Belgian centre-back Thomas Vermaelen is expected to lineup for Arsenal in tonight's Capital One Cup tie at home to Chelsea in his familiar defensive position, but is it time he was deployed as an emergency defensive-midfielder in place of the injured Mathieu Flamini?
Flamini was subbed early in the first half of the Premier League game away to Crystal Palace on Saturday and, after early possessional dominance, the Arsenal midfield lacked any real bite after he was replaced.
So perhaps Vermaelen is the answer. He has experience in playing there for his previous club Ajax and could be an asset if Arsene Wenger sees fit to use him in this important role. Flamini has been a revelation this season which is something Wenger needs to be commended for, when many thought this would be a step back for the club following his previous spell when the Frenchman opted for a move to Italian giants AC Milan.
Vermaelen had a whirlwind of a first season for the club after his move from Dutch side Ajax, he contributed eight goals which for a centre back is impressive. He has the capability of screening the back four effectively and has proven he is also very good on the ball.
Arsenal have an array of midfield talent and various players have been used as emergency cover in this position recently. Mikel Arteta has been used more than most in this position, he is good on the ball and his stats from last season showed he was one of the most economical midfielders in europe. However, but his defensive performances in the bigger games have left a lot to be desired.
There do not seem to be many options to replace Flamini for the important clash against Liverpool at the weekend and I would give Vermaelen a chance to prove himself, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere have also been used in this position more than once this season but are a lot more effective in the final third.
It has been made perfectly clear that Wenger will be looking at defensive-midfield options for the January transfer window, but maybe this could be a successful temporary solution.
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