Patrick Vieira is anticipating an emotional reunion with Arsenal, but the Crystal Palace manager is out to beat his former club.
Vieira spent nine years with Arsenal between 1996 and 2005, helping Arsene Wenger’s side win three Premier League titles and four FA Cups before he left for Juventus.
The 45-year-old made 279 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, with only five players making more for the club in the competition. In fact, Vieira will be just the fourth person to have played for the Gunners in the Premier League and then managed against them in the competition, after David O’Leary (W3 D2 L9), Tony Adams (L1) and Remi Garde (L1).
He has never faced the Gunners as a coach, though did play against them twice, with Juve and Manchester City, but did not manage to win on either occasion.
Vieira is out to change that record when Palace, who came from behind in impressive fashion to draw 2-2 with Leicester City before the international break, visit Emirates Stadium on Monday.
“The focus and concentration will be on how can we perform well,” said Vieira, who was just 20 when he joined Arsenal from Milan.
“I am really looking forward to it. I had the chance to play for this football club [Arsenal] for nine years. I arrived at this football club when I was a kid and I left as a man.
“That is the club where I played my best football I would say. So obviously going back there will be emotional, but I will put that on the side because it will be important for us to perform well and to get points.
“It’s about controlling yourself as a manager and controlling the emotion. I always try to do that and will try to do that again on Monday.”
Recent history of Palace’s trips to Emirates Stadium would suggest Vieira has a good chance of breaking his duck against Arsenal, with the Eagles unbeaten in their last three such games (W1 D2).
However, Arsenal have won their last seven league matches played on Monday, scoring 15 times and conceding just twice.
Palace ended an 11-game winless run in Premier League London derbies when they beat Tottenham 3-0 last month, though Arsenal have won four of their last five top-flight home matches.
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