Robert Pires says three Arsenal players in Bukayo Saka, Odegaard and William Saliba would get into the club’s famed ‘Invincibles’ XI.
The North London side have made a return to the top of the Premier League this campaign but suffered a setback against Man City on Wednesday, losing 3-1 to the defending champions to slip into second place.
It saw Manchester City return to the summit but Arsenal have a game in hand on their rivals, with the two teams still to meet for a second time this campaign in April.
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The Gunners last celebrated a league title success in 2003/04, their legendary ‘Invincibles’ season where they finished the campaign without any defeat.
Pires starred alongside players like Thierry Henry, Sol Campbell and Bergkamp in that famous side and when asked to pick a combined XI with Mikel Arteta’s current stars, only three of the new generation made the cut.
He named Bukayo Saka ahead of himself, with Saliba coming in for Kolo Toure in defence. Pires also found room for Odegaard, who took Freddie Ljungberg’s place.
‘I honestly think the Arsenal of 2004 would beat the Arsenal of 2023,’ Pires told The Telegraph. ‘I feel sorry for the kids now, but I’ve no doubt.
‘I think the fans will give you the same answer: Lehmann, Lauren, Saliba, Campbell, Cole, Vieira, Gilberto Silva, Odegaard, Saka, Bergkamp and Henry.’
Arsenal head to Aston Villa, managed by Unai Emery, on Saturday afternoon, needing a victory to keep the pressure on City.
With questions being asked of his old team, Pires sent a message to Arteta saying the belief is still with him and the players.
‘I sent him [Arteta] a message by WhatsApp,’ he said.
‘I told him, ‘Mikel, it’s OK. We trust you. You have to keep your head up.’ We have to support him in these moments.’