Mikel Arteta has revealed that he was given the captain’s armband against Leeds when he was a player for Arsenal but he’s hoping to avoid generating any captaincy problems at the cub.
Every since Unai Emery arrived and decided that Arsenal needed five captains instead of just one captain and a vice-captain that had served us perfectly well for over 100 years, it’s been a total balls up.
To be fair to Emery, it was a bit of a balls-up before he arrived, with captains leaving five minutes after they were promoted to the position already established as something of a theme.
Speaking about that game against Leeds almost eight years ago, you know the one, Arteta said, “I arrived in the dressing room and the captain’s armband was next to my shirt.
“I asked Arsene Wenger, “Boss, the armband is here, is it a mistake?” He said, “No, no you are the captain”.
“It felt incredible”.
At that time, Robin van Persie was Arsenal captain following the departure of Cesc Fabregas for Barcelona the previous season.
Van Persie, of course, then left six months later and the armband went to Thomas Vermaelen before making its way to Arteta permanently in 2014 when the Belgian also left for Barca.
Arteta was then asked about the captaincy at Arsenal with many expecting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to leave the club before the start of next season.
“Obviously the more stability we can generate in our captain and the players we have in the squad, I think the more clarity we will transmit to the fans,” he said.
“There are many factors, sometimes ones we cannot control, but at the moment I think everything is OK and it’s not the time for me to change the things that are in place. I haven’t seen enough to make those decisions.
“I’ve been at clubs where we have had four or five captains but it’s more like a leadership group than captains.
“There is one guy wearing the armband but after that the team picks the leaders.
“The moment they pick the leaders — when someone talks they either listen or they are looking at the roof. That’s really when you see.
“The moment you start to see different groups, there are leaders in each group but they are not shared in the best common interest of the whole squad. This is what I want to avoid.”
As I was writing up this post I took a look at the team we fielded the last time we played Leeds. Wojciech Szczesny, Laurent Koscielny, Ignasi Miquel, Sebastien Squillaci, Mikel Arteta, Francis Coquelin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Song, Andrei Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh all started.
On the bench we had Emiliano Martinez, still at the club, as well as Nico Yennaris (now a Chinese citizen going by the name Li Ke), Yossi Benayoun, Ryo Miyaichi, Theo Walcott, Park Chu-Young, one of the most inexplicable Arsenal transfers of all time and, of course, a certain Thierry Henry….