Gael Clichy explains why Arsenal could never replace Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira celebrates scoring a goal for Arsenal
Vieira was a leader at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Gael Clichy has admitted Arsenal found it impossible to replace Patrick Vieira when he left the club.

Vieira was Arsene Wenger’s right-hand man, captain at the club, spending nine years at Arsenal and winning three Premier League titles.

Clichy played with Vieira for two years and the pair were part of the Invincible’s squad which went undefeated in the league in the 2003/2004 season.

Vieira joined Juventus in 2005 and Clichy explained why Arsenal struggled to replace the midfielder and the influence he commanded over the squad.

‘Patrick was someone who, when he was on the pitch in training, I felt pressure,’ Clichy told Arsenal’s In Lockdown podcast.

‘Not because he was shouting at young players or because he was demanding too much, but just because of his charisma and the way he was.

‘He was the guy putting in tackles and training as hard as anybody else so as a young player you have two ways of seeing this.

Arsenal FC 'Iconic' Archive
Vieira set the standard in training (Picture: Getty)

‘Either you say, ‘Wow this guy is the captain of the club, has won this, won that, if he is training like this I cannot do less. I will not be better than him because quality is quality but in terms of commitment and hard work, I have to match that.’

‘Then you have those players who will think, “If this guy is behaving like this there’s no way I can catch him up so there’s no point for me to train”.

‘Unfortunately, I have seen players behave like this and have that attitude.

‘For me on my side I always thought, “If these guys are doing this, I cannot allow myself to do less”. Again, it is not about quality but it is about commitment in training.

‘I do feel that when Patrick left, we had great players coming in, but that space he had within the team, within the club, was perhaps too big to fill for any player.’

The last time Arsenal won a league title was in 2004 when Vieira was still at the club, with Mikel Arteta now at the helm.

Arsenal have experienced a steady decline in recent years and Arteta has been tasked with making up an eight-point gap in their final ten games of the 2019/20 campaign to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The Gunners resume action against Manchester City on Wednesday having played their last match on March 7.

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