Dennis Bergkamp has said in an interview to FourFourTwo February magazine that what made Arsenal great in his time was the team spirit, the never-say-dead spirit. It is surprising that one of the most skilled strikers of his generation decides to credit spirit and not skill to his team success.
“We were successful because of our English defenders,” said the Dutch forward. “They put the spirit in the team, which the Europeans lacked. They would say ‘Get stuck in!’ and all sorts of other phrases. I loved it, especially: ‘How much do you want it?’ I thought about it. It stuck with me. Do you really want it more than the opponent? How much are you prepared to give? How much time do you want to put in to become better? It’s an English warrior tradition, a moral code. We go out together and we’re going to give 100%”.
Arsene Wenger has decided to give up on that spirit and fill Arsenal squad with French defenders. They might be great players, but they don’t have a hint of that English warrior tradition in them.
Manchester United have that tradition, and it’s there in every player – French or Serbian, Brazilian or Dutch.
Arsenal doesn’t have it. Arsenal has proved in St. James’ Park today that it is not a genuine title contenders. It might be skillful and easy on the eye, but they don’t have what is needed to win a title.
Can you imagine Manchester United losing a 4-0 lead? Can you imagine it happening to Chelsea with John Terry at the back? Can you imagine it happening to any team that has won the title? Arsenal is a French team in the English Premier League. You may win with kids, you don’t without spirit.