Arsene Wenger admits he won’t go changing the centre-back partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny just for the sake of it despite the fact his captain, Thomas Vermaelen, has barely played in the last eight months.
The Belgian international revealed this week that he’d spoken to Wenger about his lack of game time but with one eye on his country’s World Cup campaign confirmed he’ll reassess his situation in January if he’s still not playing.
Touching on the situation at his pre-Norwich press conference, Wenger stated:
“Vermaelen is my captain so I rate him but it’s difficult to change the current pair. Unfortunately when you have 20 good players, nine good players don’t play.
“That is the job of the players, to compete. We are in a job where you have to be ready when you are needed.
“The big players want to be with big players; the disadvantage of being with big players is that you are not that sure you play.
“I named him [Thomas] captain because he is a player you rate and a player with good behaviour as well. He is a top guy with a fantastic attitude.”
In seasons gone by Thomas might at least have sealed some game time at left back but with Kieran Gibbs less injury prone and a full Spanish international providing back-up he’s not had a look in.
Of course, as the games pile up it’s highly likely Vermaelen will get his chance to shine. He’s nailed on to play against Chelsea in the Carling Cup in ten days time – not an insignificant fixture – while he is experienced enough to know that injuries could strike the squad at any moment and he could be thrust into the action.