Arsenal have the 'guts' to finish season strongly says Sol Campbell


Click to follow
The Independent Football

Arsenal legend Sol Campbell feels the Gunners have shown the "guts" needed to finish their Barclays Premier League on a high.

Thomas Vermaelen swept home a dramatic stoppage-time winner to beat Newcastle on Monday night, which was a fifth straight victory for Arsene Wenger's side, having come from behind four times in a row.

Arsenal have surged back up into the Champions League places and are now just a point behind arch-rivals Tottenham, whom they beat 5-2 on February 26.

It is a series of displays - also including a 3-0 win over AC Milan in Europe which went some way to making up for the first leg 4-0 defeat in Italy - which have left Campbell believing his old club can end a difficult campaign with a positive finish.

"The lads have shown a lot of spirit. You have to get a bit of the rub of the green, but that tends to come when you start being bolder on the pitch," former Gunners skipper Campbell, part of the 2003/2004 Invincibles side, told Arsenal Player at a Show Racism The Red Card event at Emirates Stadium.

"Gamble on your skill, gamble in the box, gamble in thinking: 'I am going to try this'. Start gambling your talent, basically.

"The more you bust a gut to win, the more you are going to see the crowd feed off that.

"You make your own luck, and against Newcastle there was a little deflection for the winning goal and the ball came to Vermaelen, but he was there because he busted a gut to get into the box."

Campbell, 37, returned to his old club for a short spell during 2010, and feels current skipper Robin van Persie is leading by example.

He said of the 33-goal Dutchman: "Robin Van Persie is flying and banging in goals left, right and centre. Everyone is starting to gel and realising what it means to play for Arsenal.

"That level of confidence and class is what they should be aiming for all the time.

"Sure, sometimes you won't reach that level but you have to work out how to grind out a result, or shut the game down. That is a learning curve."

Campbell won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups with Arsenal after moving from Spurs in 2001. The former England centre-half feels Wenger's latest generation can deliver some long-overdue silverware if they continue with the same work ethic.

"Hard graft and talent go hand in hand. There are not many top players around the world who don't work on their skill," Campbell said.

"Being responsible on and off the field is crucial. Everyone likes to have a great time but it is about realising: 'I want to win the league or the cup, so I have to knuckle down here'.

"You have to make sure you don't waste your career and actually work hard and be a part of history."

Brazil full-back Andre Santos is working on his match fitness following three months out with a broken ankle.

The 29-year-old was an unused substitute against Newcastle on Monday, but did get an hour of competitive action under his belt for the reserves in their 3-0 win over West Brom at Underhill last night.

Santos could now be in contention to start the next Premier League match, which comes at Everton on Wednesday following a free weekend because of FA Cup action.

"I am very happy to be playing again because it has been a long time," Santos told

"I feel good and I hope to be able to play next week at Everton.

"It has been a difficult time because my ankle was in pain and I didn't feel good, but now it feels good again and I am very happy to be back."

Santos added: "I am really pleased the team have been doing so well.

"The displays have been strong, the spirit is good and we have 10 games left so we must finish well."