Arsène Wenger says it's hard to change his current centre-back pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.

Captain Thomas Vermaelen has sat on the bench for every Premier League game since his return from injury, although he did lead Arsenal to a dramatic Capital One Cup win at West Bromwich Albion.

Wenger remains a huge fan of the 27-year-old defender, describing his attitude as "fantastic".

I named him [Thomas] captain because he is a player you rate and a player with good behaviour as well

Arsène Wenger

"Vermaelen is my captain so I rate him but it's difficult to change the current pair," said Wenger. "Unfortunately when you have 20 good players, nine good players don't play.

"That is the job of the players, to compete. We are in a job where you have to be ready when you are needed."

The Arsenal manager stands by his decision to make Vermaelen captain when Robin van Persie departed in the summer of 2012.

"The big players want to be with big players; the disadvantage of being with big players is that you are not that sure you play," said Wenger.

"I named him [Thomas] captain because he is a player you rate and a player with good behaviour as well. He is a top guy with a fantastic attitude."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Isaac Moore 18 Oct 2013