Vermaelen Arsenal place at risk

The Guardian reports Belgian ace Thomas Vermaelen is not guaranteed a recall to the Arsenal side for today’s trip to Swansea City, despite being the club captain.

Vermaelen’s form has been shaky of late, and Arsene Wenger dropped him for last Wednesday’s night UEFA Champions League tie in Munich, opting to pair up Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny instead.

The duo impressed in the 2-0 victory for the Gunners, which wasn’t enough to stop them exiting the competition on away goals, but prevented the Bavarians from scoring in any competition for the first time this season.

Wenger is mulling over sticking with Koscielny and Mertesacker for the visit to Wales against a Swansea side who have only been beaten twice at home all campaign.

Another play dropped was Wojciech Szczesny and the goalkeeper might be left out again against the Swans in favour of Lukasz Fabianski.

When asked about Vermaelen’s selection due to his skipper status, Wenger admitted: “Who is a captain and a leader shouldn’t guarantee you a place in any team.

“In England its true…the captaincy is of massive importance but for purely sporting reasons, or tactical reasons in the game, when you don’t think it is the right selection, do you put the player in just as he is captain?

“That is disrespectful to the guy who doesn’t play. For sporting reasons, it is not completely justifiable.”

He also praised Koscielny, who has had fitness issues, and was dismissed after only 10 minutes in a rare start against Manchester City in January.

“He was outstanding against Bayern. He has shown a bit more authority than usual, and when he does that, he gets his qualities completely out.

“He got a calf injury in our final pre-season game in Cologne and it took him a long, long time to come back and he has had many setbacks through the season.”

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