Pires: Arsenal still in title race

Premiership

The Gunners currently sit in sixth position in the EPL standings after an inconsistent start to the season, which sees them already nine points adrift of leaders Chelsea after nine matches.

Yet Pires, who spent six years in London and is still plying his trade in India as captain of Indian Super League side FC Goa, feels Arsene Wenger’s men are still in the chase for League glory.

“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 scored 79 goals in 274 appearances for Arsenal, believes his former side need a holding midfielder to reinforce the squad and complete the team.

“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.

Pires was voted as Arsenal’s sixth best player of all time in 2008, and describes his relationship with Arsenal fans as “special”.

“I love the Arsenal fans and they also love me and I think I know why,” the 41-year-old 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."

Arsenal host bottom-placed Burnley in their next League fixture on Saturday afternoon.

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