As we all know by now, the problems that have haunted Arsenal FC for so many years have returned.Their defensive porosity, their goal-scoring deficiencies, their lack of leadership. . . wait, that last one. That’s the one I’m talking about now.
The reason behind selecting a captain in a squad is to be a leader to the rest of the squad; not just to wear the captain’s armband and look pretty. There have been some great captains during the last decade, with men like Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, and William Gallas. Those were guys that would demand the best from everybody, and get it no matter what it cost. Apart from the captains, there are usually some guys in the squad that would play the captain when things are not going right; someone to shout encouragement and rebuke at players that are performing well or poorly. These guys, sometimes, are the difference between a winning team and a limp noodle.
Allow me to point out that there has been a general shortage of such people in the Arsenal squad since the departure of Thierry Henry in 2006. Even with charismatic dudes like Maathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta, the role of commander in the field has not really been taken up by anyone. Normally, during the match, there are times when the teammates come together and assess their game, and point out areas where they need to improve, or simply switch game plans. Someone who has an in-depth understanding of the game would usually call out plays and determine how he game should look in the next ten minutes, thus reducing the burden on the coach.
There seems to be a shortage, however, of players like that in Arsenal and some other clubs in the Premier League. This means that the players rely entirely on the coach for guidance during games, which is poor because sometimes even the coach can be outwitted. Not to say that Arsene Wenger is not a good coach; he is one of the best tacticians in the game now, but he is old, and he has failed to adapt to modern football. This is why some people need to step up and control the game; there have been instances when players reject the methods of the coach, and won the game on their own. There have also been instances when the club has no coach, and yet they win game after game. That is the kind of team Arsenal needs to be, and that is the kind of player Arsene Wenger needs to look out for.