|< Previous | December 10th 2013|
Pat overlooking Mr Understated in leadership assessment.
As an Arsenal fan it is tough to have a go at someone like Patrick Vieira, a legendary figure to many a Gooner. Having stuck up for the guy for so long it goes against every fibre to write this but what Pat said about Arsenal recently was wrong and a little out of line.
Ahead of what is bound to be a fascinating documentary starring himself and Roy Keane, Vieira has been doing the usual rounds promoting the programme. Inevitably he was asked about Arsenal's super start to the season and his response may have caught a few people off guard.
The former France international played down the Gunners' chances of winning the Premier League this season, despite us Gunners being 2/1 with Paddy Power to win the league, accusing Arsene Wenger's men of lacking leadership and not knowing how to win ugly.
Given his current ties to Manchester City you might expect him to be a little frosty on a rival's title chances, but a mark might have been overstepped by the way he wrote us off.
Perhaps Vieira hasn't watched many of our games this season but if he has he might have failed to notice a certain Mathieu Flamini taking up the mantle as a leader. Perhaps one of the abiding memories of the season so far (and there have been a few!) was Flamini's return against Tottenham.
Despite having not played for the club for five years he came on at a time when Arsenal were struggling and led them to victory. He was the man directing traffic in the latter stages of the derby as Arsenal won fairly ugly.
Flamini is the archetypal shouter Arsenal have lacked in recent years, and while as a leader he isn't in the same league as Tony Adams or Vieira he has certainly proven his worth to our club already.
Vieira might not think so but Flamini is just one of a number of leaders at the Grove now. They might not be your typical captains but they provide leadership in other ways, be it Mesut Ozil's inspirational brilliance or Laurent Koscielny's unquestionable commitment.
If Arsenal are going to upset all of the football betting pundits by winning the Premier League this season they will need these types of players to stand up and be counted on a weekly basis. So far, so good on that front. Come May maybe Pat will be rethinking his foolhardy comments. Fingers crossed!
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