Do Arsenal Finally Have a New Vieira? Three Options

And what about a new Romford Pele? 😀

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We all know we tend to see our former heroes in our up and coming players. A certain way of running, a few typical gestures combined with certain skills and before you know it we believe a former great has been reincarnated in the latest hot talent. We just cannot help ourselves; it just has got to be done! 

We all loved Patrick Vieira’s persona and incredibly diverse midfield football skills, and it can be argued that we never had somebody like him since he left us for Juventus in 2005 (an incredible 14 years ago). Abou Diaby had it all but his football fate was so cruel; Flamini did come quite close but wasn’t as majestic as the his fellow Frenchman; Ramsey had the potential to be the new PV04 but wasn’t strong enough defensively and also got injured too often, and; much-loved Coquelin also tried hard but just never quite got there for us.

I have heard a few fellow Gooners say that we may have a new Vieira, but to my surprise they were suggesting it would be Guendouzi of all our youngsters. I can see that Matteo has some of Vieira’s skills and characteristics: he likes to run forward with the ball from midfield, is a more than decent passer – including through-balls – he puts his whole body into the battle and likes to get involved when there is a players’ bust-up. But what MG is missing is PV04’s incredible physique and, most importantly, his reading of the game when we need to defend and his subsequent positioning and recovery skills are still well below par. I have my doubts whether the latter can be learned but, who knows, maybe Matteo will get this part right too in the next few years. The new Vieira, though?! No, not for me.

For now I see more of a new Ray Parlour, the Romford Pele, in Matteo, as the skills are similar and both are more attack-focussed than defence-focussed. The only thing missing are those screamers from well outside the box (or goals in general, which I am sure will come in the next few seasons). But in all seriousness, Guendouzi will of course become his own player and who knows how good he will become?! Time will tell.

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I believe there are two players who really have the potential to become close to our ‘next Patrick Vieira’, in terms of type of player: Ainsley and Joe.

Ainsley Maitland Niles has the calm and physique, the engine and aura of Patrick. He is ideal for the defensive duties in midfield and is a good passer of the ball; he also will do those box to box runs all day long. Ainsley is more of an introvert but there is so much power in him; just watch him run with the ball and you can see the real potential of this young man. This season will be interesting for the 22 year old Gunner who produced two PL assists already. He will not be required to play in the RB position much anymore, with both Bellerin and Chambers being the better options. So now he will need to fight to get himself into midfield, starting with the cup games in which he really needs to shine. I have high hopes for Ainsley but this will be a big challenge for him, given the available quality in midfield and Emery’s love for Granit and Matteo…

Joe Willock is a player who really has it all and that at the age of just 20. He is a bit more extrovert than Ainsley and he has that same engine to run b2b all day long. For such a young lad he is surprisingly strong both mentally and physically and his reading of the game, both in defence and attack, is very impressive. Especially his runs into the box are superb and although he (as yet) misses too many chances, he did manage to score a couple already this season. His passing needs to improve further, but if there is one young player I would be happy to put in our best 11 players against a top team, next to Granit and Lucas, it is Joe Willock. That is how high I rate him.

Getting the balance right in midfield remains Arsenal’s biggest challenge, but boy do we have some good players coming through in that area!!!

We can analyse stats, youtube videos etc all day long, but my gut-instinct says that out of Matteo, Ainsley and Joe, the latter is our biggest prospect in midfield and he may even turn out to be our real new Vieira. Early days of course, but we can count ourselves lucky to have three such young midfield beasts donning the mighty red and white shirt. Ooh to Be!

So what do you think: will one of these three midfielders become (close to) the next PV04?

By TotalArsenal.

27 thoughts on “Do Arsenal Finally Have a New Vieira? Three Options

  • I think Emery is going to ruin the careers of both Maitland Niles and Joe Willock, which is unfortunate. The manager picks his favorite he doesn’t go for ability. Which explains why he continues to give Xhaka, a player with zero ability, so much playing time, when he shouldn’t even be in the team. Willock and Maitland Niles will need to leave Arsenal to fulfill their potential. Sad really as they are both top drawer players and would make a great pairing in midfield.

  • TA, nice post and very good comparative analysis. I will sum it up this way …… Vieira is the three of them put together; the fire in the belly of Guendouzi, the samba skills of Ashley and the swagger (self belief) of Willock. Hey, is this our future (or now) midfield? Vieira split into his three memorable parts!

    I see a revolution whichever way I look. COYG!

  • Very spot on about willock, would also like Ainsley to be given a run in central mid coz that’s where his strength lies. But lots of doubts Emery will do that.

  • Matiland niles & gundozi can bring viera & gilberto’s combination if they get chance both are fantastic in central midfield

  • To my observation we lack a midfielders who is able to read the opponents and do the ball passing upfront. We have good striking force but a lot of unnecessary holding of the ball need to be avoided if we want to score goals. Midfielders must learn to look and read the next move before passing as blunder cost arsenal a lot.

  • I think all the trio Matteo, niles, and Joe can make it far better than xhaka if instructed well on what to do and each provided a role to cover than just going to try what they have.

  • To begin to approach the dizzy height of Vieira, Douzi has to hit the gym to beef up. He has to build his body strength and improve his speed. Atm he is too drawn to the ball ie to the activity in front of him which negates his defensive awareness of spaces particularly the spaces behind him and that’s not Vieira.

    Niles has the skills (though I wonder why his stats on unsuccessful touches is so poor) and he has the athletism which unfortunately he does not use proactively enough. His major obstacle to the dizzy heights is attitudinal. He is too laid back and that’s not Vieira.

    Viera was a well rounded footballer. He was a defender, a passer, a creator, a finisher. Joe Willock is full of all those promises. He has the best potential for that dizzy height ….. not Vieira’s pinnacle anyway.

  • I appreciate comments but Parlour was an average player who benefitted by being surrounded by world class players like Vieira Petit Bergkamp Henry Ovetmars and Pires To become a better player you need class players around you

  • I believe PV is irreplaceable. However, I can agree with you with the talents banked in Ainsley & Willock. MG is a very smart mid; however, he must misses the speed and strength needed to become the player he can be. But time will tell!

  • I think it has to be said that there is no new PV4 in this squad, there isn’t one in the PL and no-one in World football who can truly be compared with the great man.

    I will never forget the day Patrick made his first appearance at Highbury – the entire crowd realised they were in the presence of greatness. PV4’s are once in a lifetime. The physique, energy, drive, concentration, skill and above all, time on the ball are extraordinarily rare – that is why we talk about him 23 years later..

    But Willock reminds me very much of Rocastle!

  • Suffice to say we will never have a player with the stature and overall aura of PV4. Some of my best memories are of him marauding around Old Trafford and “accidentally” bumping into Roy Keane.

  • Cheers for the comments during these quiet times, guys. 🙂

    I am off to the Highlands for a few days. If there is wifi I might do a post, if not first post out will be Friday late or Sat morning.

  • Thanks Erik.

    I saw the second half and although I know nothing about Rugby I did enjoy the competitiveness and tactical aspects (as far as my father in law could explain them to this novice!).

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