Pires: Arsenal deserve to be league champions

It has been 11 years since Arsene Wenger led Arsenal to his third Premier League title.

The Frenchman has overseen a fine run with Arsenal having won nine of their past 10 league matches - leaving them seven points adrift of leaders Chelsea having played a game more.

Pires, who made 284 Arsenal appearances between 2000 and 2006, says the club have been worthy of ending their wait for a league title, but a failure to consistently compete against the best teams has been their downfall.

"It's tough and frustrating for the fans. Every time, Arsenal is close," Pires told Perform. "It's because of the important games that you can't lose, against Chelsea, [Manchester] City and [Manchester] United.

"But this is the difference. Because against the smaller teams, sometimes there is a misstep or an accident. 

"In my opinion, this year, Arsenal deserved to be champion, and they won't be far away.

"[But] I think, once more, there will be some little regrets at the end of the season

Pires, who won the Premier League and FA Cup twice during his stay at Arsenal, believes that the 2-1 victory at Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals was a huge statement of intent.

The holders triumphed 2-1 at Old Trafford and Pires suggests the momentum from that win will prove crucial in their attempt to finish in the top three.

"The win [against Manchester United] will be good for them, because except Arsenal fans, not many people expected them to reach the next round," he added. 

"So it was a great moment, they dominated Manchester, away at Old Trafford. It can help them finish in the top three because we're talking about momentum, yes it was a FA Cup game, but now the confidence is here and it can help you finish strongly the Premier League.

"And you have to notice that usually, Arsenal finish strongly, they're always there for the final sprint."

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