Premier League: Robert Pires believes Arsenal are still contenders in race for the title
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 30/10/14 12:34pm
Former Arsenal winger Robert Pires is hopeful his old club will be challenging for the Premier League title come the end of the season.
Despite turning 41 on Wednesday, the World Cup winner remains active as a player and is captain of Indian Super League side FC Goa.
His former side Arsenal are fifth in the Premier League, nine points adrift of leaders Chelsea, but Pires hopes Theo Walcott’s return to action will see Arsene Wenger's men in contention for top spot in May.
“I hope we can still win the title,” Pires told Sky Sports. “Of course it is going to be very difficult, but the season is very long and the Christmas period coming up will be a very important one for Arsenal.
“The situation is not too different from when I was an Arsenal player. It was vey tough, very difficult against teams like Man United, Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool.
“The good news is that Theo Walcott is coming back but the bad news is that Mesut Ozil is out. But I still believe in Arsenal, I believe in the players and of course I believe in Wenger.”
The Frenchman, who was part of the Invincibles side that went unbeaten for a whole season in 2003/04, believes the only thing Arsenal are missing is a conventional holding midfield player.
“I think Arsene Wenger has a very good team at Arsenal but I do think they need one player in midfield in the mould of Patrick Vieira,” he said.
“They need a tall player, a strong player because in England you need players who are physical. That position is very important and I think that is the only missing piece.
“That aside everything is good because they have some good creative players and Wenger has bought some good young players like Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck and Calum Chambers.”
In 2008, Pires was voted as Arsenal’s sixth best player of all time and Pires thinks he knows why the fans still hold him in such high esteem.
“I love the Arsenal fans and they also love me and I think I know why,” he said. “I played 11 games in north London derbies against Spurs and I scored nine goals which I think is very good for them. My relationship with the Arsenal fans will always be special."