Patrick Vieira

Invincibles
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Premier League On This Day: Invincibles! Arsenal makes history (video)

Leave a comment

It hasn’t been done before, and it’s unlikely to be done again (especially after Ismaila Sarr took Liverpool’s perceived team of destiny out to lunch).

Arsenal went an entire Premier League season unbeaten.

The Gunners drew 12 times including a three-match run late in the season, but put the finishing touches on their 26W-12D-0L season with wins over Fulham and Leicester City.

The final match for Arsene Wenger’s men was 16 years ago Friday, as the Gunners came back from a first-half deficit via goals from Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

League and FA Cup runs died at the semifinal stages, with Manchester United ousting Arsenal from the latter and Middlesbrough the former. Chelsea knocked Arsenal out of the UEFA Champions League.

The Gunners drew two teams twice: Portsmouth and Manchester United. They also drew with Fulham and Birmingham City at home, splitting the spoils with Spurs, Newcastle, Everton, Bolton, Leicester City, and Charlton Athletic away.

Arsenal is cheekily just “Arsena” today on Twitter because they just couldn’t take an L.

Report: Inter Miami confident Vieira will be first head coach

Photo by Rich Sellers/Offside/Offside via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The folks running MLS expansion side Inter Miami are confident they will be able to lure Patrick Vieira away from Ligue 1 side Nice and make him the first head coach in franchise history, according to a report from ESPN.

[ MORE: From MLS to Premier League, Miguel Almiron loving life at Newcastle ]

Miami will kick off its inaugural MLS season in just over two months, yet perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle — the head coach/manager — is yet to be appointed.

After striking out on a handful of prospective coaches already, Miami have reportedly settled on Vieira, who joined Nice from another MLS side, New York City FC in the summer of 2018. Nice currently sit 13th in Ligue 1 and are yet to take a massive step forward under Vieira. If a deal is to be agreed between all involved parties, it could come by the end of December.

[ MORE: Arteta’s top priorities as Arsenal’s new manager ]

According to the report, Miami also approached currently unemployed manager Carlo Ancelotti, but the Italian is expected to be named the new Everton manager in the coming hours or days.

Henry’s Monaco draws 1-1 with Vieira’s Nice in French league

Getty Images
Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) Old friends Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira had to split the points as Monaco drew 1-1 with French Riviera rival Nice on Wednesday in a scrappy match featuring three video reviews.

Winger Allan Saint-Maximin put Nice ahead in the 30th minute and 17-year-old defender Benoit Badiashile equalized shortly after halftime, becoming the youngest scorer in the French top flight this season. Badiashile’s header from a corner was deemed to have crossed the line by the use of goal-line technology.

[MORE: Ligue 1 scores, schedule]

Henry and Vieira are in their first seasons coaching in France, but they go way back and hugged warmly before kickoff.

Living next to each other in London, they blossomed with Arsenal and were part of the famed “Invincibles” side which went a whole season unbeaten in the Premier League. The Frenchmen also won the 1998 World Cup and the European Championship in 2000, as well as playing together in the 2006 World Cup final.

Having started their illustrious careers as teenagers on the French Riviera – Henry with Monaco and Vieira with Cannes – they have come full circle as coaches.

Monaco had chances through Aleksandr Golovin and Rony Lopes, only for Nice to strike against the run of play following a sloppy mistake from Youssef Ait Bennasser. After he gave the ball away in midfield, Saint-Maximin took it off him easily and shrugged off defender Jemerson before shooting confidently past goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

The goal was awarded before being checked and confirmed by referee Benoit Bastien using VAR. Moments before the interval, he consulted VAR again to send off Nice striker Ihsan Sacko for a late challenge on defender Benjamin Heinrichs.

“There’s a lot of frustration and questions about the decisions. The red card is very harsh,” Vieira said. “It wasn’t a dangerous action and it had a negative impact on us.”

Bastien used VAR for the third time to award a penalty in the 75th, ruling that Badiashile impeded right back Youcef Atal when images suggested Atal initiated contact with Badiashile before tumbling down.

Benaglio guessed correctly to keep out Saint-Maximim’s spot kick. Monaco almost won it near the end when Radamel Falcao hit the post with a curling effort.

“A point isn’t enough for us, but we could have been sat here talking about a defeat,” Henry said. “I have no opinion about the VAR, those are their decisions. Diego saved the penalty – so much the better for us.”

Monaco has not won at home this season and is 19th – only one point ahead of last-place Guingamp, which beat Rennes 2-1 at home.

OTHER MATCHES

VAR also played a key role elsewhere as Saint-Etienne equalized with a penalty in a 2-1 home win against Marseille.

Referee Antony Gautier awarded the penalty in the 56th after goalkeeper Steve Mandanda upended forward Wahbi Khazri.

Gautier then changed his mind after the linesman signaled Khazri was offside when receiving the pass, but further confusion ensued as he then consulted VAR and re-awarded the penalty, which was confidently tucked away by Khazri.

There was no debating Khazri’s late winner, struck ferociously from 20 meters past Mandanda. It was his 12th league goal of the season and leapfrogged Saint-Etienne over Lyon into third place ahead of their local derby on Sunday.

Netherlands midfielder Kevin Strootman headed Marseille ahead early on from Florian Thauvin‘s excellent cross. The defeat increases the pressure on ninth-place Marseille and its coach Rudi Garcia after a string of poor performances have left fans disgruntled and angry.

In other matches, forwards Moussa Dembele and Nabil Fekir netted late on as Lyon rallied to draw 2-2 at Toulouse.

Nimes moved into 11th spot after winning 1-0 at home to Nantes.

Nice weekend for Vieira’s Nice, Henry’s Monaco

Graham Hughes /The Canadian Press via AP
Leave a comment

PSG is running away with Ligue 1, but MLS and Arsenal fans have had a couple of reasons to follow the French top flight this season.

Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira are in their first European managerial adventures, and both have had good weekends.

[ MORE: Arsenal tops Bournemouth ]

That’s been a rarity in the case of Henry, who took over a shockingly under-performing AS Monaco and oversaw just two draws in his first six matches.

On Saturday at Caen, a Radamel Falcao free kick was enough to get Henry that first win. Monaco is now two points back of safety, in 19th place.

Vieira’s run with Nice started slow but has picked up serious steam, and his men are within four points back of second place Lyon.

Nice got goals from Wylan Cyprien and Allan Saint-Maximin in a 2-0 win over Lille, stretching the club’s winning run to five matches. Four of those matches have come in the league, and all are clean sheets.

Both Henry and Vieira have been unafraid to speak their minds, with the latter calling out Mario Balotelli a couple of weeks ago.

Their sides meet Dec. 7 in Monaco.

PSG has a 15-point lead on second, and is 14-0-0 on the season. They have that going for them, which is nice.

Report: Thierry Henry begins talks with Bordeaux

Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Thierry Henry versus Patrick Vieira has the connotations of an Arsenal reunion match or Hudson River Derby fight, but the pair of French superstars may be matching tactical wits in Ligue 1 soon.

Sky Sports says that former New York Red Bulls star and Arsenal legend Henry has opened talks with Bordeaux about their manager’s spot.

[ WATCH: Lichaj assists for Hull ]

Vieira was hired away from New York City FC by OGC Nice earlier this summer, whileHenry was assisting Roberto Martinez in leading Belgium to a third place finish at the World Cup.

Bordeaux is 0-2 after two matches of the Ligue 1 season, while Nice is 0-1-1.

For those wondering, the two sides meet on Oct. 27 at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux.

Which manager do you back for more success in the short- and long-term?