Arsenal: Modus Operandi – Captain TV, The Right Man? or Another?

The Situation

When Thomas Vermaelen was made club captain, the decision was met with cheers from most Gooner faithful. He was playing with confidence, was steady, vocal and seemed to be on the rise. But that was then and this is now, and the reality is that through injury and sub-par play, he worked himself out of favour with the manager.  Entering the current campaign, with him seeing a greatly reduced role and having lost the confidence and support of many fans, it was widely speculated that another option for captain would be needed. But did Arsene see it that way?

The topic is particularly poignant right now, as the club are in the midst of easily their busiest and most challenging time of the year. Do they have a captain they can depend on to see them through? Is there someone who has emerged as being able to guide young players through the trials and tribulations of late season football?  Though TV is club captain, is there a need to have a captain who is on the pitch?

Modus OperandiThe Decision

Arsenal: Modus Operandi – Captain TV, The Right Man? or Another?

Thomas Vermaelen was again selected as “club captain” of Arsenal Football Club, despite clearly being behind each of the wildly successful pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the depth chart. The decision was met with confusion, with most questioning whether a club captain is useful when he sees little time on the pitch.  Can a captain do his job from the sidelines, locker room and training ground exclusively?

There are times when a club is faced with the difficult task of choosing a leader when there are relatively few options, but that was not the case for Arsenal.  There are three strong candidates who I believe could have been better choices then, and certainly are now.

I think it is important to first establish criteria for gauging the qualities of a proper captain.  We believe a proper captain should be determined based on:

Voice – can they be vocal on the pitch, in the locker room and in training? Are they communicating instructions in game situations?

Attitude – are they able to set a good example for teammates in terms of attitude, effort and perseverance?

Popularity – are they seen as a leader – someone who players look to on the pitch and in training? 

Discipline – how do they respond in times of adversity? Are they staying grounded when there is success? Do they represent the club well both on and off the pitch?


Our Verdict

There are several choices from the current roster who fit most, if not all of these qualities.

Per Mertesacker – Per is one of the most liked players in the Arsenal line-up. He possesses all of the attributes of a leader. He is certainly vocal – remember how he blasted Mesut Ozil for not having acknowledged away fans after a loss?  He has the proper attitude and seems always have a good work ethic. He is extremely disciplined and represents the club very well on the pitch and off.  What separates him is how he appears to be a second manager on the pitch, complementing Arsene Wenger. He organizes, shouts instructions, guides the younger players and is very much seen as a leader by players and fans.

Mikel Arteta – Along with Per, Mikel is also a very strong candidate to become the next captain of AFC. He is always very composed, though has that ability to become very vocal and outspoken – qualities needed in a proper captain.  Like Mertesacker, Arteta has experience, and that can’t be overlooked when it comes to choosing a captain. He has been with the club and Arsene Wenger long enough to understand that system he wants to see on the pitch, and he is vocal enough to make that happen.  If not Per, then Mikel Arteta should be made captain.

Aaron Ramsey – Amongst the younger players, Aaron Ramsey possesses the leadership qualities necessary to become the next captain. It can’t be overlooked that he has captained the Welsh side and has been seen as a leader for some time despite his still young age.  One characteristic that Aaron has an abundance of is perseverance in the face of adversity. Having gone through several seasons of ridicule from fans, both Gooners and otherwise, who tried their best to run him out of London, Aaron Ramsey has built character.  Ramsey would be able to step in and fill the role admirably, however, I think the experience of both Per and Mikel separate them from him.

Jack Wilshere – While he went through a period of injury troubles and perhaps as a result, some sub-par performances, Jack Wilshere remains a fan favourite at the Emirates. He is very outspoken, perhaps too much so for some.  While his time might come in the future, some more experience and a period of mentorship would serve him well. His time will come, but not just yet.


Your Verdict

We regularly pose the same question to our @AFCModiOperandi followers and include some replies in our articles – if you are interested in having your comments in our articles, follow our account and reply to our questions marked with #AFCMO. We would like to know what you think about the captaincy.

@Willkin45416100“a Captain is someone who leads on the field if he’s not playing, how can he do that. So no he shouldn’t be captain.” 

@RobertsBL5“not anymore, but we’ve lost too many captains to take it (captaincy) away unless he leaves.”

@Tomfoolergyguy “I’m a LFC fan so I’m by no means an Arsenal expert, but bc of TVs injuries and form I would give it to Mertesacker. Leader.” 

@karthic04 (2 parts) – “Yes, he is first to come to the training & last to leave. He has acted professionally till now. He is a positive influence in the dressing room. Per himself mentioned why TV5 is a great leader.” 

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