With a number of newspapers reporting that Robin van Persie is set to keep his Arsenal captaincy for this afternoon’s pre-season friendly against FC Koln, I have decided to write a post in which I analyse whether or not this is the right decision.
As we all know, Thomas Vermaelen has been filling in as captain for all of Arsenal’s pre-season matches so far in the absence of van Persie. Our star striker did not travel on the Asia tour for a variety of reasons, but will now resume his captaincy for the last pre-season game.
I can only think of two reasons for RvP retaining his captaincy:
1) Wenger has decided to keep van Persie as captain in the hope of convincing him to stay and (maybe) sign a new contract. Demoting the Dutchman based on July’s statement would not be particularly helpful because it would only add to the bad feelings that he has towards the club.
2) Van Persie was always captain and nothing has changed, despite his statement last month. Vermaelen as captain was only a temporary solution because van Persie was not on tour and Wenger wishes to continue as normal. Vermaelen will only take over as captain if RvP leaves in the next few weeks.
The decision to keep Robin as captain could have huge implications for the coming season. If van Persie stays will he now presume that he gets to keep the captaincy? Does this match suggest that van Persie will indeed be the Arsenal captain next season or will Wenger look at the situation in a weeks time? Will Vermaelen be upset that he has been overlooked?
In my opinion, Thomas Vermaelen was the better candidate for the Arsenal captaincy in the first place. I like the idea of having a captain who plays in defence; Vermaelen is a much more vocal player because the defence requires a lot of organisation. Arsenal are strong going forward but somewhat lack defensive organisation (something that Steve Bould has been working on in the last few months). Maybe having one player (Vermaelen) who has a bit more defensive control will make a big difference. This is, of course, just my opinion, so feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section below.