Mikel Arteta is Arsenal’s nominal captain at the moment, with Per Mertesacker usually wearing the armband during games, although last week he handed it over to Theo Walcott as recognition of the England striker’s ten years at the club.
The BFG will not be sporting it again tomorrow (who will?), as he is banned, but the big defender thinks that there is little need for a captain at the club. “There’s always a balance between having good leaders and a good team, but everyone needs to lead,” Mertesacker said on the official Arsenal website. “Everyone needs to lead, to talk and give energy to the squad. It’s a balance and you don’t want to do too much or exaggerate at times, you just have to get the team going at times.
“In general we have a good balance in the team and a good squad. We’ve still got players coming back from injury but we’ve never complained about it, that is the main reason for our success.
“Players have stepped up, brought their energy and we’ve got the results as well. We won¹t look back on players being injured as a negative because other players have stepped up, especially this season.
Arsene Wenger failed to buy any outfield players in the summer, giving reasons like ‘continuity’, ‘cohesion’ and ‘team spirit, and Mertesacker thinks that this has worked in the team’s favour. “We’ve kept the same squad and we have obviously made some great additions over the past two years.” he continued. “In general, the team spirit has grown a lot. We are competing at the top and that’s something that was not always the case when I joined.
“The team is much stronger and mentally stronger as well. There are a few steps to go, the season is always long and to get consistency is never easy. There are challenges ahead of us but they make us even stronger, and I must say that the team spirit in the squad is huge at the minute.”
We must all admit that the team doesn’t seem to dwell on setbacks any more, but just pick themselves up to fight in the next game. Maybe this is something that our supporters should also learn from…..