Dear Arsene. Please keep Vermaelen fit, somehow.

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In the principle of my fuzzy mind, I consider Sundays to be prime territory for blogging, bacon & eggs, papers and general loafing. In the practise of my actual life, however, I have small children: this means that somewhere ranging between one and all of the above Sunday activities falls by the wayside.

Experiencing the game on Saturday was interesting though, as I found myself ticking off various football-experiencing mediums as the game progressed. I managed to sneak out to the big screen in the pub for the first 45 minutes, before switching to a web stream (which broke), then onto the radio, before finishing the last few of the 95 minutes on Twitter on my phone. It was there that I learned of Bendtner’s winner, just as I was penning something miserable and bitter at having dropped two crucial points.

Things are going pretty well and it’s come to something that I started getting excited about going to the West Ham game this afternoon. It’s far too soon.

No better way to calm down then than to start worrying about hypothetical scenarios.

The scenario that got me sweating was the one that involves Thomas Vermaelen getting injured. I’m sure most fans of the teams that most want us to fail, if they could nobble anyone, would pick him at the moment. Of course, it goes without saying that Fabregas is a one-man assist machine, top scorer and general dynamo, but with Nasri and Diaby playing well we can just about survive without him.

Not so Thomas Vermaelen. With Gallas already out for a month and with no timeframe for his return, it’s now down to Campbell and Silvestre to partner Vermaelen. With both being older than they used to be (that’s the diplomatic way of putting it in Silvestre’s case), there really is no option but to play the Belgian in every single game between now and the end of the season – he is the glue that binds the defence together. He’s played 40 games this season – more than any other Arsenal player, and he’ll need to play a minimum of ten more.

Campbell has been an inspired signing, a fantastic influence off the pitch and an experienced hand on it, but he can’t be expected to play more than once a week and at 35 I think it’s safe to say that he’s creaking a touch.

Silvestre will need to step in to do his share – and he’s our fourth-choice centre-half for a good reason.

Now, if I was still in possession of my vivid green moth-eaten jumper, which as well as making me visible on the north bank to the naked eye from all corners of Highbury was an unbeaten, lucky jumper, then the solution would be to hand – I’d simply wear it between now and the end of the season and all would be well.

But my mum threw it away in 1987.

So now I just worry and hope.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Booland

    Heh. It is good that Song got a 2 game rest. I would be tempted to rest Vermaelen on Saturday and play Song in the defense.

  2. RotorGoat

    Hmmm – I suppose there is Song too. But a combo of Song and Campbell/Silvestre is not exactly tried and tested…

  3. GunnerX

    Vermaelen been brilliant for us, his style of play is ideally suited to Arsenal, and I pray he last till the season ends without any injury.

    I’d love to see Gallas back within the next couple of weeks.

  4. Niels

    Agree about the influence/importance of Vermaelen. However, Song would fill in should need be.

  5. gunnerkid

    The Verminator is made of titanium. We’ll be fine.

  6. Potter

    I’d love to see Gallas back within the next couple of weeks.

    If he don’t agree a new contract on Thursday it is more than possible that he won’t play for us again.

  7. G10

    Silvestre is worse than Denilson so I’d rather Wenger played Song at the back and drafted Denilson into midfield than using Silvestre in any capacity.

  8. irish gooner

    what a player wenger found,for 10mil is a deal and a half,if he gets injured we really are fucked,dont think he will though,would have happened by now,we cant rest him but he should be ok,we play 1 game a week these days and if campbell can do it so can super tom,already on course to be an arsenal legend!!!!!!!!

  9. Steve26

    No Voodoo magik please!
    He’s The Verminator and unless there’s a vat of molten hot metals melting somewhere I’d safely say
    he’d play without legs. Best signing this year of any team in the EPL… Toure for 14million and him with 4 left over… That’s the best bit of business since we bought and sold Le Sulk… I’m going to light a candle to protect him now!

  10. Jason

    I think he would have to play Song in the defense if Vermaelen was injured, Campbell and Silvestre would just be too slow. Let’s hope Gallas comes back soon!!

  11. Andrew

    Vermaelen is the key to our defense right now and yes if we want to win the title then we need Vermaelen fit for the rest of the season
    @ irish gooner
    Vermaelen was bought for 8 and half million with 2.5 million in addons when he plays certain number of matches for us.
    But still Vermaelen will be a future arsenal legend and his and Djourou patnership will be the best in EPL next season.

  12. Joe

    Silvestre is 5th choice, you’re forgetting about Djourou ;D

  13. Zend

    Vermaelen kind of strong player instead of drogba.. I love to watch him play as defend.. He is a very good player..

  14. Dgob

    To be honest, my ideal paring is Campbell/Vermaelen OR Campbell/Gallas. I wish the old boy were younger and could play more games as he offers us the brickwall blocker and physical presence that a Gallas/Vermaelen paring simply lacks. This latter two are too much alike and leave weaknesses in our defensive side of the game.

    However, YES my fingers are tightly crossed that the Vermanator stays injury free (along with the rest of the squad really)!

  15. Adam

    How far away is Djourou (is he back training?) and where exactly does he fit into 2010 given he’s been out so long?

  16. RotorGoat

    Good points re: Djourou. Must say I’d totally forgotten about him. He might well be fit soon but seeing how long he’s been out and given what is at stake I’d be pretty surprised if he played at all this season.

  17. Booland

    Song & Sylvester played in the carling cup against City, I think, and they were awful that day. So has to be two right foot players combo Sol and Song. But, I would rest Vermaelen a game or so when we’ve Fabregas back. He or Clichy is ought to be the captain in the absence of Fabregas, BTW.

    I think, to win the title, we will have to play Sol & Sylvester together at some stage… wenger will have to get choice of the game right for that. Don’t think we will see Gallas again, I hope I am wrong.

    JD told ATVO back in Feb that he was hoping to get back to training in 90 days or say, so he is still a month away for just the training, so don’t think we would see him this season…

    We should’ve kept Sendereos.

  18. Dgob

    Of course, I nearly forgot Djourou. His return could mean that my above suggested partnerships will see him playing the role that I assign to Campbell. It’s all looking good

  19. josh

    Agree. Am hoping that Vermaelen stays out of injuries for the rest of the season. He is a very important cog to the defence. Silvo’s defence is definitely not as steady. The important thing I like is Arsenal is peaking at the right time now. Hopefully the peaking will last for the next 8 games! Injured players are coming back and that is a boost.

  20. James Cherkoff

    Don’t worry. Vermaelen isn’t *real*. He’s been sent from the future. They just plug him in every night. 😉

  21. Botswana Gooner

    he’s got spring on his feet…I love that boy. Cracks me up everytime I see him upfield, in offensive positions, and really going at it. He’s a fun fella to watch. What a buy too this player, I dont remember missing Kolo Toure at all.

  22. Farnborough Gunner

    Sagna can play at centre back, although he hasn’t played there for some time (not since he joined Arsenal), so far from ideal, but it is an option. I’d prefer to see Song there, but I’d prefer Sol & Sagna to Sol and Silvestre, if it comes to that. Eboue is more than capable of covering right back to free up Sagna.

  23. viciz

    Vermalen is excellent for arsenal. Campbell’s been just great as a step-in CB. Just shows that we need to get another CB in the Campbell mould alongside Vermalen – solid, big and strong, warrior attitude.

  24. momoney

    Apart from his age Campbell is the best central defender we have at the club right now and a combination of him and Vermalen or Gallas should alwys be the first choice of the manager. He brings a physicality to the side that has been missing for a few seasons now and a bit more in the way of aerial challenges, teams know they cannot bully us so easy now.

  25. 433

    Vermaelen has been a brilliant player for Arsenal. It’s hard to overstate how good he’s been. He should easily be a lock in his position for end-of-season recognition in the league’s best 11.

  26. Graham

    Campbell is the only player in our team who could’ve made that challenge with zayatte and not come out worse, we need 1 or 2 players of his size and stature in the team for def medfield and centre half(yaya toure), although diaby is tall he’s not as powerful as sol or say Vieira and although bendtner is huge he’s upfront and not going into challenges like that

  27. Jack Scurvy

    Have to agree with the sentiment that having big Sol on the pitch is fast becoming very important. But The Verminator, titanium balls and all, is stalwart at the very least in our central defense. And let’s not forget his contributions elsewhere on the pitch. Yet another brilliant Wenger signing.

    Forget Gallas. He’s gone. Too bad, really. He was finding his form quite nicely.

  28. ian

    have we forgotten about djourou? will he make it by april?

  29. Sajit

    Rotor, I think this should be addressed to God, not Arsene! 🙂

    Here’s to hoping for an injury free run in.

  30. Vinnie

    I agree with those that say Sol has made a difference to us, even the Vermonator has stated how important he has been, how he is learning from
    the big one.

    James, great observation “he’s been sent from the future” it really is the only plausible explaination!!

  31. pat

    Find it hard to believe why Willy would want to leave and pass up the oportunity to win the PL and CL, but then who could have picked the way things have happened with Sol with the way he left and his return… glad to see the postings about Sol, I think he has really made the gunners tougher – his experience and positioning compensate somewhat for his lack of pace and think he has the big game temprament. Im hoping that Willy will be back and have a feeling he will be…

  32. pat

    “he’s been sent from the future”

    Vermalean to Sir Alex and Barca – “I want your clothes, your PL title and your CL trophy. And your motorcycle”

  33. Booland

    You have jinxed it! I wanted to him to have rested for this game but not this way and he will get more rest. He will miss a key away match for us. Hope it works out for us. I trust Song to step up but still can’t trust Sol. He is flying with challenges – it is good that he is attacking – but one missed and….

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