When Arsene Wenger decided to drop Thomas Vermaelen and Wojciech Szczesny from the Arsenal squads for the games against Bayern Munich and then Swansea, you would have thought from the media reaction that he had sentenced the pair to exile. That was it, the papers claimed, they will never play again. They must be heartbroken and will both be leaving the Emirates this summer!!!
I don’t really know why there was such a fuss, managers drop players all the time for all sorts of reasons. In fact, Wenger is more loyal to his players and less likely to tinker with his team than most. Perhaps that is why it seemed like such a big deal, but the players themselves seem to have accepted it.
Szczesny has issued a statement today apologizing for his father’s ill-judged comments and vowing to do whjat it takes to get back in the team, while Vermaelen has accepted the situation, admitted that he has not been at his best and denied that he has any interest in leaving Arsenal.
“As a professional footballer you know this is a possibility. I’m not worried. It is also only the last two games. For the rest of the season I played almost all the time, about 35 matches.” Vermaelen said.
“Also, Arsenal is not a bad team you know, of course there is competition. I have indeed made mistakes. If I’d played all the games flawlessly, I would have been Messi.
“My focus is on Arsenal. It is far from the end of the season. I’ve learned in football not to look too far ahead. From Barcelona I have not heard anything.”
I doubt if Wenger would have made Vermaelen his captain last summer if he was not confident about the player, but he dropped him purely for form reasons. The Belgian can expect even more competition next season, so he will have to get used to it and make sure his performance levels stay high.