Arsenal ‘miss a physical leader’ with Arteta urged to add ‘a few pieces’ to ‘be closer’ to Man City

Jason Soutar
Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard looks dejected during the loss to Brighton

Patrick Vieira believes Arsenal lack leaders and has admitted that it is “impossible” for Mikel Arteta’s side to beat Manchester City to the Premier League title.

Arsenal’s title bid is all but over after Brighton battered Mikel Arteta’s side 3-0 at the Emirates on Sunday.

Manchester City had won earlier in the day, which probably contributed to the Gunners’ woeful and deflated performance.

Speaking on Sky Sports, former Arsenal captain Vieira said it is “impossible” for City to surrender their lead at the top of the table.

“I’m sorry to say it but I think it’s impossible for City to let that [lead at the top] go now,” the Frenchman said.

“It was a must win game for Arsenal and today they didn’t play their game. There was a lack of energy.

“It looked like the result of City killed their legs because they didn’t do enough to win the game.”

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Explaining where it has gone wrong for his former side, Vieira said Mikel Arteta is lacking a “physical leader” (like himself back in the day).

Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira speaking on Sky Sports: “You want leadership and he [club captain Martin Odegaard] has been the technical leader on the field but they are missing a physical leader, a leader who can get at the back of players when they are not performing at the right level.

“They need a team that is more competitive. You look at the physical attributes of Manchester City and they are bigger and stronger than Arsenal. It’s up to Mikel [Arteta] to address that in the summer.”

Vieira added that this season is an improvement on last year when Arsenal crumbled during the run-in to surrender fourth place to Tottenham.

The former Crystal Palace manager thinks Arteta needs to add “a few pieces” this summer in order to close the gap on City.

Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira speaking on Sky Sports: “It’s still a step forward from last season. If we spoke about Arsenal challenging City at the end of last season, not many would believe you but of course they will be disappointed because they were so close.

“Losing today is more than just a game. It’s about how your rebuild to improve and be closer next season. They will have to take a step back to reflect on the season. They are missing a few pieces to be closer.

“The last few games they have been playing to win and when you play to win the pressure is different.”

Meanwhile, Martin Odegaard has conceded that the title is now out of reach for Arsenal after Sunday’s results.

“Yeah it looks difficult now to be honest, we have to be realistic. I don’t think City are going to do too many mistakes now,” Odegaard told Match of the Day.

“We just need to get back on the pitch and end the season in a good way. I think everyone deserves that, especially the fans.

“We did OK in the first half with the high press and could have been dangerous and scored some goals.

“The game changed a little bit in the second half, when they went direct it was a bit too easy for them to get through. I don’t know why at the moment. I don’t have any answers.

“We’ve done a lot of good things but at the moment it is just disappointing how we’ve ended. It is a good sign that we are disappointed. We just have to make sure we keep improving and getting better.”

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