I’ve done quite a good job of excluding myself from rabble of the ‘You ain’t got a clue’ crew online over the summer, but yesterday’s reaction to Vermaelen was a tough incident to ignore, like people have already forgotten the car crash injury scene that took place, like some people don’t understand basic human needs.
When I say Thomas Vermaelen was treated badly, I’m talking from a human perspective. After all, a football club is a collection of humans put together to collectively share the work load over a season. When you manage a football squad / work place group, you’re looking after their physical wellbeing (maybe not so much this in digital marketing) as well as their mental well being. It’s a tough balancing act, but if you read any management book on business / sport, the best managers understand the basic premise that everyone needs to feel wanted / respected / included to perform.
Not rocket science.
Arsenal had two centre backs last season. It’s quite simply not practical to play two players for a whole season, regardless of their talent. Players fatigue, people aren’t indestructible and even if they are, you still need to ensure they’re as fresh as possible in the most important games. Also, remember, when you’re tired you’re mentally drained as well.
Arsene Wenger has a very good player in Vermaelen. Say what you want about his form, he’s 28, he’s a Belgian international, he was captain of Ajax and he was good enough to be hailed a hero by Arsenal fans and pick up our club captaincy.
Arsene Wenger should have rotated him into our side last season. There’s no plausible reason not to give him games. It’s almost immature not to. What we did was play Laurent and Per until someone broke. How anyone can think that’s sensible management is beyond me. We actually played our best defender until he broke.
The biggest miracle of last season was that we didn’t pick up injuries to Giroud or our two centre backs.
Back to Thomas… you don’t play him, you ignore him… then and injury occurs and you bring in Vermaelen and he’s not there mentally. He knows he’s not valued, he knows he has no trust and he plays like he’s a waste of space. He’s not a bad player, he’s just a human. His confidence was shot and we threw him out like a used wet wipe. You need to look after people when you have a team and you need to look after their physiological needs. Arsene didn’t do that with Thomas. How can the belief be so strong you award him captaincy, to so not there that you bench him all season?
… And look, if your response to Wenger dropping him is…
‘We shouldn’t be playing poor players’
Firstly, you’re wrong, he’s not a poor player. Manchester City, Barcelona and Louis Van Gaal don’t chase bad players. Secondly, tell that to the manager you’re agreeing with over TVs ostracism to immediately retract the new contact he’s waving in his face.
… and look, it wasn’t just TV this happened to. We also had it with Nik B. Wenger didn’t play him in preference of destroying Giroud for a year. It was even worse with Bendtner because Wenger said he’d play him after his Cardiff heroics, then proceeded to totally ditch him. It really says something when a manager would rather risk the fitness of players over playing £130k p/w worth of talent.
In fact, I’m sure Wenger said Thomas was important around Christmas as well?
Anyway, the great thing with the Vermaelen debate is you can’t agree with Wenger on dropping Vermaelen all season and the agree with him on giving him a new deal. It’s a complete contradiction.
Which I think is beautiful. What is ugly is player watch linking him away from the club and putting the wrong Twitter handle in place. That whole media watch is an excercise in embarrassment. You’re supposed to be above your own media speculation when you’re a classy establishment.
Anyway, a lot of the above stems from me making the point that having Calum Chambers as our 3rd choice centre back this season would be a total farce. People retort on that saying he’ll be an England player.
I’m not for a minute suggesting Chambers isn’t going to be an excellent player. He’s a far more nailed on prospect than Theo or Chamberlain at that age. He’s Prem proven. However, centre backs rarely do well at 19 in the Premier League. It’s the most powerful league in the world. The strikers are faster and more beastly than anywhere else. Also, before you throw Varane in my face… he’s an actual centre back (well, what I know anyway, which isn’t much if I’m honest). Not a right back Madrid are converting to a centre back.
Anyway, the above is an irrelevance because if we sell Vermaelen, we are currently looking at all the market options there are to replace him.
So fear not… I just find it amazing that a large sections of fans would be happy to have a rookie as back up for a team looking to push for the Champions League and Premier League. Stating you don’t believe a right back who is yet to be converted is a truth, not a dig at a fantastic prospect.
Good news on the football front, I’ll have Alex Fynn on the blog next week, hopefully on video as I begin my assault on the new media scene with a partner site. They’re game for the idea, so we’ll have some bits coming out over the next few months. Thanks for the feedback on the concept.
Right, that’s me done. I have a staff summer party today, so tomorrow’s post will be even more strewn with errors than normal. Thanks for being patient.
Artistic impression of the moves I’ll be cutting later
GOOD DAY TO YOU! x
P.S. Thanks for the support on the site this summer, the comments have been booming. I thought they might disappear with the emergence of Twitter as a main stream channel… not so, it’s been the busiest summer in years. Thanks for you contributions! You’re literally the best.