Leadership on the pitch is such a prerequisite for being successful, and it is fair to say that Arsene does not always get in right when it comes to choosing the right captain for the team. Adams, Vieira and Van Judas were inspired choices, but Fabregas and Vermaelen were less suitable for the leadership role in my opinion.
Fabregas was brilliant at leading by example but most of us felt something was missing: he was not a naturally born leader, and as a result he struggled with some vital aspects of leadership we were craving for. Fabregas was a more introvert and bloody brilliant creative, attacking midfielder, who needed to concentrate fully on the technical and tactical aspects of the game.
VJ was a very good leader, who could concentrate on both his own job as a central striker as well as the wider leadership responsibilities; and somebody Arsene would have build this year’s team around once more… But enough said about the grey-haired, broody woman with the boy screaming inside of him for manures new.
I could see quite quickly that Vermaelen was trying very hard, and maybe too hard, to be a good captain for us. He struggled with the communication side of things and tried to overcompensate with ‘leading by example’. Unfortunately, his own technical/tactical performances suffered in the process and on more than a few occasions it were his mistakes that led to us losing our confidence, shape and composure, which have cost the team dearly in a number of games.
I reckon Vermaelen is a great defender but just needs to be led rather than lead, and surely he will not be our captain again come next season.
Arteta is doing a good job at the moment and clearly revels in the leadership role, but the question remains whether he has got what it takes to be our long-term captain, not just in the PL but also in Europe.
Below you’ll find an overview of what I reckon a good captain/leader is all about:
- Leads by example: not just with good personal performances, but also with high energy-levels/commitment, and a never-say-die attitude. He never spares himself, always gives everything and plays with his heart on his sleeve. He will also stand up for his players and let nobody be bullied by the opposition;
- Is blessed with a high level of social-emotional intelligence: he understands what is going in the minds of other players, and is able to support them accordingly, on and off the pitch;
- Is extrovert: he is not a constant shouter, but he likes to talk to this fellow players and make himself known when things are not going right;
- Is a great communicator with the crowd/fans, and an ambassador for the club. He understands what the fans want and are concerned about, and gives good interviews to the press, by always representing the club professionally and with real passion;
- Is a great communicator, ‘liaison-manager’ between the players and management. He has got the respect of Wenger, the coaches and the players, and is able to translate messages up and down effectively;
- Is a team player/ team builder: he will regularly praise, on and off the pitch, contributions made by others and help the team in becoming a strong unit.
- Is good tactically: he has a good overview of what is happening on the pitch and, by talking to his team players, can make minor adjustments to the way the team is playing.
Both Vieira and Adams ticked most if not all of the above boxes, but if I had to choose, I would say that Adams has been our best captain in Arsene’s era at Arsenal.
I reckon, we have a player with plenty of ‘Adamsesque’s mongrel’ in him within our current team, but I am not going to say who that is yet, in order to not steer the discussion too much.
I would like to ask my fellow Gooners who they believe should be our long-term captain from next season onwards, and why?
Looking forward to hearing your choices!
Written by: TotalArsenal.
With a special thanks to JGC for coming up with the term ‘Adamsesque Mongrel’ 🙂