Thomas Vermaelen was appointed Arsenal captain in the wake of Robin van Persie's departure prior to the 2012/13 Premier League campaign.

At that time it seemed like a logical choice with the Belgian defender notching up eye-catching performances at the back and chipping in with much needed goals. It was also a popular choice among the fans.

With fellow Belgian defender Vincent Kompany lifting the Premier League after an inspirational season as the skipper of Manchester City, expectations from Vermaelen were indeed sky high.

However, a season later the story is entirely different, with the skipper often finding himself on the substitutes' bench.

With the added responsibility, his performances as an erstwhile outstanding defender dipped, and in the run in was the third-choice centre-back - and with good reason.

In his absence from the starting line up, Laurent Koscieny and Per Mertesacker formed a solid defensive partnership, conceding only five goals in the last ten matches of the Premier League season.

This has meant Vermaelen is no longer the first name on the teamsheet, and by current form should not be in the starting eleven come next season.

Does this mean Arsene Wenger changes his skipper after only one season again? Or does Vermaelen get another chance in the role? If he decides on the former, here are a few alternatives.

Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta's performances as stand-in skipper, and in a role as a defensive shield he is not suited, have been inspirational. His calm demeanour, commitment and wholehearted performances have endeared him to the fans.

He appears to be the most logical replacement, but will be pegged back in the pecking order if his former Everton team-mate Marouane Fellaini joins the club. This would mean that he may not even start as many matches to warrant a change of captaincy.

Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere has made public his desire to be captain of both club and country. With his attitude, commitment and performances in his fledgling career to date, no-one can begrudge him this ambition.

He is the obvious long-term candidate for the role, but Wenger may not risk making him captain this early after a prolonged injury lay-off while offering him assurances of a shot at captaincy after a season or two.

Laurent Koscieny

Laurent Koscieny was inspirational in the last few games of the season, capping a superb run of games with the goal which ensured Arsenal finish in the top four, replicating his match-winning goal in the last game of the previous season.

He and Mertesacker formed a solid partnership at the back, and it was their consistency and solidity which was crucial in the run-in. He was also instrumental in making some vital tackles at key moments of games, like the overhead clearance in the home match against Wigan with the scores level.

While he might be the flavour of the season, his long-term position in the team may not be guaranteed if Vermaelen turns his performances around, and hence may not be considered for the arm band.

It is likely Wenger will consider a change in the captaincy, but will stick to the present set up of Arteta being stand-in skipper for a benched Vermaelen who continues being club captain.


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