing the fans to get upset because the money can be spent on more important problems.

  22. allezkev says:

    I find that I agree with every word of this post.
    Totally and footballistically sensible.

    One average season shouldn’t mean that Vermaelen is out the door.
    And nor do I wish to see Sagna leave…
    We have seen too many of our better players depart in recent seasons.
    This has to stop in my view.
    Well it has to stop, if we want to compete…

  23. Red Arse says:

    Is there any reason why Oz has done a runner?

    I was rather hoping we might have an Ozzie pre-Match this Saturday, altho’ yours are very good too, TA!! 🙂

  24. Red Arse says:

    Hi Allezkev, 🙂

    Sensible sentiments!

    Unfortunately, I am not at all sure that either Sagna or Verm will stay.
    That is not because AW would want them to go, I am sure he does not, but both players have seemed to be unhappy this season, for one reason or another, and it would be a mistake to keep unhappy players in my view.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent, AFC! Looking forward to it 🙂

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Glic, it looks like Vermaelen’s days are over at Arsenal and the kick of the backside will have little effect, but I hope he’ll get one more chance before the end of the season.

    Shame you also don’t see the light, but it still not too late to Jovetic that box! 😛

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers allez-kev! 🙂

    Agreed, we need the experience of the Sagna’s and Vermaelen’s in our squad.

  28. Highbury Harmony says:

    I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I would loathe to see Mertesacker as our captain. I really think he lacks the quality, pace or assertiveness to be our captain. Yes, he’s good at organizing the back line and is very committed to playing deep in order to honour his defensive responsibilities, but aside from that he’s pretty crap and I would love to see him out of our starting line-up asap next year if we sign a new CB.

    He’s pretty poor aerially, he can’t run for his life, he isn’t aggressive and isn’t a great tackler, he’s very slow in his decision making, he telegraphs his passes, he has poor ball control and he lacks the strength to outmuscle opponents or to shield the ball.

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    RA 🙂

    I am hoping every week the lazy student (is that a tautology? 🙂 ) offers to write another pre-match, but to no avail. He says he is busy for the next few months, but we know what that means…. hahaha 🙂

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Very harsh HH, but some of it has an element of truth in it. If he remains our leader in defence he will be very good for us. The rest of the team will benefit enormously from his leadership and will get a lot better as a result. They will also compensate for his slowness imo.

    He is not the sort of player who can sit on the bench as back-up. I am sure he would leave in that case. I reckon he will be our main man in defence next season, and a good back-up will be bought this summer (unless Wenger believes Djourou is that man…).

  31. A/S says:

    I’ve visited this site quite a few times now and enjoyed reading the articles, but I’m sad to say that this was a very disconcerting read. I cannot possibly align myself with the humbly argued view that Thomas should be our third best centre back or even that the captaincy is wearing him down crucially. Rather than looking at the collective response, the unfortunate tendency is for observers to look for one solitary culprit whenever we concede a goal, whether that is to make it easier to ascribe blame or the simple fact that they don’t bother looking for flaws in the system. And I simply don’t ascribe to that way of thinking, as it is, at best, unconstructive, at worst, downright ignorant. (Please not that I’m not suggesting that this article files under that particular category, it just seems to draw on similar conclusions.)

    To put my last point into context, I genuinely think Thomas is being credited with far too much accountability for collective breakdowns. I’ve read quite a few articles making the point that he’s made “costly errors in important games”, however, more often than not, that’s simply not the case. He’s made *a few* and, unsurprisingly, he’s not alone in having done that. Koscielny has kept his knack of scoring own goals and got himself sent-off in the crucial game against City, while Mertesacker was caught far too high up the pitch for a couple of Michu’s goals. This is not to lay into our number 4 and 6, just to add a bit of balance to the “Thomas has cost us most” equation.

    As for the captaincy, well, van Persie wasn’t exactly the perfect captain either. Fiery and more than happy to play dirty under any circumstance, he was only regarded “Captain Fantastic” because of his goal tally. Before him ,Fabregas was a very odd choice of captain and he only grew into the task along the way. I don’t recall people jumping on the back of either two for making a few mistakes in their game.

    Thomas is by no means immune to criticism and he’s had his shaky moments, which he’ll be the first to acknowledge. But we have to look at the bigger picture before drawing silly conclusions. He was an excellent vice-captain last year; he’s been leading the defence ever since arriving (in his first season he dragged Galla’s sorry backside all year); he’s currently on only his eighth month as captain for a team with, believe or not, a rather fine defensive record (in the league, at least); and he’s a model professional who always gives his 110% for the Club and the greater cause (as you mentioned yourself). I personally believe he’s the perfect club captain for Arsenal, but, even if you’re having doubts over his capacity, at the very least he deserves more time to prove that he’s up for the task.

  32. allezkev says:

    Hiya Red.
    Yep, I see your point.
    But there are always unhappy players. Every team has them.
    I just think that we need to draw a line in the sand.
    If Verm & Sagna are unhappy?
    Tough. Fight for your place.

  33. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, we’ll continue to be in trouble until Per is out of our starting line-up imho. If we do not buy Amorebieta or another class CB that can do what Per does but miles better, we’ll continue to suffer from inconsistency in defence. Per’s too slow at transitioning the play and too slow himself to join the attack or help break down a counter attack.

    It obviously would not be the end of the world if he was a starter again next season, but there better be a contingency plan as he’s getting older and it’s tiresome to see other defenders have to compensate for his lack of pace. N’Koulou would be a quality, young third CB option if we were looking for one.

  34. TERRYS BROLLY says:

    TA, great stuff, and once again i find myself in total agreement.

    However, great points made by A/S. After reading that, and been of a capricious nature and un sound mind, i could easily change my view on this subject. hahaha

  35. Highbury Harmony says:

    A/S, I understand exactly where you’re coming from, but it’s an issue when the player himself admits that the captaincy has negatively affected his game and that implies that he should have never accepted the role.

    He’s an introvert by nature and likes to hide behind the front lines, while easing the tension with humour and practical jokes when possible. He’s the ideal vice captain and a secondary leadership role where he can better focus on his game would have been ideal.

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, why do you think the Germans play him so much? They have a wealth of choice, yet believe Per has something to offer that is special…

  37. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, easy: Hummels, Howedes and Badstuber all injured, with the latter out for most of this year. Remember how Per didn’t play much or at all at the Euros?

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    A/S fine comment which needs a good response. I will get back to you later, as I need to be away for a while. 🙂

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    How many caps, HH? Come on, give the man some credit where it is due! 🙂

  40. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, how many more caps do you want Howedes, Hummels and Badstuber to accumulate being born in 1988, 1988 and 1989 respectively?

  41. glic says:

    I thought we were supposed to be entering a new era, where we keep our players not sell them !. Verm should knuckle down abd fight for his place.
    If Verm is on his bike, then what happens if Kos or BFG get injured ?. We need to buy quality first if we are to let him go ( which will be a mistake imo ) and by that I mean someone as good or better !.
    This summer should herald a new dawn and only super quality ( I know Stiffyklompenstein doesn`t like that wording, but it was Wenger who anounced it , but to no effect ! ) will appease the fans after years of haemorrhaging our best players.
    I know most on here are intelligent enough to know the history of our move with deep pockets attached and the influx of oil money to have been patient over the years, but now we have the club itself saying we are in a position to compete on money turns aided by the already influent FFP, so even the reserved among us are not going to take any summer bullshit. New dawn, new era, new Arsenal………..Gladiators are you ready !. hahaha

  42. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, it’s clear then, that you haven’t a clue as to what is going on at Arsenal nowadays. The objective is to sell our best players year after year in order to not have healthy competition for players, so that our players get run into the ground and accumulate injuries that either ruin their careers or will ruin their careers when they inevitably switch clubs hahaha!

    If any of you can’t sense the sarcasm there then you need to find some immediate help!

  43. Red Arse says:


    In counter-point to my previous comment, it is only fair for me to say that my view is based only on what has been rumoured, and both of the players have denied they want away.

    Fingers crossed it all works out! 🙂

  44. Red Arse says:

    HH @16:19,

    You are a very naughty Gooner!! 🙂

    To answer TA’s question about the number of caps PM has, by asking a question of your own, leads to a discussion of the wilfully deaf!

    The answer he was looking for is 82 — but what really lay behind TA’s question was the inference that anyone who wins that number of International caps at 27 y.o. is no doozy. 😀


  45. Highbury Harmony says:

    Redders, check your facts mate ;). Per is 28, due to turn 29 this year. It’s no wonder he has so many caps for the German National team in comparison to the three I’ve listed :).

    However, I do see yours and TA’s point that he was a first-choice CB for Germany over the years, but his time is clearly coming to an end with better CBs finally coming through the system. I’ve just never been a fan of his lack of pace and ball playing ability, though I do admire his attention to detail on the defensive side of the game, in addition to his ability to organize the back four.

  46. glic says:

    I love a bit of irony, satire and sarcasm of which they say is the lowest form of wit, so what, it is still wit !. It is sometimes needed and has come to my rescue a few times so as for me not losing it !.
    I once got a phone call that my wife had an car accident just a quarter of a mile down our lane, some twat had crashed into the back of her car writing it off. For a quarter of a mile my wife indicated to turn right.
    I run down to the scene, thankfully my wife was OK and even more lucky, that particular day the grandchild was not in the back baby seat !.
    The other driver was shook up and shaking , but I could not resist some sarcasm to save me punching his lights out. ” Some driving there mate, I`m sorry my wife didn`t text or email you that she was going to turn right !. You must be an advanced driver as your car is advanced in the boot of my wifes car, your not the STIG by any chance….Hamilton ?….Button ?….part-time crash dummy ?…..blah….blah…..blah and a lot worse ! “.
    It is safe to say that I have a quite imaginative mind, which when I`m pissed off can cut people down to size with a razor like tongue and is usually saved for my poor missus when she is moaning at me, trouble is, I some times wish for her to nag so I can use it !, is that bad of me……like f**k it is !. hahaha

  47. Highbury Harmony says:

    I just find that Per is better in the German set-up because they’ve always had better players to mask his deficiencies in pace, ball playing and lack of assertiveness in both the air and on the ground. At Arsenal, where the club and team talent are clearly inferior, his weaknesses are exposed more. The telegraphing of passes, slow decision making and lack of pace are what bother me the most. His slow passing/decision making often leads to our other players being placed under immediate pressure to clear the ball, since Per telegraphs his passes, eventually leading to unnecessary goals on the counter attack.

  48. Red Arse says:


    Per is as far from your 29 as my 27 is from his 28. How’s them facts? 🙂

  49. Red Arse says:

    I think we are where we are – in case any of you guys had not noticed, so Per is not going to be shafted because he is 28 and only has a mere 82 caps!

    That said, I would be a hypocrite if I did not admit that I have been known — on this very lovely site — to have been somewhat critical of the lad.

    My exposition, indeed even castigation some might say, of his lack of pace, his Queen Mary like turning circle, his lack of aerial prowess and diffidence when the rough stuff is being meted out, was a work of art in its own right! 🙂

    In fairness, however, it has to be said that I have moved over to the dark side, and allowed myself to be convinced by the Chief Clog into seeing him in a different light.

    he is Captain material, and will have a long career at Arsenal, for his magical interceptions, reading of the game and because he can swear in German! 😀

  50. Gerry says:

    Evening all. Very good post TA, but so many flipping responses I was only able to glance at a few.
    I am not so hot when it comes to this Captain picking lark. At the beginning of the season I reasoned that it ought to be someone who is likely to play in the most matches …SZCZ!
    Look where that will have got me …

    I now fall 100% into the Mert camp. He gets an overview as to what is happening out in front of him. He is mature enough to be able to do his own job, and organise others. His language skills should be well up to scratch to understand when a ref is calling someone a Spanish twat(allegedly, but very appropriate at the time?C’mon, he must be, he plays for Chelsea!), or not, and cope with the perpetual northern dialect we get fed with, regards our refs?The man for the job?
    There is a case for Arteta or Jack, if only to save them getting a booking for protesting too much, but I’ll stick with the BFG.

    Re TV5, of course if we were doing the ‘team defence’ thing early on, he might not have made those mistakes? But I agree, the chances of another knock to Kos is always possible, not to mention the word ‘rotation’ again. So TV has still time to get back and show his true worth?

  51. Red Arse says:

    So, come on, Gerry, what data were yo transferring?

    Cloned cards, all the girls you have known, Glic’s jokes? 😀

  52. glic says:

    Something tells me that if he was as good as say Isco and we bought him, that he would sell a record amount of shirts . It`s just a feeling I get !.
    I even bet money that HH would change his blog name to CC……Canadian Cuntz !. hahaha

  53. Gerry says:

    Yes Redders, My data transfer is my horse related thing. Having updated my templates for each course during the winter, and now ironed out every last blip I can find, I am now copying last season’s key races onto the same format. If anyone has an idiot’s guide to Excel, I’d be obliged. Correction, something below ‘Excel for Dummies’ would be better ha ha.

    If it is not logical I am lost … Don’t go there Redders!

  54. Gerry says:

    I forgot amongst everything from yesterday to ask someone to re-post …

    JM – Can you please put up ‘Be The One'(?) vid again on Saturday? It worked a treat last time. I can’t remember the Japanese guy’s name, but you know the one, or both. Ta

  55. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha glic, I’m sure he would sell A LOT of jerseys at Arsenal even if he never became the real deal. With a last name like that, there are plenty of good humoured folks who would buy his jersey, simply for the name!

    TA, you’ve got mail :).

  56. Gerry says:

    Apologies A/S – I just flipped up and see you made the same point as I did regards the ‘collective defending’ or lack of? . I agree

  57. Admir says:

    Hi, all! 🙂

    The Armchair Gooner (where the hell is that guy???) recently wrote that giving captaincy to Vermaelen has been equal to shooting Superman in the arse with a Kryptonite dart. I would place my money on Vermaelen being a good captain but right now, I’m not so sure that I would be sad if we sell our captain again. (A bit of quiz: who was the last player to wear Arsenal armband for two seasons in a row?). He has had problems with defending ever since we signed him which he used to compensate by over-performing in the other side of the pitch. It’s hard to remember a single big match which we won with Vermaelen in starting 11. Still, I consider him to be – when he is in form and healthy – our best defender.

    AFC gave an interesting suggestion that someone like Julio Cesar might be a good choice for next captain. Eternal rumour regarding Chris Samba might have a bit of that but I can’t see how buying a captain would solve issues regarding lack of leadership.

    Arteta seems to be a proper captain. He was the one that usually stepped out when things went bad. Rosicky could be a good candidate as well given that he is the oldest member of the squad and has been captain of Czech Republic.

    There is one thing: since Invincibles our best season in terms of points has been 2007-08 (joint with 2004-05) when our captain was William Gallas. What kind of conclusion should we draw out if it? Maybe boyscouts aren’t exactly the best choice for captains?

  58. Red Arse says:


    If you already have a file on Excel for 2012, can’t you just save it as another file, say Geegees 2013?

    That way the format etc is the same, and you just need to change the column headings, dates etc and re-save.

    I have probably got the wrong end of the stick!! 🙂

  59. Red Arse says:

    You lot have forced me to reveal my colors!!!

    Too much is made of the captaincy — there we are — the guy calls ‘heads or tails’ picks up the trophies and grins a lot. End of!!

    Glic told me that while sucking off an eel with VCC.

  60. glic says:

    What I dont get Redders, is why Vic`s had the eel contained in his trousers pocket and not in a container ! .

  61. Red Arse says:

    What I didn’t get Clicey is why you were drooling looking at it!!!!! 😀 😀

  62. VCC says:

    As everyone is talking about being poor, and slating this dreadful government, and the bankers. I can tell you lot, you have never had it so bad as the red Indians had it many years ago.

    And this will explain the meaning behind some sayings.

    Urine was used to tan animal skins all those years ago. The poor tribes used to pee in a pot and once a day took it to the tannery.

    If you had to do this to survive, you were piss poor.

    But, worse than that, you were really poor if you couldn’t even afford to buy a pot. They were the lowest of the low, cos they didn’t have a pot to piss in.

    Now cheer up. 😉

  63. Highbury Harmony says:

    @ Bobby S from yesterday, there’s two distinct trains of thoughts going into this summer’s TW:

    1) The pessimistic approach that yourself and numerous other Arsenal fans buy into based on recent history


    2) The optimistic approach that carefully considers the change in the transfer fund situation, together with recent patterns in purchases, as well as the stadium debt finally being manageable and the need to finally be a serious contender.

    The second approach takes into account his recent purchases (i.e. Podolski, Giroud, Cazorla and Nacho). Despite them being replacements for your aforementioned players of Na$ri, van Judas, Cesc, Clichy etc., you are not taking into account the fact that AW replaced them within one year, when their departures had left us with gaping holes we never fully managed to recover from over 2-3 seasons.

    So why would it be any different this TW? Well, simply put, if AW was willing to splash out money to acquire that caliber of players in two TWs, why would the trend stop? The stadium debt is now manageable and the BoD and every other governing body in charge of finances/transfers has publicly given him the license to spend. It’s clear to AW and everyone else in the world that the current squad as is, will not be competing for anything more than 4th place (even with the promotion of a youth player or two). Not only is there pressure from fans and the organization for AW to perform, but the players as well. If he sits on his laurels, he will no longer be able to attract high quality players to this team and the trend of our better players requesting to leave will continue in a vicious cycle.

    AW has seemingly learned from his lessons in past TWs and his scouting of players at relatively bargain prices that fit into our collective team identity is reaching the heights we initially expected after he constructed the Invincibles. With Santi, Poldi, Jack, Theo and Nacho all signed long-term, we finally have a base of talented, International players who can convince their compadres to join Arsenal and make their availabilities/willingness to play for us known to AW. The stability in our organization is finally evident and established and this will resonate to our transfer targets. Of course, CL qualification will be the first step in attracting the quality of a player like Jovetic this summer.

    There’s also the fact that AW stated that he had wished to sign one more top player this past January, but unfortunately the other club was not willing to sell yet and that he would have to wait until the summer to acquire this player’s services. This explicitly reveals that AW has unfinished business and that he hasn’t completely lost touch with our team and the improvements we desperately need. For what it’s worth, Amorebieta’s agent claims that Arsenal has been in contact with them since January and Toulouse’s manager revealed that two PL clubs bid £10-15 million for Capoue this past January, but that he was too integral to team’s hopes of avoiding relegation to be sold then (the two clubs are rumoured to be Arsenal and Tottenham). Of course, you can discredit those two rumours as “media driven”, however you cannot deny AW’s public revealing that the club wanted to sign 1 more top player this January, which thus leads to the belief that more signings will come this summer.

    You say Fabianski, Arshavin and Squillaci are all still taking up roster spots with the first team but could easily be filled with youth. I completely disagree as there is not a goalie or CB currently in the youth set-up capable of playing with the first-team. Mannone will likely be sold as he is looking for first-team opportunities in Italy. Frimpong is rumoured be loaned out again to Fulham and even though the re-loans/sales of Park, Santos, Chamakh, Bendtner, Djourou and Denilson may not be clearing a squad spot, their wages coming off our bill will be a huge relief and allow AW the freedom to spend.

  64. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, AW noted the current weaknesses in our double DM pivot position, stating that he was hoping to resolve the shallowness of this position in either January or this summer.

  65. Highbury Harmony says:

    AND I haven’t even begun to mention our current players’ pleas and understanding that we need to spend this summer to compete with the likes of the Mancs. Arteta most recently stated in an interview, “With 10 games to go and to be 24 points behind [the leaders], it’s an impossible catch and that, for me, is unacceptable. We can’t be in that position because we have the best basic structure I’ve ever seen at a football club. Great philosophy, good players, we’ve got financial backing to do whatever we want, unbelievable crowds for the stadium. Let’s go for it!”

    He continues to say, “Staying in the Champions League is massive. If we don’t get in those spots it makes everything much more difficult. To any team with top players, you have to ask what’s going to happen. There’s only one answer: we want to improve the team. We want to be better and next season we want to get more points, which means we will have won more games. I think the board know that and, hopefully, this summer we’ll do something about it.”

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    If he said that, HH, then Arteta is a fine captain indeed. The man is a treat it is in his name. 🙂

    You have mail btw.

  67. allezkev says:

    Lukasz Fabianski plays in the remaining 9 EPL games and helps Arsenal into the top three/four…
    Do Arsenal offer him a new deal?
    Do Arsenal bring in a new goalkeeper?

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Allezkev

    AFC said earlier he is going to write a post about this subject, so would it be ok if we park your question till then? 🙂

  69. allezkev says:

    Oops, ok, what do you think about the captaincy? 😉

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi A/S,

    You are spot on that Vermaelen is not the only one who made mistakes and that mistakes of an individual need to be looked at in a bigger, team context. However, I do think that Vermaelen’s concentration levels have been poor in many a game this season, and that he tries to overcompensate his nerves and sense of responsibility (as our captain) by working extra hard; often losing his ability to read the game well and keep his composure in the process.

    For me, this stems for a big part from the added responsibility of being the captain, and having to lead the team. I reckon this does not suit him and has cost him his place in the first team. There are strong rumours out there that Vermaelen will be made available for transfer, and I wrote the post with that in mind.

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    haha allezkev,

    Who is your best ever captain of Arsenal then?

  72. allezkev says:

    Blimey, that’s a good question TA…

    How about Ruud Krol…

    The best captain we should have had. 🙂

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    Aah that is a blast from the past, allezkev! There were some great names around that time, almost cartoon character ones: Johnny Rep, Ruud Rensenbrink, Jan Jongbloed, Dick Nanninga, and of course Arie Haan, who scored one my most cherished goals ever (apologies for music):

  74. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, you’ve got mail 🙂

    Can’t wait for the new yellow away kit! Finally, it’s back 🙂 !!!


  75. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, I’ll be out for a few hours so either you change my article to allow bloggers to choose from anyone in the PL or keep my original idea of anyone outside of the three players I listed for each club :).

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    OK HH, been busy with family tasks 🙂

    It will go out in a bid, and we’ll stick with your original idea. 🙂

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post!

    An excellent ‘bit of fun’ post by Highbury Harmony, requiring you to share your PL footballers knowledge with us! 🙂

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