WTTGT Writer: Lewis Kyriacou
This season could be make or break for Arsenal. With the departure of our talismanic captain all but certain, it is time for three players to lead this team to glory.
If Fabregas leaves, which is likely, we will need a solid playmaker to fill the gap left by him. The English starlet made massive strides last season, winning PFA Young Player of the Year. In my opinion, however, his talents are wasted playing as a second defensive midfielder, just ahead of Alex Song. Without Fabregas (and possibly Nasri), I think Wenger should allow Jack a more advanced role allowing him to penetrate defences from higher up the pitch. I’d rather give the position to someone who has proven himself in the Premiership already, than gamble on whether a big named central midfielder abroad can adapt to the English league straight away.
Robin Van Persie
‘If’ is probably the biggest word in football, but ‘If’ we can keep Van Persie fit all season, we could have ourselves the Premiership top goal-scorer. He’s adapted his game to get in and around the box, becoming a more aggressive attacker. He’s also got the skill to produce a goal out of nothing, like his equaliser against Barcelona. When a player can produce moments like that, it galvanises the team and everyone raises their game as a result. Currently our vice-captain, Van Persie would be the favourite to take the armband if Cesc departs. While I would prefer a “grittier” style of player to wear the armband, one who can grab the team by the scruff on the neck like Adams or Vieria, Robin has shown he is a passionate player, and his experience is invaluable. Regardless of whether he is handed the captaincy, Robin will lead by example on the pitch.
Again, dependant on being fit, Vermaelen can be the answer to our centre-back problems. Whilst our defensive problems won’t be wholly eradicated until we learn how to defend as a unit, from goalkeeper through to centre-forward, having our best defender back will help enormously. The man is a real talent. I remember his extraordinary goal-line clearance against Fulham on the last day of the season, and I am sure he will save us more points with last ditch tackles like that than any other defender did last season. He also scored nine goals in his debut season, and some of them were right out of the top draw. Not that we expect a centre-back to score, but when we need a goal, he’s another player who is useful in and around the box.
One thing each of these players have in common is passion. If this trio can consistently perform with heart and desire throughout the season, I believe they will encourage others to raise their game accordingly. If that happens, this season might surprise us all.