Given the impressive partnership that has developed between Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the last year, it is no surprise that Thomas Vermaelen has found his playing time limited.
However, considering the recent struggles for balance in the Arsenal midfield, is it time to consider utilising the Belgian as a holding-midfielder?
With Mathieu Flamini frequently suspended and new signing Kim Kallstrom injured along with Abou Diaby and Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal are short of options to play in their midfield double-pivot.
The most successful and balanced partnerships, were formed between Mikel Arteta and Ramsey and Flamini and Jack Wilshere, but for the upcoming game at the Emirates Stadium against Manchester United, neither will be available.
Arteta has been heavily criticised for the way in which he has been left exposed when playing without Ramsey.
While the Spaniard's ability to cover the pitch is dwindling, the Welshman's incredible stamina outbalances this, with Arteta's intelligence and exceptional reading of the game complimenting Ramsey's off-the-ball runs and wonderful ability on the ball.
Meanwhile, the partnership of Flamini and Wilshere has been used less often, but still to great effect. The positional discipline of the Frenchman allows Wilshere to make his trademark bursting runs from the midfield, and utilise his techinical ability and passing range.
However, when a midfield pairing other than these two has been used, there has been a lack of stability and balance to Arsenal's play - so why not give Vermaelen a try in midfield?
Yes, it is true that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tomas Rosicky can also play in the middle-of-the-park, as demonstrated by Oxlade-Chamberlain's recent man-of-the-match display against Crystal Palace.
It would seem though, that for the time being atleast, these two are better off as attacking-midfielders, especially given the lack of pace in Arsenal's attack without Theo Walcott.
Vermaelen could potentially be a revelation in Arsenal's midfield - he has good ability on the ball, an eye for a pass and even finished the 2011/12 season as Arsenal's joint third top scorer, along with Yossi Benayoun and Arteta with six goals.
This, paired with his defensive qualities could really benefit Arsenal, even if only in the short-term.
The counter-argument would be however, that his main criticism as a defender is his positioning and discipline - he can often tend to stray forward in attack too much, while leaving gaps in the defence.
This could pose just as big an issue, if he were to be a defensive midfielder then.
Yet, considering Arsenal's system of a double-pivot in midfield, this may just be a non-issue. He could be given license to play a role similar to that of Ramsey alongside Arteta, providing cover but also having a license to attack - similar to Alex Song's role in the 2011/12 season.
What do you think of having Vermaelen play in midfield? Leave your opinions in the comments section down below.
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