Patrick Vieira learned a lot from Arsene Wenger as a player – and he also picked up some handy management tips, it appears.
Well, at least his habit of miraculously missing the major talking points.
Wenger won three Premier League crowns at the Gunners, the most famous of which was the 2003–04 ‘Invincibles’ season, for which Vieira was captain.
Nearly two decades later, the 45-year-old former hard-man midfielder is back in London, taking charge of Crystal Palace.
And on Monday night, Vieira was back at his old club for a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Emirates.
Vieira was heartbroken as his team equalized in the 95th minute through Alexandre Lacazette, who had earlier fought off a goal in north London to take the lead.
One of the biggest flash points of the game was James MacArthur’s terrible kick-out at Bukayo Saka.
The 20-year-old from England was knocked out at half-time when the Eagles took a powerful swipe at his feet.
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Fans were quick to compare it to an ‘MMA kick’, while Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta claimed it ‘absolutely’ should have been a red card.
As it were, MacArthur saw only yellow.
After the game, Vieira was asked about the sick kick.
And – reading from page one of the Wenger Playbook, Vieira said “I’m sorry. I didn’t see it.”
The Frenchman added: “I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to see it again from where I was.”
Wenger, 71, was famous during his time in England for somehow disappearing events that were unfolding before his very eyes.
And Vieira seems to have learned well from his mentor as he refused to speak out against his own player.
Arteta was little silent about the incident, roaring: “I saw the action and I can’t believe his player stayed on the pitch.
“It’s a clear red card. There’s no intention to play the ball.
“I don’t know how he was not sent off with VAR.”
And while the Goons were furious over the verdict — and Saka’s attack — Vieira’s comments were followed by an awkward smile she could be forgiven.
After all, Vieira is a potential Arsenal manager of the future.
As the club continues to stay under Arteta, Vieira may be given the job as soon as possible.
And fans will definitely be looking forward to Wenger’s second arrival…
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