Leadership, whether in sport or business, is a fascinating topic. Some believe teams do not need to have one leader; that all can lead together. I guess the latter is true as long as things go well. The football equivalent to the Harlem Globetrotters, from the city with the beautiful horizon, did not seem to need a leader, as trophy after trophy was won with breathtakingly beautiful post-total football. But then Guardiola left and slowly it became clear who their real leader had been; and when Barcelona was being humiliated by Die Lederhosen, home and away, there was nobody who stood up and ordered the troops to fight back.
I am not going to be entirely popular on my own site by stating that Wenger has been quite poor in choosing his leaders for the team, especially in recent times. I reckon this is because he does not really rate the captaincy of his team, as he expects the whole team to lead itself, rather than just one individual doing it.
I also believe there should be more than one leader, so that when things are not going well on the pitch various people stand up and fight for the cause. The best test of our leadership ability is when we play our most loathed opponent in recent history, the Mancs. Last year, the first year of the traitor at Manure, was so poor in terms of leadership, epitomised by Vermaelen’s early, painful capitulation by meekly handing that boy-man the ball on a silver plate.
Two weeks ago, our leadership on the pitch was a bit better, but it still was not brilliant. We played with too much respect for our opponent and did not really play with the belief we would be able to turn things round. Flamini and Arteta did their best to get the troops going but it was not enough.
Watching Mertesacker operating as the captain for Germany made me think again what a fine captain he would be for Arsenal. I have written a few posts over the years stating that Wenger should never have made Vermaelen our captain but have handed the armband to our BFG instead. Vermaelen has become a worse player as a result of the captaincy, as for me he is a specialist rather than a natural leader, who needs to focus hard on his own role rather than also having to think about team management as well. Why he is still the captain is beyond me and can only be explained by Wenger’s apparent belief that it does not really matter who captains our team.
Yet, Mertesacker’s strengths are organisation and leadership and I reckon we would still get a lot more out of him by HONOURING him with the armband. The longer he has been with us the more I believe he is our new Tony Adams, and there have not been many good leaders as Adams has been for us in recent history.
The BFG is not just a brilliant reader of the game and excellent organiser of his defence – just like Adams was; he also has that bit of mongrel in him, that real desire to win and put his heart and soul into every performance. He loves Arsenal and the rest look up to him.
I love all these qualities in Mertesacker and for me it is time to hand him the armband; to make him our captain, our leader. It will give him wings and the team the leadership it craves for.
But what do you think, fine fellow Gooners? 🙂
Written by: TotalArsenal.