Arsenal news: Arsene Wenger's men are too soft to win the Premier League, says former midfielder Patrick Vieria

The Frenchman helped the Gunners lift three top-flight titles between 1996-2005

Samuel Stevens
Monday 22 August 2016 11:30
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Arsene Wenger and Patrick Vieria won three Premier League titles together in north London
Arsene Wenger and Patrick Vieria won three Premier League titles together in north London

Patrick Vieira has questioned Arsenal’s mental strength after the stalemate with champions Leicester City cut them five points adrift of the Premier League summit just two weeks into the new season.

The Frenchman, now manager of New York City, helped the Gunners lift three top-flight titles between 1996-2005 but Arsene Wenger’s side have not been crowned champions since the ‘Invincibles’ went an entire season undefeated 12 years ago.

Wenger, whose contract expires at the Emirates Stadium next summer, again faced furious calls from the club’s supporters to spend money in the transfer market following the draw with Leicester on Saturday.

Vieira, speaking to the Daily Mirror this weekend, said: “In our generation we had some fantastic players with the ball but the majority of the players were quite physically strong. “We had Dennis Bergkamp, who had the flair, and Thierry Henry who could finish and had so much power, but also players who were athletic with the physical aspect like Sol Campbell, some really strong personalities with Jens Lehmann, David Seaman or the back four.

“You had this Arsenal Invincibles which was quite like the French national team when we won the World Cup in 1998, when we had physical players, players with flair, players with pace, it was quite similar of that team.”

The 40-year-old sees few parallels between that side of yesteryear and Wenger’s latest crop with accusations of softness never too far away. The Gunners succumbed to a damaging 4-3 defeat by Liverpool on the opening weekend and now face a tense trip to Watford before the first international break of the season.

“Now when I watch the Arsenal I will enjoy watching them play, they play some of the best football in the league. But I have a feeling that they are missing something and this something is the physical presence, the personality.

“This last five-six years Arsenal went more with this type of mobile, technical players who are completely different. Arsenal are always going to be one of the teams who can win the title because of the way they play but at the same time they will be disappointed losing games they should win.”

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