Young guns can match 'Invincibles'

Sol Campbell calls on Arsenal team-mates to deliver first title since 2004

Veteran defender Sol Campbell has called on his young Arsenal team-mates to make sure they are not just remembered for their pretty football - and to deliver a first Premier League title since the "Invincibles" of 2003/2004.

The Gunners are very much in the title race, just two points behind leaders Manchester United, heading into the final seven matches of the campaign. With a glamour Champions League quarter-final tie against Barcelona also on the horizon, there is every reason for Arsenal fans to believes Arsène Wenger's men can return a first trophy in five years.

Campbell – part of that FA Cup-winning squad at Cardiff in 2005 – believes the current side, led by captain Cesc Fabregas, have the all the talent needed to do just that.

"The lads are playing really well and I am sure with their talent, they can play even better," said the 35-year-old former Gunners captain, who rejoined the club on a short-term deal during January.

"However, playing fantastic football all the time is great, but ultimately it is about what you can get out of your career. Young players have to realise pretty quickly that it is not about one game, but how you perform over the whole season."

Campbell added: "It is a youthful team and has to learn quickly at this time of the season, because the games come thick and fast – once a game has gone, it is gone. If you win, you have to get your feet straight back on the ground and grind out another win. You can enjoy the moment, but remain level-headed and always think ahead to the next challenge."

Campbell feels the current squad are starting to get the same vibe as the one which swept all before them with the likes of Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry.

"Every team has it own kind of frequency, and obviously there were different players [when I left] in 2006," the centre-half said. "Now the lads are young, enthusiastic and blessed with a lot of skill and talent. They have a lot of spirit and belief too, like the team before. The belief has definitely started to come, and everyone can feel it. The manager often talks about belief, but it takes time for it to sink in and for people to really believe."

After Arsenal failed in their bid to have Thomas Vermaelen's red card against West Ham overturned, the Belgium centre-back will now be suspended for Saturday's trip to Birmingham.

Wenger has already suggested he was concerned over Campbell's ability to play so many matches in quick succession, the veteran having had to fill in for injured William Gallas on a regular basis over the past seven games.

Cameroon midfielder Alex Song dropped back into defence for the second half against the Irons, and produced a composed display. Former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre is ready to play, which gives Wenger another option if he wanted to rest Campbell ahead of the Barcelona game at Emirates Stadium next week.

While the pre-match hype continues ahead of the clash against the Catalan giants, now with former captain Henry among their ranks, one player who is not getting carried away with any headlines is Andrei Arshavin. The Russia playmaker maintains the language barrier ensures he cannot see what all the fuss is about.

"I do not understand English very well, so I do not understand what is written in the newspapers," Arshavin said. "I am just focused on my preparation and performance in the games, that is it. For me, there is no pressure."

Meanwhile, reports in Italy suggest Internazionale are ready to launch a big-money move for Fabregas, with a £36m player-plus-cash deal including Italy Under-21 star Mario Balotelli.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there