Written by Peter King Oloo on Thursday, 13 September 2012 19:43
This ain’t in anyway mean’t to disrespect the current generation of footballers, or the current captain of The Arsenal- who i personally think is the best man for the job since (you guessed it) PATRICK VIEIRA.
I’ve been watching too much you tube videos lately, especially of Vieira and all those who made Arsenal one of the most feared footballing institutions in the world, and certainly the most feared in the English Premier League. That I am still kinda stuck in that time alone says I am missing something- & it ain’t just trophies!! You see, back in the days when Arsenal run the Premier League (may those days return tenfold), there were individuals who made sure that the status quo was well broadcast…. Individuals who made us as fans feel safe even in the face of a Billionaire take over at Chelsea. Today, the team is as good as they come-yes! But it’s unlikely to make me feel any safer. The one constant from back in the day remains Arsene himself & I keep wondering if it will ever be possible for him to assemble another team full of too much character, ARROGANCE, DEFIANCE and charm, full of leaders before he departs the stage! I miss all of them, from David Seaman/ Jens Lehmann, Big Sol, through Patrick Vieira/ Gilberto/ Pires to Denis Bergkamp & the BRONZE STATUE D ONE! They never were known as bottlers, certainly not as much as the latest Dutch mercenary (may his name be expunged from the Arsenal record books). Vieira led the team best when it's morale was lowest, and the memory of him emerging from the tunnel against Man U in 2004 with all of his right leg plastered due to injury is the most abiding in my memory of his endurance. They led Arsenal in combat in a generation that had some of the finest players to grace the premiership e.g Roy Keane, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, and yes- unbelievable as it may sound- there was a time when Didier Drogba was always soiled yet without the points to show against Arsenal!!
The inspiration of this article is not to spark debate, it’s just my little musings- much like a little boy’s wishes that the next Christmas finds his wealthy uncle at daddy’s and in his best moods. Watching the Patrick Vieira Vs. Roy Keane sparring videos, I realized that we no longer got a player capable of mixing charm and confidence in one sentence like in this video; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_thjxzj9ASU The kind of confidence to let even the bravest of them all know who the daddy is even before a game! The man may be stuck somewhere amongst the Man City staff, despised by some previously adoring Arsenal fans while still revered by many more, but one thing is for sure, it appears that what stands between the current team and the invisibles ain’t talent or height, it’s all about character. All Arsene has to do is find that crop again, or mould those he has to that level & we will run this league again. If this team can ever muster the kind of defiance and arrogance of it’s early 00s & late 90s, then I believe we can achieve even CL success.
Arsenal remains perhaps the only big four team devoid of bullies. Man U have the aging Ferdinand, Evra, & Wayne Rooney always offering up bullying sound bites before games; Chelsea has the apparently likeable John Terry, Lampard & previously Didier Drogba while Man City Have the brash Balotelli, & errr… ahem, some dude called Patrick Vieira doing the job. What does Arsenal have to offer? A couple of good boy quotes and we are ready to go. Football may have evolved a thousand fold since that last Patrick Vieira kick back in 2005 but one thing has remained constant- the bullying.
Every successful team has mustered it, while Arsenal has somehow let go of it. Is it a result of the quick disbandment of the greatest footballing team of the Premier League era? Maybe! But it’s a mentality that needs to be re-introduced and pretty soon. I am no doomsayer, I actually believe this season we will win our first trophy since those days, but that will be on account of our excellent looking Captain, & our best signing- Steve Bould. Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud & Santi Cazorla look capable of exhibiting that arrogant character, but will they be allowed to?
We need the days of Patrick Vieira… they had better return quickly because this is a team that should be ruling Europe, and also, every manager who ever comes after Arsene should learn from his single greatest mistake- Never disband a successful team! You should be wary of careless transitions. They should then take any such pages on transition straight out of Sir Alex’s books.
Thanks a mill,
Mean Lean's Response
All this team needs is self belief and an injury free run of games. I say injury free, I'd settle for not having one section of our squad complete savaged for months.
For the first time in a few years, this squad has everything it needs to be competitive.
The team of 2003/04 not only had talent but they had unbelievable self confidence in their own ability as well as their team mates ability. They had a few years of getting it wrong together and then having a the next season to learn from those mistakes, both the players and manager. Recent teams haven't had that continuity as parts of the team kept moving and kept changing.
We now have a wonderful mixture of top class experience as well as very talented youngsters. I don't believe that this bullying type of player or indeed character is needed. I don't think it is in fact at all important to the success of a team these days.
Looking back at Manchester City last season for example who won the league and they had no such player amongst them. The great Barcelona team of recent years as well as Spain, they are just talented hard workers. A strong team ethic on top of great footballers is all that you need to win silverware and while early days so far, I think we have both aspects. At least I hope we have.
Hugely looking forward to the big game on Sunday. It's going to have to be a brave, chest stuck out performance if we are to get a positive result. We certainly have the players to do it.
Fancy writing your own articles for fellow Gooners to read? Click Your Vision section.