Young guns can match 'Invincibles'

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

Jim van Wijk
Thursday 25 March 2010 01:00
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Sol Campbell says the current Arsenal squad can replicate the form of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira et al
Sol Campbell says the current Arsenal squad can replicate the form of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira et al

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.

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