• Premier League

Arsenal lack a Tony Adams-like leader - Vieira

ESPN staff
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Vieira spent nine years at Arsenal, winning three league titles and three FA Cups © PA Photos
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Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira has suggested his old club lack the leadership required to last the pace in this season's Premier League title race.

Arsenal opened up a five point lead on the chasing pack last weekend after a 1-1 home draw with Everton, yet they face potentially season defining fixtures against Manchester City and Chelsea in the coming weeks.

Now former midfield talisman Vieira has cast doubt over their abilities to fight their way to victories on days when they are not at their best, as he suggested Arsene Wenger's men may be exposed when the going gets tough.

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"When you look at Arsenal, they play fantastic football, but sometimes you need to win games playing badly and I don't think Arsenal are capable of that at the moment," said Vieira, in an ITV documentary that will be screened in the UK on Tuesday night.

"Maybe there is a lack of leadership. They don't have a Tony Adams, Martin Keown or Sol Campbell. These are players who can be leaders on or off the field."

Vieira goes on to suggest he was disappointed at the manner of his departure from the north London club, with his sale to Juventus pushed through after he lifted the FA Cup in Cardiff back in 2005, in what proved to be the club's most recent trophy success.

"I had no idea that Cup Final would be my last game, I wasn't thinking about leaving at all," stated the former French midfielder, who now works on the coaching staff at Manchester City.

"The club didn't really fight to keep me or ask me to stay. I was really close to leaving for Real Madrid the year before, the deal was done between the two clubs, but I wanted to finish my career at Arsenal."

Vieira's comments are unlikely to be welcomed by his former boss Arsene Wenger, who has previously claimed to have a warm relationship with his former skipper.

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