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David Seaman: This Arsenal squad will create history

16 May | BY David Seaman | MIN READ TIME |
David Seaman: This Arsenal squad will create history

The legendary Arsenal and England goalkeeper will be providing his opinions and insights all summer, exclusively on the Betway Insider.

Arsenal built for long-term success

It’s been great to see this Arsenal team take the title race down to the final day. Whichever way it goes, it’s been a fantastic season and this squad is built for the future.

It’s hard to judge this side against other great Arsenal teams of the past, because this team hasn’t won anything yet. I think when they start winning things, then you can start judging.

But there’s a slogan on the wall outside the dressing room at the Emirates, and it says: “This is our time.” We had our time during my career. It’s time for this team to create history, and they will soon, because they are getting better and better.

Arsenal have got a really good mix of experienced players and young players at the moment, which is hard to do, and our experienced players aren’t very old. The level of quality is getting higher and higher with the signings that we’ve made in Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and David Raya, who all really improved the squad. We also saw glimpses with Jurrien Timber, and we were getting excited before his injury. He’s a really good player, and will be like a new signing coming into next season.

Beating Man City is a challenge to embrace

Manchester City are a brilliant side to go up against. Back in my day, it was either us or Manchester United winning the title, and it was a good challenge to try and keep being the best. I never found it draining, I found it quite comforting.

Even in a tough run-in, nobody in the squad ever felt that we were so tired we couldn’t do it – you wanted to keep proving that you were the best. That’s what City are doing. I got asked recently whether I’d rather have four consecutive Premier League titles or win the treble. City might do both! I’d rather have a treble, personally, but the standard of winning four Premier Leagues in a row is incredible, if they pull it off.

We stopped United from winning their fourth straight title when we did the double in 2001/02, and it takes a big push to do that. It’s all about wanting to beat your opposite number. I looked at Peter Schmeichel and I always wanted to beat him, and he’s said the same about me. Sometimes he even said he’d like to be me, because my character was calm and collected, and he was always shouting. Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira always wanted to make sure that they beat each other – not beat each other up! Beat each other on the pitch.

Wenger still the manager to beat

Pep Guardiola is right in the mix among the best Premier League managers of all time, alongside Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp.

When it comes to the best ever, I can only go on the people that I’ve worked with, and Arsene was fantastic. When he first came to Arsenal, he changed everything – the way that we ate, the way we looked after ourselves, the way we trained, the way we played. He even got us a new training ground.

For me, he’s way out there. He was way ahead of everybody when he first came to the Premier League and then people tried to find out what we were doing and started copying his methods. For me, it will always be Arsene Wenger, although I never worked with Sir Alex, and what he achieved was obviously just fantastic.

Chelsea will wish they still had Havertz

Kai Havertz has shown amazing improvement over the course of his first season at Arsenal. I was a little bit surprised when Arsenal signed him – as I think everybody else was – because he had been OK at Chelsea but not brilliant. I’m sure Chelsea now wish they had kept him as he’s become a great player for Arsenal.

His turnaround hasn’t even spanned the full season, as his Chelsea form carried over into his first few months at Arsenal. He was missing chances, but I always thought that as long as he was getting on the end of those opportunities, sooner or later he was going to start putting them away.

Now I think he feels loved and wanted, and that shows in his form. When Mikel kept him in the team and kept picking him, I was thinking: “Hang on – I need to watch what else he’s doing.” If you watch him, he’s always ready to receive the ball, and he knows exactly what he’s doing next. He sees the pictures in his head. I’m sure those are the reasons why Mikel keeps him in the team because he links up play very well.

Striker is Arsenal’s missing piece

Despite how good Havertz has been, I’d say Arsenal still need an out-and-out striker who is going to be fit most of the time. You can never guarantee fitness, but in Gabriel Jesus we’ve got a striker who has struggled with injuries.

I think we need a striker in a different mould. When Erling Haaland came in at Man City, people doubted whether he’d fit their style of play – then he scored over 40 goals in his first season! He really does fit their game because he gives them another option. That’s the sort of big, strong striker Arsenal need.

I would also look for another central defender, because we all saw what happened last season when William Saliba was out injured. That really cost us. I think we need some quality cover in that position. Ben White can play there, but he’s been brilliant at right back, so would you really want him to come into middle? I still feel we need a little bit of strengthening in that position.

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