Arsenal: Thomas Vermaelen and His Top 10 Football Attributes
Born on the 14 of November, 1985 in the Belgian city of Kapellen, Thomas Vermaelen began his career in the 2000-01 season in Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen but he made a move to neighboring Holland to continue his education at Ajax Amsterdam.
It took him over four years to find his feet in Amsterdam but a loan move to RKC Waalwijk in the 2004-05 campaign did wonders to his confidence and he returned to Ajax to stake his claim for a first team place and never looked back. After notching up 98 league appearances for de Godenzonen, Arsenal acquired his services for £9.5m and he set the Premier League alight in his debut season, making 33 appearances, scoring an impressive eight goals in the process.
Thomas Vermaelen arrived in the shores of England after a good spell at Ajax Amsterdam. It was fabled that Vermaelen was watched over 49 times by Arsenal’s scouts to confirm that he was the man for Arsenal’s defense and he has proved that because he’s presently regarded as Arsenal’s star defender and he’s a regular starter whenever he’s fit.
He scored a header in his Arsenal debut against Everton in Goodison Park and his stellar performances didn’t go unnoticed as he was awarded a place in the 2009 PFA Team of the Year. A lot was expected of the Belgian defender in his second season at the club but an Achilles tendon injury he sustained in international duty kept him out of action for the best part of seven months. Vermaelen has also been plagued by injuries in his third season with the club.
Vermaelen has currently made 61 appearances for Arsenal (44 league apps) and he has scored 10 goals for the club with nine of them registered in the Premier League. On the international scene, he has amassed 33 caps for his nation and he scored his only Belgian goal in a 3-0 victory against Hungary in a friendly in 14th November 2009, a befitting birthday gift he gave himself.
As a footballer, Vermaelen is blessed with many talents and I’ll like to give my take on his top 10
Vermaelen is a defender that can die for the cause and play every game as if it's his last.
He’s never afraid to go in for that challenge without being to mindful about the repercussions. This was evidenced in the Champions League playoff tie against Udinese that resulted in an ankle injury.
Vermaelen is a defender that’s never afraid to hit the turf with the aim of making a tackle. It’s that no-nonsense nature that has helped Arsenal’s defense in recent times. His ability to read the game is simply amazing and he has a high tackling ratio in the Premier League.
Vermaelen has a very cool head when faced with adversity and he orchestrates the Arsenal defense like a conductor of a music band. He’s also very vocal and he directs his fellow defenders on the pitch from time to time.
In the latter years of his Ajax days, Vermaelen wore the captain’s armband for the club and led the team with valor. His leadership in Arsenal’s back line has propelled him to the role of vice captain behind Robin van Persie.
Vermaelen is so good at marking that opposition forwards search for his presence long after the game is over. When he’s really in the mood, he can frustrate any striker Arsenal is coming up against.
Vermaelen scored eight goals in his first season at Arsenal and most of them were things of beauty. He broke his duck on his debut with a solid header against Everton but he also scored a peach of a goal against Wigan and another piledriver against Blackburn.
This season, he scored a well-taken goal against West Brom.
Thomas Vermaelen is a defender that’s renowned for his aggressive style of play. Irrespective of who the striker is, the Verminator takes on all comers and is always looking to be dominant.
In a league that has physical strikers like Didier Drogba, Kenwyne Jones and Yakubu Aiyegbeni amongst others, aggression is a key attribute for Arsenal’s defense.
The Verminator is a defender that’s very comfortable with the ball at his feet. His close control is pretty impressive for a center back and he has a decent first touch.
At six feet, Vermaelen is not the tallest of center backs but he knows how to leap higher than a frog because he jumps as if he has some springs hidden in his studs. In recent times, over the top balls was a constant problem for former defenders like William Gallas and Kolo Toure but Vermaelen has quelled that threat from the opposition.
Vermaelen is a constant threat for Arsenal from set pieces and he nodded in a couple of headers in his first season at the club with goals recorded from his head against Everton and Wigan. This season, Vermaelen used his head to salvage a draw for Arsenal after conceding an unfortunate own goal at the other end of the pitch
At the age of 26, Vermaelen is going to rule Arsenal’s defense for many more years to come and he’ll certainly be Arsenal’s captain if Robin van Persie decides to leave Arsenal for greener pastures in the near future. (That’s if the club’s trophy woes still continue.)
Here’s to Thomas Vermaelen.
Arsenal’s own Verminator.