Arsene Wenger remains very much the right man to lead Arsenal into a sustained challenge for the Barclays Premier League title, according to former Gunners’ defender Viv Anderson.
The veteran French coach earlier this week celebrated 19 years in charge of the north London club, but has seen his position come under scrutiny once more following a shock home defeat by Olympiacos which has left Arsenal facing a battle to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages.
Wenger, though, continues to knock down the constant criticism of both his own tactics and the character of his team, which will again be tested by the visit of Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
Anderson – who joined the Gunners from Nottingham Forest in 1984, winning the League Cup before becoming Sir Alex Ferguson’s first signing at the Red Devils - sees no reason why the club should not continue to have faith in the 64-year-old.
“What Arsene Wenger has achieved at that club, he keeps on qualifying for Europe every year and if you look at that team, there are some really good exciting players. I know there have been cries for him to leave, but they should stick with him,” Anderson told Press Association Sport.
“I like the style of football he plays, it is the passing and moving game which is very attractive.
“They won the FA Cup for the past two seasons, which was a big thing after everyone saying it had been nine years without winning anything, so they managed to bridge that gap.
“With the players Arsene Wenger has got in the squad now, they should be there or thereabouts for winning the title now, and I don’t see any reason why not.
“They could probably do with some more defensive cover, particularly at centre-half, but all in all, I think there are some really good players, it is just a matter of them all clicking at the same time.
“Arsenal, though, remain a bit in-and-out, I don’t know if they took Olympiacos a bit lightly, they might have fallen into that trap.
“However, I would expect Arsenal to be one of the three or four challenging for that Premier League trophy at the end of the season.”
Anderson, an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK and who will be cycling to Amsterdam for the charity next June, feels Sunday’s showdown between his old clubs is a close one to call.
“With Arsenal getting beaten in the midweek game, and United winning, they will of course have the momentum and are top of the league,” he said.
“Arsenal, though, have some really good forward thinking players at any given time and are capable of beating anyone on their day,
“It will be really difficult for both sides, with Arsenal expected to put on a display in front of their own fans, so I guess I had better sit on the fence and go for a draw.”
Anderson hopes the Prostate Cancer UK Football to Amsterdam cycle challenge from June 3 to 5 2016 will help raise awareness of the fight against the disease.
“It is a really good cause, so the more people who can get behind it the better it is going to be to get the message out there,” he said.