By 90Min
September 26, 2019

As an onlooker, when eyeing up a squad you tend to know straight away who in the side is capable of leading the team through thick and thin. Whether it's based purely on physical stature, or their past successes on the pitch, there's normally a select few who you reckon could marshal the army.

Not at Arsenal. 

Fans of the club have had their say on who should be in charge on the pitch, however, the one person whose job is it to determine that role can't even choose that himself, instead picking a pool of five players instead. 

Last season's pool of five players included Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech and Aaron Ramsey, but with those three now departed, Emery is still to pinpoint the players capable of taking over the mantle - six matches into the Premier League season.

The ongoing farce has taken another twist, however, as Rob Holding revealed the Spaniard asked his squad to vote for their picks for the position.

"He likes his five captains. We all did a vote the other week so we’ll see what happens and see who gets named,” the Englishman said, via the Standard.

“It was just write names down and then give them to the manager and he will go through them obviously with his input and we’ll see what happens. I have no idea [when an announcement will be made], but there is a lot of leaders in that team who are helping each other out and pushing each other on."

One of the more prominent criticisms of Arsenal over the last decade has been the distinct lack of leadership in the squad. From the likes of William Gallas to Mikel Arteta, their qualities as players are not the issue, moreover, are they in the same ilk of the likes Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira? Nah, try again.

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While he's hardly going to speak out against his boss, especially as he looks to return to the side after a lengthy lay-off, Holding insisted it is a method that he favours, with shared responsibility across a number of players. 

"Now that we’ve got these five captains that the manager has brought in it’s spreading the leadership group rather than having one person to dictate it," he added.

“You’re getting more input, it’s generating a good environment.” 

Well, that's all well and good, if that is indeed the preferred methods of Emery and not just a case making do with what he has. But, if he is to appoint five captains, then it most certainly should not take a whole month and a half to do so. 

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Nacho Monreal took over the duties at the beginning of the season, but since his departure the mantle has fallen on Granit Xhaka. The Swiss has underperformed so far this season, with his relationship with the fans deteriorating after his substitution against Aston Villa was met with ironic cheers.

Holding claims this isn't the emotion in the dressing room, however: “I love Granit in the changing room. I think he is great. He is really switched on to people being late, people using the phones. He is quick to dishing out the fines," he insisted.

“I think he is a great leader and just another positive person to have in the changing room. He is very sort of demanding and makes demands of us. He puts accountability on ourselves, which is important as a leader.”

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Emery previously confirmed he plans to announce his new captains in the aftermath of Arsenal's win over Nottingham Forest, and, with Manchester United to come on Monday, an announcement is expected soon.

David Luiz, Holding himself, Alexandre Lacazette and Bernd Leno are all in the frame, but the young centre-back is hopeful his name will be called out at the eventual reveal, explaining it would be an 'honour' to hold the captain's armband - having been given it for the first time against Forest.

He concluded: “I would love to be a captain and being captain of Arsenal is unbelievable. It would be a great feeling. We will see what happens in the next couple of weeks. If I get it, then I’ll be more than happy and honoured to do it.”

It must be said, however, that this method is wrong. So, so wrong. 

Having five captains in the side poses more questions than answers. Firstly, the clear lack of one out-and-out leader speaks volumes of the squad's character, as the qualities of a captain are all about leading by example and taking the flak when things go wrong - something this crop of players fail to do.

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Secondly, if you as the manager can't see which player(s) in your squad can wear the armband, then it both puts your managerial qualities into question, as Emery can be viewed to be somewhat indecisive.

Thirdly, the fact that if this really is the plan Emery has going forward, then it should never have taken this long to actually pick the leadership group. He should have known at the beginning who was worthy, and if not, should have signed someone in the window who was. Have you ever heard of such a setup before Emery came to Arsenal? No, neither have I.

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