Former Arsenal star Robert Pires believes Arsene Wenger’s men have “a lot of ingredients” to win the Premier League title.
Arsenal face north London rivals Tottenham on Sunday as they look to bounce back from Wednesday night’s 5-1 mauling at the hands of Bayern Munich – a third defeat in four outings this season in Europe’s top-tier competition.
It has been a different story domestically, with Wenger’s team level on points alongside leaders Manchester City ahead of entertaining their near neighbours.
French World Cup-winner Pires lifted the Premier League twice during a decorated spell at Arsenal – their last title coming in 2004, two years before his departure to Villarreal.
“Arsenal have started the season well,” said Pires in an interview with the Guardian. “Actually, since the game against Man United [Arsenal’s 3-0 win at Emirates Stadium last month] they are doing very well,” he says.
“They have a lot of ingredients to win the title, because when you see the name in the paper the quality is there. The quality is very good.
“Of course, the Champions League is very important, but I prefer to see Arsenal win the Premier League this season and I know this is the objective for Arsene Wenger and all the players.
“It is also important for the fans. So yes, this team can win the Premier League.”
Pires’ assessment is one compiled from close quarters, as the retired 42-year-old regularly trains with Arsenal at their London Colney base to keep in shape.
“Arsene said to me ‘If you want to come, you can’ and so every morning I am training with the first team,” he explained.
“For me, it’s very interesting. I hope it’s also interesting for the players. I talk a long time to them.
“I don’t know if I give them some tips and advice but I have a good experience for the guys to learn from.”
On whether he can still hold his own with current Premier League stars, Pires mischievously suggested the silken technique from his playing days can still embarrass younger men.
“I don’t know, you have to ask them,” he added. “But the technique… you never lose it.
“You lose speed, that’s normal, but the technique you never lose.”