The Gunners Captain Thomas Vermaelen has spoken out of his recent form that has seen him relegated to the bench for the past two weeks in favour of Laurent Koscielny and since his side have managed consecutive clean sheets.
The Belgian international has struggled with injury during his time in North London, however this season he has largely been fit and available, but has suffered a dip in form that has seen the newly appointed Captain make crucial mistakes.
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Interestingly Arsenal have won three and lost none of the five Premier League matches this season without Vermaelen, and their goals conceded ratio is 1.29 when he is playing compared to 0.2 without (stats from whoscored.com).
He has however taken it all in his stride, acted maturely by admitting to his blunders and most importantly wants to fight for his place with the Gunners.
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The Metro reported Vermaelen said:
I have made mistakes.
If I played flawlessly in all the matches I would be Lionel Messi. As a footballer you know you what may happen when you play badly.
I’m not worried though – it’s only the last games, I have played about 35 times this season. This is Arsenal, they are not a bad team and there is a lot of competition.
Vermaelen has suffered a variety of poor positional play, unusually inaccurate passing and misunderstandings with his partner (mostly Mertesacker). It has been most unusual for such a usually consistent, solid performer to find himself in this position – especially a Captain. This spell on the bench may force the Belgian international to step up his game and cut out the mistakes. He is a vital member of the squad and when in form he’s up there with the best defenders, however this season has been less fruitful especially in front of goal with just one goal to his name in the League Cup, unlike previous seasons where he has managed 6-8 goals per campaign when fit.
But Wenger has taken the correct route and benched him even though he wears the armband, Koscielny has played very well in his place and for the time being the defensive lineup does not need adjusting. Two consecutive clean sheets is solid, and the defensive solidarity must continue for the remainder of the season which may or may not include Arsenal’s Captain.