Vieira: Arsenal suffer from lack of cohesion

Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira has blamed the Gunners's faltering title challenge on a lack of togetherness at the Emirates Stadium.

The France skipper, who spent nine years in north London, believes, manager, Arsene Wenger's latest battalion of young guns have the ability to conquer the Premier League, but currently lack the team spirit to do so.

However, the Inter Milan midfielder has backed new captain and successor to his No.4-throne, Cesc Fabregas, to rectify the situation.

"I don't know if he is the right choice (for the captaincy), but he's my choice," Vieira told "Even though he is still young I think he is the one who can bring everybody together.

"From the outside it looks like Arsenal are not together. They have not found themselves yet as a team. The strength of Arsenal has always been the team. It takes more than individual players to perform."

Despite victories over fellow title contenders Manchester United and Chelsea, Arsenal are currently fifth in the Premier League table, eight points adrift of leaders Liverpool, seven behind Chelsea and two off United, having lost five and drawn three of their opening 17 games.

In-house fighting and inconsistency have severely dented their title aspirations, while Wenger, who has won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups in 12 years with the Gunners, has come under fire for his insistence on playing flowing football and fielding an inexperienced side.

But Vieira, who joined Arsenal in 1996 from AC Milan for £3.5 million, believes the criticism is unfounded and is convinced his former club do not need to splash the cash in January.

"When you don't win year after year people start to question your job," he said, "but I don't think it is fair (criticism of Wenger) because in the last 12 years he has done a tremendous job.

"Of course new players may help them to get better as a team. What they really need at the moment is to find a togetherness‚ to be strong as a team and that will help them more than getting new players."

Vieira urged Arsenal's fans to be patient with the club's developing side and said the team are still in the hunt for the Premier League trophy.

"It's going to be difficult, but don't write them off. If the team can find a way to perform together week after week, they can fight for the title.

"When you look at Arsenal beating Manchester United and Chelsea you say of course it is possible‚ (to win the Premier League).

"It is always hard, because you need quality but money is not a guarantee of success. I think in the last few years Arsenal have been showing to everybody that you can win without spending too much. Because in the last 15 years so many players came to Arsenal, like myself, who really became somebody in football."

Arsenal now welcome, league leaders, Liverpool to the Emirates Stadium this weekend, and Vieira believes Sunday's clash with Rafa Benitez's side will make or break Arsenal's title challenge.

"It's a massive game for Arsenal because they are already eight points behind," he said. "They have to win this game if they want to keep fighting for the title."


Patrick Vieira was speaking on behalf of Ford's Feel Football programme, which engages fans in debate with Champions like Jose Mourinho, Anders Frisk, and Ruud Gullit.

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