A tribute as Patrick Vieira set to make a sentimental return to Arsenal

Patrick Vieira makes a sentimental return to Arsenal on Monday Night. by Dan

In tribute this week I will do articles based on our ex-skipper and review how previous Gunners have fared as managers.

While not officially Arsene Wenger’s first signing, having agreed to a contract the Frenchman advised the Gunners buy the 20-year-old he was familiar with from his days at Monaco.

It was the first of many examples of Mr Wenger using his knowledge of the European Market to steal an advantage over his competitors.

It was amazing for someone so young to settle into English Football.

In his second season the midfielder formed a partnership with Petit that would be crucial in us winning the double and culminate with France winning the World Cup.

Crucially he had walked into a dressing room of the famous back 5.

While new signings forced the likes of Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Ray Parlour, etc to follow new dietary and training methods to prolong their careers, they could bring the best out of the new faces by teaching them the club’s values.

With the likes of Keown, Seaman and Bould role modelling the standards of the badge, Vieira immediately brought into the ethos of The Arsenal.

It meant when club stalwarts retired, Vieira was ready to pass on the principles that Arsenal stood for.

That’s how such a French influence grew. Vieira would teach Henry, Pires, Wiltord, etc, everything he had been taught.

In the history of the Prem, very few foreigners would become caught up in the traditions of a club like the French Connection at Highbury.

For someone not from this country, yet alone North London, it was unique that a foreigner got caught up in the fabric of the club.

He played the North London Derby and Man United like he had a lifelong association with the Gunners.

His battles with Roy Keane are stuff of legend, almost the apex of the Premiership. Two players who played believing they were the best in their position playing for the better club.

That’s not to say his loyalty wasn’t in question.

It became a yearly tradition to spend the summer of Vieira pushing for a move away, only to change his mind at the last moment.

Often, he would cite refs in England targeting him. His disciplinary record at Arsenal reads 76 yellow cards and 8 reds.

The irony being it felt the one year there was a lack of a transfer saga Arsenal chose to sell him to Juventus.

Years later we would learn that due to building the Emirates, the club had to raise money every year to repay their loan back. At 29 this was the last chance to make money on their captain.

Therefore, fittingly Viera’s last kick in a red and white shirt won us the FA Cup.

It also signalled a change in philosophy from Arsene Wenger, replacing Vieira with the shorter and smaller built Fabregas, and from that point onwards prioritising technique over strength.

It seemed Mr Wenger’s stance was justified when Fabregas scored against Juve in the Champions League in a move that started when Vieira lost the ball.

The consensus is that we broke up the Invincibles too soon. While we missed Vieira’s experience off the pitch, in reality he was never the same player in Italy (despite winning Serie A every year) due to injury.

Having worked with him at Inter Milan, Mancini brought Vieira to Man City.

It was clear that this was for his leadership off the pitch and that he was preparing the Frenchman for life after retiring as a player.

Once retrained he transitioned into City’s Football Executive and after 4 years stayed part of the City family by taking charge of their US version in New York.

Throughout the game Vieira’s reputation was growing as a coach, with it believed he was being groomed to replace Pep Guardiola, hence why the job in the MLS was supposed to act as his apprenticeship.

While not impacting on his status, it did feel weird that another Prem team were giving him his apprenticeship and not us.

If there is one criticism, I will throw at Mr Wenger it took him too long to trust ex-players to come back and help him.

It’s been suggested that like Tony Adams, Vieira was hurt by his old boss not giving him the opportunity to return to the club, and that may have had a knock-on effect with his relationship with those in power.

When Arsenal were shortlisting to replace Emery, Vieira was disrespected not to be offered an interview, even though he had more experience then Arteta and who like the Spaniard used to captain us.

Any ill-feeling doesn’t exist now with Vieira publicly saying how classy it was of his old boss to ring him after he was sacked by Nice.

It was Mr Wenger who gave Vieira a very strong reference to Steve Parish.

Don’t underestimate how managing in the Prem could be in terms of Vieira being our next manager.

Sometimes this sport is about being in the right place at the right time.

If Arteta were to finish outside the top 6 for the third year running and they looked across the capital seeing a club icon doing well, it would make sense to ask the question. Especially with the club clearly now open to hiring ex-players.

They hired Arteta purely because he played for the Arsenal.

Vieira not just played for us, he was the face of the most successful period in our history.

Monday will be only the third time a Gunner who played for us in the Prem faces us in the League as a manager.

David O’Leary took teams to Highbury, Tony Adams was in the opposite dug out at the Emirates, while we faced Remi Garde at Villa Park, but he was sacked by the time the return fixture came about.


Be Kind in The Comments


Tags Invincibles Vieira


  1. I am sure he will get a great reception from Arsenal fans on Monday next.By coincidence, I think I might have seen the new Viera in a French shirt last night in the young midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni of Monaco.Great skill, power and pace and has the versatility to play as a DM or a box to box midfielder.Wanted by Juventus, Chelsea and Liverpool and highly regarded by none other than Cesc Fabregas.Aged 21, 6’2″ ” and cost Monaco only 18m Euro.Another one who has apparently escaped the Arsenal scouting net.

    1. Grandad, I was MOST impressed yesterday, by 17 year old Gavi playing for Spain. HE looks to be the next real world superstar, IMO.

      1. I agree Jon.Isn’t it refreshing to see a 17 year old being given an opportunity by the Spanish Manager. If the lad was with a Premier League Club he would almost certainly be loaned out for 2/3 years.As the old saying goes” if your good enough, your old enough”

  2. Being an “invincible” in itself, brings a certain aura with it.

    But for those who have supported Arsenal since that era, and for the many of us who have been following for decades prior to that , here is a player that certainly deserves the “legend” tag.

    Simply put, for me one of the greatest players I have ever seen don the famous red & white.

    A standing ovation assured.

    Then down to business.

  3. Two classy captains, now managing teams. Good luck to Pat as always when he takes on other teams. Mikel & men will get us the desired result.Pat has the better striker, we have the better team. Good luck to AFC!

  4. Sometimes I look back to those good old day and say the likes of Thierry ,viera and Les prof conned me into supporting Arsenal. But man I really enjoyed it and I have fond memories of that terrific beauty of soccer rivalry

    1. One time the great Thierry scored and I did his signature celebration on a carpet. I still have scars on both knees.

  5. Those were the good times when Vieira was the captain. Vieira understand Arsenal culture more than Arteta. He should come back to rejuvenate the Arsenal trade mark in terms of style of play

      1. Arteta’s high ball possession tactics are obviously biased towards the left side with our LB as our main winger and crosser, similar to Wenger’s and Guardiola’s

        The differences are Wenger had Giroud as our main pivot in the front line and Guardiola’s positional play is much better due to his more technical players

    1. Me too👌
      For what he represents in his playing times with Arsenal as the best DM we ever had I guess, his midfielder will play physical and with grits. But tactically Arteta should have the edge considering his coaching experience with Peo G.

      Been a derby I guess Arsenal would win narrowly or a draw. A draw bcos Arteta is yet to know what to expect from Viera.

      1. Me too Gai👌
        For what he represents in his playing days with Arsenal as the best DM we ever had, I guess his midfielders will play physical and with grits. But tactically, Arteta should have the edge considering his coaching experience with PeP G.

        Considering it’s a derby I guess ,Arsenal would win narrowly or get a draw. A draw bcos Arteta is yet to know what to expect from Viera.

        1. Vieira is lucky to have towering CFs at his disposal and Benteke used to dominate the big Mavropanos

          Benteke, Edouard and Mateta would likely win some crucial duels against Magalhaes/ White, so we need to control the tempo and avoid excessive long goal kicks. Luckily, our supporters could improve our players’ motivations at the Emirates

          1. With Tomi in there I think 3 of them would compete well at d back aerialy. Crystal Palace are not really a technical side but they can be compact. In this kind of match I would prefer MN instead of Lokonga if Arteta use a 4-2-3-1 firmation. We have have not win Crystal Palace in a while at the Emirate Stadium. My guess is d game will be difficult but we can play to the strength of our pacey players to hurt them.

      2. Silva, Patrick Viera was the box to box midfielder. Gilberto Silva, recognised as one of the most underrated players ever at Arsenal, was the DM.

  6. Aside of his emotional return to the Emirates Stadium. But this time as the team manager of a PL club side. I think Mikel Arteta should become full alerted and be careful to the danger that Patrick Viera pose to him to not allow his Gunners team fall to his match winning plan of playing his Eagles team to decimate Arsenal with a match win in the PL on Monday night.

    For, if Arteta fails to come up with a superior game plan for the match that’s far above that which Viera has as offer in the game, Arsenal could be caught playing to another draw game in successive PL match or even lost the match.

  7. It’s the present vs the future . Without much much quality and finance , I believe Viera is the better Manager , I see him building a Liverpool FC esque team i.e playing with precision and passion. Good luck to Viera I must say .

  8. My view on Vieira is that of course, and like all Gooners, I LOVE HIM. But right now it is still far too soon to judge his long term effectiveness as a Prem manager.

    BUT I see no vacancy at our club for the foreseeable future, so IF Vieira ever becomes our manager, it may well be a very long way off as yet. More probably, it will never happen, IMO.

    1. But IF he fails, then kronkie will not bankroll him again, in my opinion.

      Patrick was to me, the perfect example of a Arsenal man and I couldn’t put a cigarette paper between them.
      Our club has never had such a player as him and he was head and shoulders above Kean, who should never have been allowed back in to the football arena, after his GBH and deliberate tackle.

      I also believe he was most certainly targeted by referees under Riley.

      Arsene did find his replacement in Diaby, but that ended in another x rated tackle.

      Welcome home Patrick, I look forward to singing YOUR song come Monday evening.

  9. Change of ownership, touched upon above.

    The St Louis v NFL / Owners (Kroenke) case is nearing a head.

    The latest.

    At the end of September the judge ruled that that Kroenke must submit certain “personal financial documents” that to date have not been called for (pretty much as in the Trump impeachment trial).

    Failure to do so, will result in a fine of 1,000 USD a day (chicken feed to Stanley).

    It is not clear whether said documents have indeed been submitted as yet.

    Fast forward.

    The smart money is on an out of court settlement prior to January 2022.

    The legal experts estimate this will cost an estimated 1 billion USD.

    In the absence of an O o C settlement, the trial will open in January 2022.

    Stanley will almost certainly be called to testify.

    If found against in open court (in terms of not adhering to the NFL’s relocation policy, amongst other charges levied by the City of St Louis), the all up cost to the NFL / Owners (Kroenke) could amount to as much as 10 billion USD – as mentioned above this by the time the City of St Louis have claimed punitive damages on top of whatever finding the court bring to bear regarding the actual flouting of the “relocation” rules.

    I’m still scratching around to discover as to who will be liable for the majority of the cost if found against – the NFL or the owners (Kroenke).

    In any case, Kroenke will undoubtedly be liable for a colossal financial set back (even in his world) if the case goes to court and goes against him.

    Surely he will sell Arsenal if losing a possible court case, and will even the O o C figure of circa 1 billion make him think very hard indeed.

    Come January we may be in for some very, very “interesting” news.

    1. I knew nothing of all this AJ.
      So I pray it leads to him being forced to sell us.
      Common sense tells me this will , despite my ignorance of it, be common knowledge to any would be serious purchaser of our club and so yes, it will be interesting!

      Exciting and hopefully wonderful news too.

  10. Patrick Viera just didn’t come to a club with a great back five, but also had Ian Wright and Dennis Bergkamp.
    Welcome back Patrick.

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