Patrick Vieira claims that Arsenal’s current squad of players are better footballers than the Invincibles, but don’t have the physicality to win certain matches.
The former Arsenal midfielder told the Mirror that the team isn’t lacking leaders, as many have claimed, but just doesn’t have the right balance between physical players and technical players.
Vieira explained: “If you look at Arsenal today I really enjoy watching them play, they play some really good football – but that is not enough to win football matches or to win competitions.
“But in our time we were winning and we had the strength to not play well but somehow manage to win the game 1-0.
“But you’re not going to tell me Ozil is not a leader? You’re not going to tell me Sanchez is not a leader? You’re not going to tell me Petr Cech is not a leader. There’s leaders in the team to challenge and they have the experience to win matches.
“But I think it’s just the balance between players are different. If you look at our time, we managed to win games but sometimes we didn’t play well. But we had this physicality to deal with certain situations.
“Now they are playing well, playing some really good football but they don’t win. So that means the balance between physicality and technical creativity maybe needs to be looked at.”
Even if they didn’t show it on Sunday, Arsenal do have plenty of technically capable players in the side. Granit Xhaka and Mesut Özil are two of the best passers in the league, Alexis Sanchez racked up 19 assists last season and even Alexandre Lacazette up front was making more than a chance a game for Lyon last season.
When it comes to physical players, the number drops. Per Mertesacker is a giant but hasn’t been involved and never had much pace. Sead Kolašinac has definitely brought physicality, Danny Welbeck adds it as well, but after that it’s hard to name too many others in the squad.
It’s especially a problem at the back. Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal all are good defenders, or at least have the potential to be, but none are particularly imposing. Perhaps this is something Arsenal need to address in the final days of the window.