Arsenal vs Leicester City: Gilberto Silva challenges former club to play well in 'crucial games' and win the title

The former Gunners holding midfielder believes Arsene Wenger's side should keep their wits about them against the Foxes

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The Independent Football

Former Arsenal holding midfielder Gilberto Silva believes his old club can win the Premier League title but only if they play well in "crucial games".

The Gunners’ title challenge had looked to be on the wane until they ended a streak of four winless games with victory at Bournemouth last Sunday.

Arsene Wenger’s men remain five points behind surprise league leaders Leicester City, who travel to the Emirates Stadium this weekend on the back of their own impressive away win at the Etihad.

The meeting could prove decisive for both teams in their respective title challenges, but the Brazilian is confident that his old club can overcome Claudio Ranieri’s free-scoring Foxes, provided they keep their wits about them.

“I think Arsenal can win the league but that depends how well they do in the crucial games,” said Gilberto Silva, speaking exclusively to 888sport. “Leicester is one of them and from now on every point Arsenal drop will make Leicester believe more.

“It’s important for Arsenal to have a very defensive mind considering what Leicester can do. They must mark well throughout the whole field from the guys up front to the midfield protecting the back four.

“They must close the space because we all know what a great job [Jamie] Vardy has done this season. That starts from the front and it is important to mark well as a team.”

Silva also praised for Francis Coquelin, the club’s current first-choice holding midfielder, who he believes could playa pivotal part in the final third of the season.

The 24-year-old has risen through the ranks at the Emirates over the course of the past year, adding some much-needed aggression to Arsenal’s midfield and earning favorable comparisons with his Brazilian predecessor along the way.

“He is improving game by game and from last season to this one he is much better,”  said Silva. “He is getting to know his position well and that’s important because his role is to allow those up front to play while protecting the back four. He will be very important for Arsenal in the final third of the season.

He is proving himself over and over and I hope he is at Arsenal for a long period because for any team to have a player who is willing to do the hard job then it makes it harder for the opposition to pass through your defence.”

Read the full 888sport interview with Gilberto Silva here and find out why he is not ruling out Patrick Vieira returning to Arsenal.