Vermaelen Gets The Keown Seal Of Approval And Transfer Gossip
After an impressive debut season in the English Premier League, Thomas Vermaelen needs to understand his role more deeply and be able to organise the defence according to Martin Keown. Not that this signals the former centre back’s discontent with the Belgian international:
He’s been outstanding, without doubt, and it’s [only] his first year.
What I’d like to see him now do is grow, I’d like to see him become a leader, I’d like to see him become more vocal. It’s difficult watching from the sidelines but I get the feeling he is still feeling his way into the team. What I love about him is that he attacks the ball.
People criticised him and said he was just five foot 11 but he proved it doesn’t matter. We need him to grow, we need him to understand his role. Once he does that he can bring the rest of the back four with him and organise that line.
There is no doubt that Vermaelen was outstanding in 2009/10, no coincidence that points were dropped in his absence at the end of the season. His demeanour on the pitch is that of a winner and I suspect that he deferred to William Gallas as the leader of the defence simply because of being the new boy at the club, initially at least. That was hinted at in an interview with the official club magazine.
However, I would expect to see that change this coming season as he has adjusted to the pace of English football. Were the vacancy to arise, it would be no surprise to see him made Captain of Arsenal, a position he has held previously at Ajax and for his country.
Leadership qualities are something we have come to expect from Arsenal centre backs. Since the mid 1980s, the successful centre backs, the ones we remember most fondly, have all been strong characters. Those who were not such as Stepanovs, are erased from our memories (almost!), written off as hopeless.
Organisation is the key area that the defence needs to improve in 2010/11. That requires increased concentration from the back four, some of the goals conceded at the tail end of the season were breathtakingly slack-jawed. But once more, it is necessary to emphasise that team as a whole, and without exception, must defend when out of possession. Fewer goals conceded will ensure a sustained challenge for any trophies.
Concentration eradicates the repititious mistakes although as Vermaelen pointed out, that was not necessarily a big problem last season.
It is too easy to say there is a general pattern. If you want to learn from your mistakes you have to analyse every single match and see what we did badly – and every time against Manchester United and Chelsea it was something different, not the same thing repeatedly.
Whilst he talks of injuries and fitness, mistakes which are not repeatedly made are hard to avoid since they are often the result of individuals making the wrong decisions at the wrong times. An inexperienced defence might be able to use that but it is an accusation which cannot be levelled at anyone who is a first choice defender at Arsenal. Even the replacements have experience through injuries to others or representing their countries at whatever level.
Stating The Bleeding Obvious
A headline hogging saga in a Presidential Election season is nothing unexpected and lo, this one trundles its merry way through the global media like a runaway train. Peter Hill-Wood has observed that the manager will have the funds from all player sales as well as his original budget to take down the casino and blow in one evening. Sorry, to review carefully the scouting reports, identify his targets and then sign them.
It is nothing new and under the terms of loans that the club has, Wenger has to be given money to reinvest as he sees fit. On whom and when is entirely his decision and like most of his public utterances, PHW adds little of value. Which ought to mean the insertion of the letter ‘e’ into his initials to make ‘phew’, especially since one of his forays into the public domain has apparently inflamed the situation with Cesc.
How much truth there is in the story is up for debate but there is an air of believability. The words were clumsily chosen, whether Fabregas copped the arse-nal about it is possible and may well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as the player was concerned. Perhaps, in time, the truth will come out.
Elsewhere, Bolton have said Gary Cahill is worth £30m but will look seriously at any offer over £20m. Then they will realise Manchester City and Chelsea are not entering into the auction and probably settle on about £10m which represents at least a 100% profit for them in two years. Simon Kjaer was mentioned towards the end of last season as a possible signing and showed his credentials as an Arsenal player would be impeccable as he suffered an injury whilst on international duty. And we go full circle in this little segment as Bolton want Jack Wilshere back on loan. If Arsene lets him. Which rather depends on everyone else, I suspect.
Posted on May 28, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 290 Comments.