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Patrick Vieira has backed his former club to win the Premier League title this season, saying the English football’s crown is Arsenal’s “to lose” ahead of the campaign’s climax.
The French midfielder, who won three Premier League winners’ medals during his nine years with the North London giants, spoke after Arsenal’s rousing 4-2 comeback victory over Aston Villa at the weekend.
Vieira, who is currently managing Crystal Palace across the capital, captained Arsenal to an unbeaten Premier League triumph in 2003/04 and he believes the Gunners’ current crop of players have what it takes to end the club’s 19-year wait for a title.
Vieira thinks title is in Arsenal’s grasp
Speaking during an interview with bookmaker William Hill shortly after Arsenal’s win over Aston Villa, Vieira said: ‘I think the Premier League title is Arsenal’s to lose, to be honest with you.
‘I think Arsenal did really well against Aston Villa on Saturday, to bounce back with that 4-2 win at Villa Park. They are just in a really good place at the moment, with a lot of confidence.
‘But I still believe Manchester City will chase Arsenal until the very last day of the Premier League season. But I think it’s Arsenal’s title to lose.’
In the twilight of his career, Vieira returned to England to play for Manchester City in January 2010 for a short spell before he hung up his boots in the summer of 2011.
Arsenal steady themselves after wobble
Before travelling north to the Midlands to play Aston Villa on Saturday, Arsenal had dropped eight points from a possible nine in the Premier League – a run that allowed defending champions Manchester City to scythe into what had been a healthy lead for the Gunners in top spot.
Arsenal’s 3-1 loss at home to Pep Guardiola’s Cityzens last week had felt like a hugely significant swing of power in this season’s title race, though City inexplicably dropped points at Nottingham Forest just a couple of days later, allowing Arsenal to retake command with their win at Aston Villa.
It wasn’t smooth sailing at Villa Park against their former boss Unai Emery however, and Arsenal had to dig deep to come from behind twice against the Villains before a comical own goal from Emiliano Martinez in injury time completed the Gunners’ turnaround.
Gabriel Martinelli then added gloss to the scoreline with one of the last kicks of the game, sparking wild celebrations on the touchline from Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal staff.
Title race filled with twists and turns
Arsenal now hold a two-point advantage over City at the top of the Premier League table, though they still have a game in hand on their rivals to complete.
Arsenal’s Premier League programme continues on Saturday with a tricky test at Leicester before they begin a run of four home games in five fixtures starting with a meeting with Everton at The Emirates Stadium on March 1st.
Trips to Anfield to play Liverpool and The Etihad Stadium to face Man City loom large in April, with a test at home to Chelsea to follow the same month.