How to solve the Thomas Vermaelen problem at Arsenal

Vermaelen High Ball

Does the future hold a new twist for Thomas Vermaelen at Arsenal?

Something has changed since Arsene Wenger’s so called press conference melt down. A new and ruthless Wenger emerged from that experience, one who bravely decided to drop the club captain and number goalkeeper from the starting line-up.

This un-Wenger like decision has had a positive impact on Arsenal in their chase of a top four spot. There is now a goalkeeper playing with a point to prove as well as a defensive partnership which works. In the past there have been opportunities to make this same statement with other players such as William Gallas, decisions which were not taken.

It has been reported today that Thomas Vermaelen has vowed to win his place back in the side, this is good news as it means he will work harder. In my opinion he and Koscielny are the two best centre backs at the club, the only problem is that the evidence shows they do not play well together. A good example of this would be the game against Norwich, where Arsenal conceded another avoidable goal.

The club captain has a good partnership with the other centre back Per Mertesacker, but unfortunately for him Koscielny has a better partnership with the big German.

It would be rather foolish for Wenger to make any changes to the centre back combination because the current choices have made Arsenal stronger defensively.

That means that if Vermaelen were to immediately break back into Arsenal’s team it would not be at centre back. The other position which he has been deployed this season is at left back, again this would not enter Wenger’s mind as he has two good left backs at the club. There is however one position which he has not been seen for Arsenal, that is in centre midfield.

The match against Fulham could be the perfect time for Wenger to put him into midfield, a role which many Arsenal fans have wanted to see. The fitness of Wilshere and Rosicky give Wenger the chance to implement this.

I would push Ramsey slightly further up the pitch into the role he plays for Wales and have Vermaelen and Arteta just behind him. Most likely if Wilshere is rested as he should be, Santi Cazorla will revert back to centre midfield and a winger will come in. I personally do not agree with the view that Cazorla is less effective on the left side, as he naturally wonders around causing more problems from that position.

We all remember the Vermaelen that came to Arsenal, the goal scoring centre back, this move could bring out his best qualities. There have been some doubts on the Arsenal captains future at the club, in my opinion this would be a wrong move to sell him.

This would be yet another captain leaving, adding to the nonsense of Arsenal captains being cursed. It would be another brave decision from Wenger to put Vermaelen into midfield but possibly a good one. Although I believe this will not happen, we cannot predict the new Arsene Wenger.

image: © ronmacphotos

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch