With the season only a few weeks away and Arsenal currently without a club captain, who will Wenger give the job to for the 2016/17 season? After the departure of Captain Mikel Arteta, Wenger will need to look to someone with good leadership qualities and someone who is vocal on the pitch. The three likeliest players it could be are Cech, Mertesacker or Koscielny. I think that any of these players would do a good job leading Arsenal, but here I will analyse each of them to see what they could offer.
First we look at Petr Cech. Out of the three, Cech is probably the least likely for the role and usually I don’t like to see goalkeepers leading their team as captain. There are, inevitably, potential communication problems between a goalkeeper and the rest of the team when they’re attacking, and the goalie is often less able to see the whole picture of what’s going on. Cech is a good leader with a lot of experience under his belt, but I think it would more useful if a CB took charge as they can see more of what is going on.
According to some commentators, the likeliest captain out of the three is Laurent Koscielny. I really do think that this guy has a very good future ahead of him at Arsenal and he is clearly a top class centre back. He doesn’t have the experience of Mertesacker and Cech, but throughout the Euros he marshalled the French defence very well and took charge. I would like to see him do more of this in the Arsenal defence. Wenger needs to buy a defender to partner Koscielny, and it might be that he chooses someone who already has experience leading a team. However, Koscielny is the most likely centre back to start games for Arsenal, so we would have a captain who is going to play the majority of our matches, and we wouldn’t be changing the captaincy role around all the time. Towards the end of his career at Arsenal, Arteta rarely played, which meant that the captaincy role was getting changed a lot.
In the past few days, however, there have been rumours going around that Wenger might make Per Mertesacker the new Arsenal captain.
Mertesacker did captain Arsenal towards the end of last season and didn’t do that bad a job. However, arguably Per’s lack of pace lets him down and I do think a lot of goals come down his side. When he brought down Diego Costa against Chelsea last season, for example, Costa had beaten him to the ball. There wasn’t that much contact, and Costa did make the most of it, but Mertesacker got beaten for pace and ended up getting sent off. With him getting older, this may happen more regularly, compromising his ability to take responsibility. But with Koscielny set to miss the start of the season after Wenger insists he has a rest, Mertesacker most certainly will start at centre back, suggesting he might be Wenger’s first choice. He is certainly a very experienced player who has good leadership qualities.
Overall, then, my preferred choice of captain would be Koscielny, because I think that out of the three he has got the longest amount of time left at Arsenal and could do a decent job. We could do with finding someone with the qualities of Tony Adams.
He is the kind of leader Arsenal need right now: someone who is commanding on the field and always giving instructions to his team mates. Arsenal have missed someone like that for quite a while now. But hopefully whoever Wenger choses as the new captain will do a successful job and will be lifting silverware at the end of the season.
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