Arsenal's captaincy crisis in the 2010/11 season was so extreme, that Arsene Wenger, who is often the last to concede that the Gunners possess flaws, admitted that there was a shortage of individual leadership within the squad.
According to The Independent, Wenger sugar-coated it:
"When nobody stands out as an obvious leader you have to find a group of players who can take on the leadership together. I try hard to make my players understand that the most important thing is the way each one of them behaves on the pitch. It doesn't matter who is wearing the armband."
That was just a way of saying that no one was an outright captain, and as a result, the most technically gifted player and midfield orchestrator was handed the armband: Cesc Fabregas.
Even if that was for lack of a better captain, the Spaniard's role was met with angry Arsenal fans. One Arsenal site stated "he is not and will never be the true Captain of the Gunners." And if Daily Mail reports were accurate, Denilson insulted his own teammate, saying that "Fabregas is the captain but he is not a leader."
Maybe he was right. Despite Fabregas's noticeable love for Arsenal, his imminent yet inevitable move back to Barcelona was the one dark cloud hanging over the Emirates. As much as he was cemented into Gooner hearts, a captain for a title-challenging team cannot be one whose departure is openly talked about by everyone.
And sure enough, that has somewhat repeated itself.
Another captain whose receiving of the armband was partly because no one else was perfectly suited for it is almost surely gone from the Emirates, either Manchester-bound or heading for Turin.
The question is, who will replace him?
In theory, the four primary contenders are Wojciech Szczesny, Thomas Vermaelen, Alex Song, and Mikel Arteta.
Szczesny is one who is already barking orders from the net, organizing his defense as any good keeper should do.
Plus, as a charismatic, witty joker, he has no popularity trouble. He is clearly on great terms with Sagna, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, from what there is of him on YouTube.
But the one downside to Szczesny being captain is his lack of experience. Though he did play in every EPL game last season, he has only been playing consistently for about a year and a half with the big boys.
Give it two seasons and this man will be a better choice for captain.
Traditionally, center backs make good captains. If we look at Carles Puyol, Rio Ferdinand, or Vincent Kompany, we can see that.
Captains are often the guys who are called "hardman" and Thomas Vermaelen certainly is one. He is fearless, wins many balls in the air, and sometimes it seems that the Belgian is everywhere on the pitch at once.
Vermaelen's relations with other players on the team aren't completely clear, but he is an authoritative figure already, yelling at his team mates like Szczesny.
He is a natural leader, pointing to players about where to be and what to do.
Song just broke out last season as one of the best defensive midfielders in the entire English Premier League.
He can also be called a hard man, though he isn't as fearless as Vermaelen. He has surprising finesse, however, and has vision that has set Robin van Persie up many times this season.
One problem with the Cameroonian international is that he isn't as vocal as others. Sure, he gestures to players who play alongside him, but he doesn't seem to have the authority over the rest of the squad that would enable them to listen to him.
And maybe Theo Walcott calling him the least intelligent player on the team two years ago wouldn't help (1:09)!
Arteta as captain would be very similar to when Fabregas was wearing the armband.
Neither of them is vocal enough, and though they were the most technically skilled players on the team, that isn't what counts for captain.
I have heard a few times that Arteta should be captain, but I disagree.
Though the attack always runs through him and Arsenal won only one game without him last season, he isn't the kind of man who will command the attention of all his team mates.
Additionally, Arteta only arrived last season, so he isn't as experienced with Arsenal.
I think Thomas Vermaelen should wear the armband next season.
What are your thoughts?
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