Who is the leader at Arsenal?
By Anthony Kendrick - Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/Ant_Kendrick
Arsene Wenger has said since the game against Manchester City that he was unsure who the captain was. And it says a lot about the club. It is against the Premier League rules not to have a named captain, which to me seems reasonable enough. It seems a basic requirement for any team.
But this just personifies the problems that Arsenal have. Per Mertesacker is an experienced figure who has captained the Germany side in the past, but has missed the entire season with a knee injury. Laurent Koscielny has generally been the captain, but while he is a solid defender, he isn't the vocal leader they need.
Looking through the squad and few seem like captain material. The likes of Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott have been named captain on occasion, but this is because of the lack of other options.
Alexis Sanchez is Arsenal's best player by a long way, but hasn't captained the side. He has a determined attitude, for himself. But when things go against him, he struggles. He doesn't inspire the other players.
This captaincy issue shows that there isn't an Arsenal player willing to step up and lead the team. But there is a solution for Arsenal, in Granit Xhaka. He has been criticised for his two red cards this season, and prior to his Arsenal days in Germany he picked up a lot of cards. But at Monchengladbach, he was their captain and is clearly a player who is up for the fight.
For years, pundits, social media and various journalists have said that Arsenal need a tough-tackling midfielder like a Patrick Vieira. This is the closest player to him out there today, but now the goalposts have changed. He is now being criticised and called a liability. If he is not the answer, then which midfielder is?