Thomas Vermaelen must fight for Arsenal captaincy
Thomas Vermaelen must prove that he is the man to lead Arsenal forward on the pitch
Thomas Vermaelen is still officially Arsenal's captain, however the Belgian international rarely featured in the latter stages of last season - with Mikel Arteta replacing him as the man with the arm band.
When Robin van Persie made the controversial decision to swap north London for Manchester, vice captain Vermaelen became the leader of the Gunners on the pitch. The choice seemed wise at the time as the centre-back had been a consistent performer since his arrival from Ajax.
Some players rise to the occasion after being given the arm band, the aforementioned Robin van Persie is a good example of this. Vermaelen however, has seen a drastic drop in from since being made captain and it's about time he started earning the honour.
The 2012/13 campaign was yet another disappointing one for Arsenal fans, just scraping into fourth place in the Premier League, above Tottenham, and offering little challenge for any major trophies.
Vermealen's poor form and inability to lead a back-four, let alone an entire squad was key to this.
The Belgian has all the physical attributes required of a good defender - he's strong, quick, aggressive and good in the air. But all this counts for nothing when his concentration levels drop on a regular basis.
Vermaelen's poor tactical awareness and lack of communication with his back four cost Arsenal time-and-time again last season as he became a liability.
Since the Belgium star was dropped from the team, Arsenal's defensive shape dramatically improved and the Gunners enjoyed their best run of form all season.
Mertesacker and Koscielny complimented each other nicely and the communication between the two was a big factor in the defensive improvement.
Vermaelen is a good defender and he was perhaps Arsenal's best defender for the two seasons previous. But his mental strength doesn't appear to match up to his physical strength.
If Vermaelen is to remain as captain, or even remain at Arsenal, he must start to show why Gunners fans gave him the nickname 'The Verminator.'
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