New York City manager Patrick Vieira has taken a swipe at his former club Arsenal, criticising their lack of ‘physical presence and personality’.
Vieira’s side defeated the LA Galaxy 1-0 at the weekend to retain their place at the top of the Eastern Conference thanks to David Villa’s goal.
But, in an interview with The Telegraph regarding the club he used to captain, Vieira was not too complimentary of his former manager Arsene Wenger and the side he has built in recent years at the Emirates Stadium.
“My generation had lots of physically strong players. In this last five or six years, Arsenal went more with this type of technical players,” he said.
“The Invincibles had it all. For me, it was like the French national team in 1998, when we had physical players with flair, with pace, it was a similar team.
“Now when I watch Arsenal, yes they play good football, but I just have a feeling they are missing something – the physical presence, the personality.”
Vieira, 40, spent nine seasons with the Gunners, winning three Premier League titles and four FA Cups during his time in north London.
He was a member of arguably the club’s most famous crop of players in the ‘Invincibles’ – along with the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires – and admits he is disappointed to see so few Gunners of the past now working in and around the club.
“I’m disappointed not to have ex- Arsenal players working at Arsenal,” added Vieira.
“It is good for the young players who could see a Thierry Henry, a Ljungberg, a Sol Campbell or a Keown who have been at the club a good few years working in the academy, or working somewhere. I think they can do it a bit more.
“Players want to do it but do not have the opportunity. I don’t understand it. The perfect example is Ajax. You see all the old players working for the club, on the field, in the office – the door is always open for them – but Arsenal don’t do it and I don’t know why.”