The situation that caused so much debate last season is back at the center of conversation before a ball is kicked. Arsenal coach Unai Emery’s flippy floppy approach to the club captaincy on his arrival wasn’t appreciated by the majority of Arsenal fans.
Emery: "In a captain I look for experience of leadership, being an example on & off the pitch, character & communication with the coach & other players, capacity to speak & to be there for supporters, a good connection & communication with the club" #Arsenal pic.twitter.com/bQsjIIJFiM
— Gurjit (@GurjitAFC) July 19, 2019
Last season, the Spaniard selected Laurent Koscielny as his Arsenal captain but he also nominated Petr Cech (the Chelsea player) Aaron Ramsey, whom he no longer wanted, Mesut Ozil, when he wasn’t subbed, sick or absent and Granit Xhaka, who has the leadership skill of a gerbil.
Emery curiously referred to as the ‘leadership group’ and I promptly renamed it the ‘Leaderless group’ because apart from Aaron Ramsey, who from that list showed any leadership qualities during a game. Emery was certainly having a joke at our expense and I originally thought he’d been hypnotised by a passing mystic, suffered a blow to the head with a blunt object or that he was incredibly inebriated.
Why else would you choose this assortment of no hopers ?
Now Koscielny has downed his tools and refused to go on tour, the question of Arsenal club captaincy is back on the table. The problem is that Emery is sticking with his ‘leadership group’ idea of between three and five players.
Koscielny remaining as Arsenal Captain is as likely as Frankie Boyle telling a politically correct joke at a stag night but in truth, Emery has so few options to chose from that I’m sure that if you arrived early enough to the first home game of the season, you’d have equal opportunity of becoming skipper.
Emery said on the subject,
”At the moment Koscielny has a contract with us but we’ll speak with the club and him about if he will continue or not. We have players with the capacity [to be captain], one is Granit, he was a captain in the dressing room. We have others like Mesut, Nacho. There are other players who can take this position also. I want between three and five captains in the team.”
If I were Emery, I’d think about putting a leader on my shopping list because from current list, it’s difficult to see where his Arsenal captain/captains are coming from. So, I thought I’d look at the three candidates suggested by Emery and see if any got close.
Granit Xhaka on being Arsenal captain: “It is not about the armband. We have to work well together on the pitch, out of the pitch & we have to work together, all of the players.” #afc pic.twitter.com/9aqNZsCsSg
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) July 17, 2019
So according to the guidelines a good Arsenal captain should :
1.Always puts the team first.
Nacho would grab this one, having run himself into the ground in the past and for performing tirelessly for Arsenal in a brittle defence. Xhaka and Ozil are yet to show this quality.
2. Leads by example
Nacho again and although he’s in the twilight of his career at Arsenal, he’s head and shoulders above the other two.
3. Inspire those around him.
I’m still laughing that Xhaka and Ozil are in the running for Arsenal captain. Nacho again on this one. Committed and puts in a shift even though the body wasn’t up to it as often.
4.Have a positive relationship with players and coaches.
That’s Ozil completely out of this one after his spat with the Spaniard that saw him binned and benched for a large chunk of the season. Xhaka seems to be in this one but I’m afraid Nacho gets full marks even if it’s because he’s able to understand Emery’s ‘Spanglish’*
5.Embody the core values of the team.
Oops, Ozil’s gone again because Ozil is all about Ozil. Xhaka is still in with a shout but it’s the Spanish veteran in pole position AGAIN !
6.Work hard and persevere.
On occasion there’s not much wrong with Xhaka’s work rate but he tends to drop off in a crisis. There’s no thunder when he’s around and things aren’t working out. Nacho will work as hard if Arsenal are 6-0 up and he will always give what he has. Ozil was once seen sweating by his accountant.
“If the club & the coach gives me the armband, I will be happy of course. I will be very happy because it is something special, but it’s not my first time because I have been captain here, I was before in Germany and the national team as well.”
– Granit Xhaka?? pic.twitter.com/K5eJOqTuxt
— ArsenalGoals (@ArsenalGoaIs) July 17, 2019
7.Step up when the team need them.
Nacho only. Xhaka and Ozil require additional tuition in the art of desire, attainment and achievement.
On social media, other suggestions by arsenal fans include Sokratis, Holding and the front runner Hector Bellerin, who like Monreal can tick the 7 requirements easily but none of them are genuine, natural captains.
If Emery finds one Arsenal captain he’ll have done well but three to five ? No chance.