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Will Vermaelen be the big summer departure from Arsenal?

By Avenell Dave

So the transfer window is closed, we bought a player and he did pretty well on his debut against a Stoke side who have all the finesse of...well, of their fans.

Coming out of the ground, I looked with sympathy at a guy who was clearly disabled. He had on thick glasses and had two walking sticks to help him with his feet both pointing inwards. 

He was about 28-35 years old and looked a real trainspotter, but no one likes to see someone  suffering because of physical impairment and his walking did not look comfortable at all. 

Then he opened his mouth.

"You can f*&^ off you Cockney twat. You'll never win F*&^ all!" and more gutteral abuse I won't repeat.

It became clear that he was a Stoke fan and bitter that his side had been defeated, trying to goad an Arsenal fan who simply poimted to the back of his own shirt, the wording or name on which I did not see.

It would be simple, crass and unkind to make jokes about the link between this visiting fan and the zombie/knuckledragger caricature we have of Stoke fans in general, but this hardly did my impressions of them any favours.

Their team are clumsy, unimaginative and deserve everything it got on Saturday. 

I assume Michael Owen will also avoid punishment for throwing a fist at Mikel Arteta, who later embraced him in that nice guy way that betrays a lack of ruthlessness we need in the middle of the park.

But we won. We closed the gap on the Chavs and we looked much better all around.

It isn't easy beating sides who come to defend, particularly those with a fine goalkeeper (I wonder if Arsene Wenger has considered him if Szczesny makes any more rickets?) but we got the win and taht's all that mattered.

Nacho Monreal was strong, determined and although he made a couple of minor errors, you could see that he was feeling his way into a new side and looks like a superb signing.

We looked all the more solid at the back and I can't help wondering if Thomas Vermaelen may be more of a problem than a solution.

My wonderful neighbours at the ground have pointed out, as have I on this site, that making him captain makes him almost undroppable but his standards have dropped and where he used to at least chip in with a few goals, the fire has gone from his belly.

The observation was made that he did not shout and bawl at his players on Wednesday against Liverpool and while I think the entire defence needs drilling to sort out its shaky performances, he just doesn;t seem to gel consistenly with either of his partners.

Whatever we think about the inactivity in the transfer window, there won't now be anyone leaving unexpectedly who we want to stay. 

Everyone is signed up and only fringe players or those whose form and fitness are in question could leave.

That means Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna, both of whom will need to be replaced or at least strong squad members brought in. I am almost certain one or other will depart before the end of August.

This is the strongest the squad has been for some time because of players recovered from injury. We just have to hope the international week's injury curse does not affect us again.

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Reader Comments (5)

Let´s hope Vermaelen is out of the door. At least in some capacity (bench). Let´s face it, he is not up to par, and needs to take a big chunk of the blame for our poor defensive performances this year. His positioning, the single most important quality in a centre half in my honest opinion, leaves much to be desired. Hopefully we can sign a proper CB, and sell Vermaelen before anyone else discovers how overrated he is. Rant over.

February 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDelofeu

although that stoke fan had an obvious disability, (not the fact he had a problem with his legs the, the disability was with his head!) this does not entitle him to our respect. if people, irrespective of their condition want others to treat them in a curteous manner then they should act in the appropriate way, otherwise, they should be treated with the contempt their behaviour deserves. in general, stoke fans are mentally disabled, and deserve our fullest contempt. so next time son, give him the full extent of your COCKNEY WIT....although the chances are it'll take a lifetime for him to work out!!!

February 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzico59

Good write up, it is so hard to find the normal decent Stoke fan isn't it? I am sure like all clubs we have our knuckle draggers, but you'd think that fan would be a decent one?
Stupid internationals, how many times did rvp come back crocker with us? Bet it never happens at UTD again.

February 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterelkieno

I'm an Arsenal supporter who knows a Stoke supporter who goes everywhere who is aided by his sticks so I text him to find out if it was him. It turns out it was but what the article fails to mention is that an Arsenal supporter had commented something like 'He's been tackled by Shawcross' to his mate which is why he gave a mouthful back.

While he says he should have just left it as he's to old for all that stuff, he's just seen his team lose to a relatively late goal so he wouldn't have been the happiest person going, and I guess he didn't need to hear a comment like that at that moment. He has had this disability from birth and never plays the sympathy card. In fact, he never goes into disability areas at football grounds and has had to fight for the right to sit in the able bodied seats at a couple of grounds.

I asked him if he wanted to read the article but he was not that bothered. I just felt the need to put the record straight on this.

February 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Stevens

Here we go again, as soon as a player goes down in form people are quick to come out and start swinging the axe.
Last year he was one of our best players,all of a sudden he lost a bit of form and we're talking about getting rid of him, give him a chance for christ's sake.
Don't be so judgmental and you'll see he'll bounce back and be the player he was last year.
Be proud, Be a Gunner

February 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAussie Gunner

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