“Can we genuinely challenge for the title with Arteta being our captain?”

Areta – Non Playing Skipper

As I impatiently sat on my phone all day refreshing my twitter feed waiting for the “official” media pictures of Čech in an Arsenal kit, I came across a GIF of Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker lifting the FA Cup. While normally seeing your club’s captain lifting any trophy (except for the Emirates Cup of course) sparks a satisfying feeling, I felt rather peculiar and thought, “Can we genuinely challenge for the title with Arteta being our captain?”

Paddy 2004 - Now there was a Captain!

Paddy 2004 – Now there was a Captain!

Since Patrick Vieira hoisted the Premier League Trophy in 2004, only four players have been given the annual honour to do the same: Gary Neville, John Terry, Nemanja Vidić, and Vincent Kompany. While I absolutely despise the foursome for a plethora of reasons (none more than John Terry.) I have to concede that all are/were great players and more importantly great leaders. If Arsenal were to win next season, does Mike Arteta belong with that list?

How ever much you despise all he stands for he is a leader

It seems to be in agreement amongst everyone that Arteta is a solid player. His ability to find a pass is respectable as is his willingness to stay back and provide balance for Ramsey, Cazorla, or Wilshere to play further forward. And although the Spaniard will never be classified in the class or importance of a Patrick Vieira or Gilberto Silva, he is surely more influential than a Denilson or Alberto Méndez. Arteta is a seasoned veteran that will do the job in most games. But that is not the definition of a title-winning captain.

One more year on contract but one more year as Captain??

So what defines a title-winning captain? Two words: leadership and representation. Captains with leadership get the job done, no matter the occasion. They motivate others to transform defeats into draws and draws into victories. As the old saying goes, “Winners find a way to win; losers find a way to lose.”

Vieira and Adams – Winners

Furthermore, they represent the club as if they were as if they were a microcosm. Tony Adams was “Mr. Arsenal”. Patrick Vieira had the class, toughness and French nationality that were ever-present throughout The Invincibles. Even John Terry symbolizes the racist Chelsea supporters. All jokes aside, captains who are crowned champions seem to embody their club’s culture.

Although this Arsenal squad supplied more tough and gritty performances this season than in any other recent campaign, most of the club’s breakthrough victories occurred with Arteta on the bench. When Arteta was wearing the armband, Arsenal suffered leaderless displays (with the exception of Alexis) in the defeats against Chelsea and Manchester United and, resultantly, incurred the worst start to a Premier League season for 32 years.

But let’s presume that Arsenal as a team have broken through. The disappointing results in the beginning of last season against Leicester, Spurs, and Hull will now become gutsy, winning performances in the new season. The previous lack of a winning mentality and leadership will no longer dismantle the talent and potential of this squad. So that raises another question- CAN Mikel Arteta make this squad? Surely the emergence of Le Coq, the rumoured addition of Arturo Vidal, and the expectation demanded from either Cazorla or Ramsey to start seemingly makes it highly unlikely for Wenger to give the 33 year-old Arteta minutes.

With emergence of Le Coq, Mikel’s minutes look linited

As I have already stated, I like Arteta. He is a team player and has produced some excellent performances for Arsenal. He says the right things and arguably has the best hair in football. Unfortunately his combination of inconsistent leadership and lack of match-time just does not fit the bill for winning a title.

If Arsenal want another one, a change in captaincy must be considered.

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13 Responses to “Can we genuinely challenge for the title with Arteta being our captain?”

  1. vince k June 27, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    everything you said proves that you’re an idiot. you may want to find a different career path.

    • USArsenal June 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

      Well if Piers Morgan is an idiot and made it, looks like I’m on the right track

  2. Howard June 27, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    Blame Arsene Wenger
    Apart from PV 4 non of his captains were captain materials

    Van Perse?
    Even Almunia?

    You can’t believe all these were captains appointed by Arsene Wenger.
    In the current I choose Ramsey.

  3. Howard June 27, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

    Then Gallas; at a time Kolo Toure should’ve been captain. So the guy always pick wrong leaders in the team.

    • USArsenal June 27, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

      Definitely agree with you, Howard. I really do feel arteta just is not the kind of leader that gets it done when it really counts.

  4. The Wall June 27, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    Lest we forget Arteta came at a time when Arsene (and the team) performed as if it were “rudderless”. The team moral was at it’s worst, players were ready to jump ship, Arteta showed loyalty from the get-go. Now you want to bring doubt on his ability to see out the coming campaign. The real question is do YOUR employer’s have trust that you can write a quality post for the true arsenal supporters have nothing but optimism for the gunners regardless of who is carries or is appointed the armband. COYG

  5. Sean Williams June 27, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    I don’t know if you watch Arsenal. If you do then you realise the answer to your question is obvious. Arteta is not up to the standard of a Premier League winning side. It’s that simple. Arteta is just not good enough to win the big prizes. And if Wenger does not replace him with at least one of the best DM’s out there, to support Coquelin, Arsenal WILL not win the league anyway. I hope it’s not another year of being two players away from winning the Premier League.

  6. The Wall June 27, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

    Lest we forget Arteta came at a time when Arsene (and the team) performed as if it were “rudderless”. The team moral was at it’s worst, players were poised to jump ship, Arteta showed loyalty from the get-go and that loyalty was a catalyst for the team. Now you want to bring doubt on his ability to see out the coming campaign. The question is do YOUR employer’s have trust that you can write a quality post for the true arsenal supporters who have nothing but optimism for the gunners (squad) regardless of who it is that is appointed the armband. COYG

    • Dave Seager June 27, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

      I tend to agree and for the 1st 2 seasons he became a talisman for our team but that does not mean he is necessarily still the right man to lead us now. I suspect he will remain the Club Captain as he has Wenger’s ear and is doing his coaching badges with Club’s blessing.

      That said we need a leader on the pitch as well as in my humble opinion that is not Per Mertesacker.

  7. Ryan June 27, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    This is really not one of the websites that I comment on, but this article compels me to shed my typical reticence.
    While I do agree with the fact that Mikel may find it hard to come by minutes in the coming season, the suggestion that he’s so very unsuitable to captain us seems too biased and shoddily put together to me. Leaving aside the fact that he’s a consummate professional and a complete gentleman- virtues that exemplify his class; he’s also held in great regard by his teammates(the same guys who know they’re getting more minutes in than him). I would suggest you go through all the interviews of all our players when they’re talking about our teamspirit and players. One thing that shines through is that Arteta doesn’t lead just by example in training and on field- but he brings the team together even off it, he makes the youngsters feel comfortable by talking to them, he does his due to integrate the new guys into the gang and he is one of the most vocal guys in the dressing rooms.
    Moreover, since he came to us he hasn’t only stuck with us through a horridly critical time but also more or less, transformed into someone who’s taken the ethos of The Arsenal to heart.
    To me, our captain should signify the class that we as a club aim to exude, and at this point Arteta seems to fit the bill as well as anyone else. I would love to have had a Tony Adam-esque born and bred captain, but those come along once in a lifetime. I do not see the sense in yearning for a Viera-esque captain. Do you even remember the number of times Paddy has rebelled in the backrooms? He’s thrown a series of hissy fits and continued to speak ill of the club for a while after he left. Just because media wasn’t as all-pervading then, doesn’t mean that things didn’t happen. It’s easy to see only the trophies and forget everything else.
    I won’t even get started on the suggestions that Terry maybe a better prototype of a captain. That right there is where I draw the line for outrageous imagination.

    • USArsenal June 27, 2015 at 9:06 pm #

      Ryan, I agree with most of your points, as you make some very good ones. But I feel that you may have misunderstood my post. I never said that Arteta is a bad captain (he’s seems to be a great guy and good in the dressing room). But to have yet another club captain that won’t be playing on the pitch where the points are truly won or lost, you can’t say he leads both on and off the pitch if he is never on it. Combined with the team’s excellent form and true displays of leadership in the second half of the season (when Arteta was not playing) I think it’s a legitimate question to ask if we need consider making a change.
      But I do appreciate you reading and your thoughts, even if we disagree haha

  8. Shambala June 27, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    From the crop of players present now, there is none who can be appointed captain who is in the mould of Adams & Vieira. This has been the problem for the team lacks a commanding captain in the dressing rooms & on pitch such that he can psyche the other players into a winning mentality. As it stands Mertesacker needs needs to assume the full captaincy. Mertesacker started badly but later on he proved our saviour a number of times .

  9. Mick Mahoney June 27, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

    Mate, you know fuck all about football.

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