Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira is a much-loved figure at the Emirates Stadium after his trophy-laden spell in the famous red and white, but will line up in the opposite dugout on Saturday with Crystal Palace. And the Frenchman has previously been full of praise for the man he will go head-to-head with this weekend, Mikel Arteta.
Some fans may disagree with his views given Arsenal’s mixed start to the season but Vieira is seemingly a fan of Arteta’s.
Vieira won three Premier League titles and four FA Cup medals in his time at Highbury, becoming an Arsenal great in the process.
Playing alongside legends such as Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Freddie Ljungberg and more, he is a player adored by Arsenal fans.
And Arsenal manager Arteta should be part of the adoring contingent after comments made about the Spaniard by the Senegal-born midfielder when he was at Nice.
“When you’re a Gunner, always a Gunner, so I’m watching them all the time, I watch their games,” he said back in 2020.
“What is really interesting with Arteta is that he brings the energy back and it looks like they are playing for the club, but for the manager as well, and I think that is really important.”
The quotes are over a year old, and it remains to be seen if Arsenal’s downfall over that period and Vieira’s appointment as manager at a fellow London outfit have altered his perception.
However, Vieira’s former team-mate and fellow Frenchman Thierry Henry has questioned whether Mikel Arteta has the credentials to carry Arsenal in the direction they want.
The ex-Gunners striker spoke about Arteta at the Prime Video Presents Sport convention, criticising the manager for not taking the forefront in a game they would have dominated years ago.
“I’ve seen us beating Norwich before, winning at Burnley, beating Tottenham at home – because we always beat Tottenham at home,” Henry said.
“I don’t know if things are going in the right direction. I watched the Brighton game. Did you watch it?
“I was more than happy when we beat Tottenham as we were on a good run but I was waiting to see a performance, away from home, against a team that passes the ball.
“And instead we suffered.”
Arsenal could rise as high as seventh with a win in south London as the Gunners look to qualify for European football.
Mikel Arteta’s men missed out on Europe for the first time in 26 years last season after an eighth-placed finish wasn’t enough to qualify.