When Van Persie departed, Vermaelen’s coming into captain-ship was seen as a decent, if not a good change for the team. Having a defender for captain wasn’t something we had in recent times. Surely he wouldn’t leave us even if he has a great season, we thought. And he is consistent, vocal and loved. Maybe that will make our defense a little better, another thing we missed in recent seasons. Why not? But well, who would have guessed that the pressure would get to him and his form would slump, and injuries would mar his season. And Arsenal’s.
With the Kos-Mert partnership getting better and better and better everyday, one could surely see Verm sitting on the bench more than not. Couple that with the 2-months he is missing right now, he surely cannot be a regular stater, let alone the captain. Not because he is bad/sh*t/out-of-form or anything, but for the better of the team and his own (If the pressure really is the reason for his slump). So with that in perspective, let us analyze why Arteta would be the best coming captain for us.
Let’s just accept that we all know who our eventual captain is going to be…… Jack Wilshere. But at 21 and just putting a 17-month layoff behind him, he surely isn’t ready. Another couple years for that then. Now at 31, Arteta probably has another 2-3 good seasons left in him. His technical, passing and tackling game would surely make it easier for him to be good even at 34, i think, a la Pirlo. But maybe not a consistent starter after 3 seasons. So that’s the timing factor, perfect for Arteta himself and for the team (Jack Wilshere, I mean).
One could argue that having defenders or attackers for captains makes the team that much more one-dimensional in its approach. History of the Wenger-era gives us more, Vieira and Fabregas have arguably been two of the better captains for us, while they lasted. Moreover, Arteta is known for his dictation of play, which is surely good for the team.
The Man Himself:
So Why Arteta? here’s why:
1) Remember last season where till almost the end of the season we hadn’t won a single premier league match where we didn’t have Arteta in the lineup? Not that it happens often, but it tells a lot.
2) Injuries, he hasn’t had many.
3) Consistency: Not only is he consistent, he is growing as a player. His accuracy of passing, his tackling, his interceptions are all at a career-high and don’t look like going down. He is also the second best passer in the world right now.
4) Experience: At 31, he has had 2 good years at Arsenal and is already our Vice-Captain (effective captain many-a-times). He has also spent 9 years in the premier league.
5) Personality: Cazorla once said in a spanish interview that Arteta would make a great captain as all the players look up to him and respect him. Here is that video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN-OpBxAKe4
And then he plays for the team and looks to improve others along with him. There’s an interview for that also: http://player.arsenal.com/interviews/player-videos/504-mikel-arteta/player/3682-arteta-exclusive
6) Internationals: He has never been called up. Yes, never. Some might say that that is a bad thing, but without the constant distractions of international matches, Arteta can and does give his 100% to the club.
7) Great roots: Barcelona academy, need I say more? He is trained to be a winner.
8) Adaptability: Spain, France, Scotland and England. Attacking, central and defensive midfielder. Speaks Spanish, Basque, Catalan and English, French, Italian and Portuguese. He is as adaptable as a player can get.
Oh, and the most important reason of all, his hair’s always perfect!
Some other candidates:
Sagna: With 170+ apps for Arsenal already and with returning form, he can make a good captain. Problems: Injuries, form, not vocal
Koscielny: With 3 years at the club already, he has finally made himself to be a mainstay at the defense. Problems: Will have to keep out Vermaelen/Mert, more experienced players than him present.
Rosicky: An Arsenal mainstay, he has vocalized many a times that he would love to end his career with us. Problems: Competition in his position.
I am pretty sure there are many more players and qualities, but these are the ones I favor and know. Let us know in the comments what you think. Do you agree? Who’s your pick for captain?