‘I’m not too proud that they never replaced me’: Gilberto Silva admits Arsenal’s efforts to replace him and Patrick Vieira in midfield have been ‘painful’
- Gilberto Silva was instrumental alongside Patrick Vieira in their Invincibles team
- Since their departures, Arsenal have struggled to replace the central midfielders
- The Brazilian said the Gunners are ‘paying a high price’ for their poor midfield
Gilberto Silva has revealed Arsenal’s efforts to try to replace him in midfield have been ‘painful’.
The ‘Invincibles’ hero formed a formidable partnership alongside Patrick Vieira in what was one of the meanest midfields in world football.
They were the bedrock of Arsenal’s 2003-04 unbeaten campaign, the likes of which has not been repeated although Liverpool are threatening to match them this season.
Gilberto Silva and Patrick Vieira formed a solid midfield partnership during Arsenal’s success
Vieira left Arsenal in 2005 while Silva remained until 2008, and the Gunners midfield has never fully recovered from their loss.
Silva told Planet Football: ‘It’s nice when people talk about me and remember me.
‘Of course, I’m not too proud in terms of the idea that they never replaced me, but I feel proud that people think about me positively, despite the fact that it’s a long time since I left the club. This is a good feeling.
Silva was instrumental during Arsenal’s as of yet unmatched unbeaten Premier League season
‘But, you know, from what I have seen over the last few years, it’s quite true, because me and Patrick Vieira especially had a great partnership and I haven’t seen Arsenal replace this.
‘I think it’s been quite painful for the team not to have stability in this position. They are paying a high price, but I hope at some point they find somebody who can fill the gap.’
The current custodians of Arsenal’s midfield are Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos, Joe Willock, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira.
Granit Xhaka is one of a number of players who Arsenal hoped would fill the void in midfield
While the group have shown talent, they remain a far cry from the solidity of the Invincibles era.
Despite Wenger struggling in his later years at the helm, Silva remains full of praise for his former boss.
The World Cup winner said: ‘It was great to play under him. He was very simple in the way he would tell us what to do but in a very effective way.’
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