Would You Change Our Captain? By Dan
Let me stress, saying Aubameyang needs to have the armband removed is not a criticism of him (the person) or any accusation that he’s lost the dressing room. It’s simply a hard job and it’s not made for everyone.
I think Mikel Arteta felt obliged to make his striker captain because with the club willing to hand such a lucrative contract to a 32-year-old, he became the face of the ‘new Arsenal’, the man who ideally the team would be built around.
To be fair, I did see an immediate change in his body language when we changed bosses. In the dark days of Unai Emery’s final months, the forward would be throwing his arms in the air, berating one of his younger teammates for a mis-placed pass.
Under a new coach he originally brought into the fresh ethos. He was defending from the front, pressing in a manner that even Arteta admitted he was unsure if the player could tactically do.
My own stance on Auba has always been that, apart from scoring, he doesn’t do a lot else.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad problem to have, but it’s noticeable the difference in his work rate compared to Lacazette. That seemed to change in the second half of last season, but he’s now resorted back to his old self.
Some say it’s not a coincidence that his form dipped after he signed a new deal. Others simply put it down to a loss of confidence.
Either way he needs to be left to focus on his own game without the extra burden of being skipper.
It reminds me a lot of William Gallas’s experience in North London.
Yes, the defender famously had his sit-down protest at Birmingham, but the truth is that long before that, he was struggling to identify with a young squad. Arsene Wenger, very loyal to his players, awkwardly midway through the campaign gave the captaincy to Fabregas, feeling he could relate better to his peers.
That doesn’t mean Gallas wasn’t a good centre back (great at Chelsea) he just didn’t have leadership qualities.
No one can deny Auba’s popularity. He has a bromance with Lacazette and the likes of Guendouzi look up to him. Unfortunately, clever handshakes and banter is only a small part of the role as captain.
Some gooners and pundits are now questioning if the Gabon international deserves to be in the starting lineup. If that becomes a reality, then it would be very hard for him to keep the armband.
With great power comes great responsibility. Instead of setting standards, his constant time keeping issues led to him being dropped for the North London Derby. If what Arteta says Is true about not accepting anyone who can’t follow his principles, then that might be taken into consideration when the whole season is reviewed.
Finally, does the man have the character?
I don’t mean character like fancy haircuts and fashion sense. I mean, the personality to drag others through adversity.
This week, like previous and hopefully future rounds, the Gunners must play in the Europa League knowing they are having to win to rescue their season. That, the second they get knocked out, they go down as one of the worst Arsenal teams in over two decades.
Not just will winning in Europe give them the prestige of Champions League qualification, they will be acutely aware the financial implications if we have zero European Football for the first time since 1995 (hence why I say we have gone backwards since Mr. Wenger left).
That’s a lot of pressure for anyone to deal with, and there’s doubt if this group have the mentality to cope with it?
That’s the problem, on any given day, you don’t know what Arsenal will show up. Player for player, we are superior to Slavia Prague and it’s a kind draw to advance to a semi-Final. Yet we are equally capable of not showing up on Thursday.
The counter argument will be that Auba led by example against Man City and Chelsea at Wembley. No one can take the FA Cup away from his legacy, it will live forever.
Yet he’s as guilty as the club he represents in terms of which Auba shows up in the next few weeks? For every FA Cup Final, there’s two other Finals where he went missing.
Also when we talk about the poster boy of Arsenal. He’s going to be known as the captain of the worst Arsenal team in 25 years.
I would still start him in midweek because there’s still no one else you would want a chance falling to in the penalty area. Not at the expense of Lacazette though, because his work ethic is vital.
I also think it would be unfair to Martinelli to throw the youngster into our biggest match of the season with not much prep (unless you could start all three?).
Then quietly in the summer move the armband over to someone else.
How about we do it the day after we have lifted the Europa League to minimize the fuss?
Would you change our captain?
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