Both were not afraid to get involved
Why is it so Different these days?
Invincibles vs The Treble
When Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira locked horns, the football world would watch. Arguably, two of the best captains and midfield players ever to play in the Premier League were at the two biggest clubs at the time in England. The rivalry was no secret, and on more than one occasion the players came face to face with one another. For those of us watching from home or for the supporters inside the stadium, it was football gold.
Nowadays, the former footballers have a great relationship off the field. For those of us who got to watch the two play against each other, it’s still difficult to see them in the same room together discussing football. They were both complete athletes, with a very competitive mentality which made for incredible football games. Both players controlled their team, and we’re not afraid to give orders to their fellow teammates. If either player found one of their teammates in trouble, they were the first at the scene trying to sort it out.
Nowadays, Manchester United and Arsenal would love to have players like Patrick Vieira or Roy Keane on their side.
It seems like a lot of the modern footballers in the Premier League these days are afraid to tackle their opponents. When Keane and Vieira were playing, neither player would think twice about going in for a 50/50 challenge. As midfielders, it was their job to win the ball in the centre of the park, and they did it better than almost every single player who has played in England’s top division.
Both midfielders covered a lot of ground during a game, and very few players managed to get past them. If a player was to get past either captain, then without a shadow of a doubt they would work hard to track back to regain possession for their side. Not only did this help Manchester United and Arsenal win games, but it gave their teammates a chance to see what their captains would do for them.
In today’s game, some players refuse to help out their teammates. Roy Keane has been very critical of Paul Pogba, due to his attitude. On many occasions, the French midfielder has lost the ball, but instead of chasing the ball, he stands around complaining. Although Pogba is a talented footballer, neither he nor Patrick Viera would have allowed that in their side.
When Manchester United took on the Gunners while Keane and Vieira were captains, the atmosphere at Old Trafford or Highbury (Arsenal’s former stadium) was incredible. Not just because it was the two biggest sides in England playing each other, but because the winner of the game would normally go on to win the competition.
Keane and Viera had their fair share of fights, but the one that sticks out in the mind of most football fans is the fight in the tunnel. Roy Keane had felt Patrick Viera had bullied Gary Neville, and Patrick Viera had felt the United players had intentionally hurt some of his teammates the last time the two sides had met. The two collided in the tunnel before the game, which was normal for a lot of players at the time. The big difference was that the television crew captured the heated argument and showed it live on air. Millions of people watching the game at home observed the situation, which made for a thrilling game. Viera scored the first goal however United went on to win the game 4-2.
The same rivalry between the two sides isn’t what it once was. Arsenal and Manchester United have struggled to compete for the league, especially since the Manchester City and Chelsea owners started to invest heavily into their clubs. Players have to be very careful what the do on and off the pitch nowadays, because of the amount of money sponsorships have put into the game, betting sites like kasyna online and clothing companies like Adidas expect their players to act a certain way.
Both sides have problems behind the scenes, and it has affected the team’s performance. Fans have been left frustrated, and the days of Manchester United and Arsenal going head to head for the title seem to be a distant memory for many supporters. Both sides were able to attract some of the most talented players in the world, but with so much competition out there it is hard for them to get who they want in the transfer market. Both sides have found it difficult to recruit leaders or captains that the rest of the players will listen to and respect.
Highbury was a very difficult stadium for any away side. Unlike their new stadium, the supporters were very close to the pitch which made it very difficult for teams. It almost felt like the fans were the twelfth man. The supporters have struggled to create the same atmosphere in their current stadium, and they have won very little since they made their move to the Emirates stadium.
Going through an entire season in England’s top division was unheard of until Patrick Viera and his teammates managed it in the 2003-04 season. Although Keane won several major trophies during his time at Old Trafford, he was never able to captain his side to an unbeaten season. Arsenal managed to play forty-nine games in a row without being beaten once. Nobody could have predicted this, nor is any club expected to do the same in the future.
Keane did lead his side to the treble in the 1998-99 season when Manchester United won the Champions League, Premier League, and the FA Cup. Sir Alex Ferguson believed the semi-final, a clash between Arsenal and Manchester United, in the FA Cup was the most important game of the season. Roy Keane was sent off in extra time due to a late challenge after Denis Bergkamp missed a penalty late on, and to finish off one of the most exciting clashes between the two sides, Patrick Viera passed the ball that landed in Ryan Giggs’ path. The Welsh winger ran from the halfway line to score what is regarded as the greatest goal in the FA Cup history.
Boy, do we miss clashes like that nowadays!