"Thomas has everything I like in a footballer. He doesn't talk a lot but he is convincing on the pitch. He is a competitor, a fighter."
- Arsene Wenger, on Tommy Vermaelen
There's certainly something unsettling about Vermaelen. Maybe it's the combination of the shaved head and the pasty white skin. Maybe it's the dull, heavy-set eyebrows. Maybe it's because the only possible nickname for Vermaelen is "The Verminator". Whatever the case, Tommy Vermaelen certainly looks fearsome.
And now, Wenger thinks Vermaelen's a fighter.
We need some fighters in the Arsenal side. The Man City game had Adebayor stamping on Cesc's ankle and stamping on van Persie's face. The Man Utd game had Darren Fletcher acting like a nuisance. It's been a while since we had a no-nonsense enforcer on the field, and if Vermaelen can fulfill that role, I'll be happy.
Then again, we've heard this kind of talk before. A couple of weeks ago, Cesc came out and said we weren't going to be kicked around anymore. And then Man City came along, and Adebayor tried to maim two of our players, and nothing much happened. You'd think that if Adebayor was confronted with Vieira, Adams, Keown and the like, he wouldn't have tried it. Hell, if he was confronted by Freddie Ljungberg, he wouldn't have tried it. But since he's up against Cesc and Song and Denilson, he knows he can get away with violent, malicious tackles.
So, we need a fighter in the team. Maybe. Truth be told, I'm a bit cynical about Wenger's quotes to the media. They're not his real thoughts. He just uses the media to speak to his own players. So when he called Eboue his "Pass Master", he's telling Eboue that he's not all bad. When he says that Diaby is simply brilliant, he's telling Diaby to keep the faith. And when he says that Vermaelen's a fighter, he's telling Vermaelen that he'd better wear his steel-capped boots and brass knuckles to matches from now on.
What I'd really like to see is if we could bulk up Theo Walcott and turn him into a dirty, snarling, cheating, thieving Englishman. Just like Robbie Savage. Think about it. He'd be unscrupulous enough to pick fights with players twice his size, and then fast enough to run away. And if that works, we could turn Nasri, Arshavin and Vela into miniature Robbie Savages as well. We'd be the most terrifying team in England.
It's a combination that can't be beat.
Anyway, Standard Liege is comming up, either tommorrow morning or Thursday morning. I'm not sure. I think SBS is showing it on replay at 8:00am, so maybe I could watch it at a sensible hour on the TV this time around. Wouldn't that be a treat?