The Arsenal Captaincy, A Poisoned Chalice?

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By ‘ABW Guest Blogger’ Peter Kennelly (@kennellypeter)

William Gallas, Cesc Fàbregas, Robin Van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker.

The list of Arsenal captains since 2007 reads like a “most wanted” list for most Arsenal fans.

Ok, a bit harsh on current players Arteta and BFG, but the players previous to that are names that cause our bums to tighten up just that little bit.

It’s an indictment on the club that our captaincy has become a merry go round. Especially for a club with such a rich history of strong and commanding leaders – Adams, Vieira, Rice, O’Leary and McLintock to name a few.

So why has the captaincy suddenly become the final stage of an Arsenal player’s career?

To me, it has a lot to do with two elements. The personality and arrogance of the individual and the trophy baron transition from Highbury to the Emirates.

The decision to appoint Gallas was an appalling one. No passion for the club, begrudgingly crossing from a rival and not used to playing in a Wenger system made him a liability very quickly. Add no trophies and his petulant nature and we had a recipe for disaster.

Now Cesc seemed a seamless fit. Passionate, supremely talented and genuine love of the club. But it was too much, too young. The white knight was supposed to deliver trophies galore and that pressure told. Home came calling and the rest is history.

Robin Van Persie, moving on.

Thomas Vermaelen then became the most reliable option in some time – strong, uncompromising and a determined winner. But it doesn’t matter if you are the captain, you still have to perform. Kos and Mertesacker formed a competent centre pairing and he went to the outer.

Arteta is now suffering from a long term injury and Mertesacker’s form has been shaky at best ever since he took over the captaincy in Arteta’s absence.

So what is the answer?

He wears number 10 and he likes a smoke.

Jack Wilshere has a lot to learn, don’t get me wrong. He needs to stay injury free and get his act right off the field. But if he can get those right, we have our next long term, trophy-laden captain.

He adores Arsenal – he cares for the club more than anyone on the pitch. He also has the talent to carry the club on his shoulders and play the game winning assist in a comeback 3-2 win away to Chelsea. He commands respect, and isn’t afraid to tell anyone if they aren’t doing their job.

Passion, determination, respected, talented.

If Jack develops the way he is supposed to, then the poisoned chalice becomes a nice refreshing glass of Johnny Walker Blue

By ‘ABW Guest Blogger’ Peter Kennelly (@kennellypeter)

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