Arsenal legend admits need for ‘three or four players’ to close Man City gap, as limitations detailed

Patrick Vieira Crystal Palace August 2022

Title-winning Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira has admitted the Gunners need to add “three or four players” to close the gap to Manchester City next season.

Arsenal’s season has been one of their best in recent years. Indeed, it followed a season in which the Gunners missed out on Champions League football due to a late slump, finishing fifth.

Mikel Arteta’s side had finished in eighth place in both of the two seasons prior.

As such, being in a title fight this season was a massive achievement, and it looked for a long time as if they had what it took to win the league.

They spent the majority of the campaign in first place, holding off serial winners Manchester City, who have been consigned to second for much of the season.

However, City’s surge coincided with Arsenal’s decline. Amid a winning run for City, which is still ongoing, Arsenal drew three games on the spin, lost to City and then to Brighton.

The latter essentially ended any chance of the title going anywhere other than to the Etihad.

Indeed, it’ll take City losing every remaining game for the Gunners to have any hope of winning the league. A win for Pep Guardiola’s side next week would secure the honours for them for the fifth time in six seasons.

Vieira feels Arsenal must reflect on season

Three-time title-winning Arsenal midfielder Vieira feels Arsenal need to take a step back and reflect on the season, which has ended in disappointment, understanding what they need to progress next term.

“Of course they will be disappointed, because they were so close to winning the title,” he said on Sky Sports.

“They have to be realising what they are missing, because of course losing the games today I think it’s more than just the games – of course they lost the title today, but it’s about how do you rebuild the team, how do you think about what you are missing to improve and to be even closer to Manchester City next season.

“I think they will have to analyse the season, they will have to make a step back and to reflect on the season and of course there is a couple of pieces that they will miss and they are missing to be there or to be a bit more closer to Manchester City.”

‘Three or four’ players needed

Vieira feels Arsenal’s players will learn from this experience, and having done so now, they’ll be better placed in the future.

“It was quite challenging because in the last 10 games, they’re playing games to win. When you play games to win, the pressure is different,” he added.

“They will learn from this situation that they are living at the moment and that will make them stronger next year.”

Vieira also feels Arsenal have limitations on the field which need addressing if they’re to close the gap.

“There is some pieces that they will miss on the field – when you’re looking at the back, I think that they will need a couple of pieces at the centre-back, maybe a right-back,” he said.

The centre-back position might be sorted already, with reports circling that Ben White is to move back to the centre. However, that would then mean a right-back is a must next season.

“In the midfield I think there is some really good quality players but they may need a little bit more physicality,” Vieira added.

“Up front it is important to have those players who are capable of scoring goals – if they manage to bring those three or four players in the starting XI then I think they will be a step closer to Manchester City.”

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