Football Insights - Emmanuel Petit
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Football Insights - Emmanuel Petit

Speaking to Genting Casino, former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit assessed the Gunners' position in the title race, after a solid victory at Brighton and a Liverpool draw at Old Trafford saw them leap to the top of the table at the weekend.

Petit also spoke about his former club Chelsea following their disappointing draw with Sheffield United, as well as all the latest transfer gossip as the season reaches its conclusion.


Q. How good are Arsenal and how impressed are you?

EP: "Arsenal have improved so much from last season, they have levelled up their threat up front and defensive skills. Arsenal used to concede silly mistakes, but you can see that they've improved from that. The defenders celebrate defending and getting clean sheets like attackers would score goals. In football, you win games with individuals but you can win titles with a team."

Q. Is William Saliba a contender for PFA POTY?

EP: "Declan Rice is having an outstanding season, and so are Virgil van Dijk, Cole Palmer and Rodri. If someone from Arsenal was going to win the PFA Player of the Year award, I'd say Rice, because his price tag was huge and he came into this Arsenal side like a leader, it feels like he's been playing at Arsenal for five or six years. Rice was the missing link in the team, he keeps the balance in the team and can support the attackers with goals and assists. Arsenal did not have this last season, Rice is the best player at the club."

Q. After this weekend, who are you backing to win the Premier League?

EP: "I want to say Arsenal will win the Premier League, as I'm a former Gunner, but Man City have the easier fixtures. Liverpool and Arsenal have big games coming up, Man City are used to the pressure and they've done it for the last six seasons. I predict Arsenal to win the Premier League, I have the belief in them to do it."

Q. Can Arsenal go far in the Champions League?

EP: "Arsenal have shown they're amongst the best in the Premier League, and the last two Champions League finalists from the Premier League have been Man City and Liverpool. If Arsenal can fight for the Premier League title with them, then they can go far in the Champions League. That is the next level for Arsenal and I think the players will know that. The Champions League feels quite open this season, there is no big team dominating the competition, Man City are fragile defensively, Bayern have struggled, Real Madrid have not been at their best, PSG are unpredictable. I'd prefer Arsenal to win the Premier League, but I can see the Gunners reaching the semi-finals, which would be amazing for their long-awaited return.

It’s embarrassing from Chelsea fans that they booed Mount. However, you can’t just want to leave the club when things aren’t going well on the pitch, you have to be stronger than that mentally.

Right now, he’s playing for Man United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, and you know what you signed up to when you signed for them.

He’s coming back from a long-term injury, a professional footballer, and an athlete at the highest level must improve mentally.

Before he was injured, he was playing like he walking on egg shells - very fragile mentally - and he’s kind of like Marcus Rashford at United.

Mount arrived from Chelsea and he doesn’t look strong mentally. I used to be like that and it used to affect my performance on the pitch, but come on!

You wake up in the morning, drive a Lamborghini, you need to look in the mirror! He was booed by Chelsea fans, but at the end of the day, he wanted to stay at the club.

Q. Chelsea have been linked with Lille defender Leny Yoro as a replacement for Thiago Silva. What can you tell us about him, and would he tighten up the Blues’ leaky defence? 

I know Leny Yoro well, I watch him in France, and he’s been nicknamed the next Raphael Varane. He was 16 when he started with the Lille first team and Jocelyn Gourvennec picked him for his Marseille team and all of a sudden his life changed.

The manager said he needed someone to repeat his age as he always was shocked at how young he is. In the space of two years, he’s been an absolute rock in defence.

But to replace Thiago Silva already? How many French defenders do they need? They have Badiashile, Disasi, Fofana and Chalobah and Silva there. It’s too many. Chelsea need to focus on the players they have rather than buy more. Fofana has barely played and he’s meant to be one of the top French talents.

Let Yoro improve step by step, right now it’s too early. Saliba was perfect example, he was at Arsenal early on but spent three years on loan before cementing his name in Arsenal’s XI.

The season Saliba did with Marseille changed everything and now he’s one of the best defenders in the world.

Q. Chelsea may well have to sell Conor Gallagher this summer because of FPP, what do you think about that?

Chelsea selling Gallagher? If anything summed up the board of Chelsea, it is this. Can you believe that? They are running the club into the ground.

Boehly has signed so many players that he may have to get rid of Gallagher, one of their most important players. He’s one of the only leaders, too, so it really is crazy to be a Chelsea fan right now.

I’m happy I wasn’t around in the Boehly era.





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