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The Gunners legend has told Goal that the present squad has come of age under Arsene Wenger and should be able to win their first trophy in eight years

EXCLUSIVE
By Lolade Adewuyi

Arsenal should be able to win the English Premier League this year with the present squad, according to club legend Robert Pires.

The club now has a mix of youth and experience that could help them to their first trophy in eight years since their golden generation last won the FA Cup in 2005, a squad where Pires played a key part.

The retired French man feels that the key to rejuvenating their title hopes lies in new summer acquisition Mesut Ozil who led the Gunners to a 3-1 victory over Stoke City on Sunday.

“It’s possible [for Arsenal to win] because now the young players have grown up and have more experience. They also have a good mix for [Arsene] Wenger. If you put Ozil in the middle, I think it’s a very good mix for Arsenal,” Pires told Goal at a soiree organised by Airtel to round up the Airtel Rising Stars African youth championship in Lagos on Sunday.

“[Ozil’s] a very good player, he plays for the German national team, he played for Real Madrid, now he’s playing for Arsenal. He has the experience. I think the football will be more simple now.”

With the Gunners also chasing glory in Europe and hoping to get out of their famed ‘group of death’ that includes, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund and Marseille, Pires says that the club should concentrate on the Premier League.

“Seriously, I think Arsenal have a good potential to win the Premiership. For the Champions League I don’t know but the most important thing is to focus on the Premiership because it is very important for the club and for the fans,” he said.

Another of his former teams that is not doing too well at the moment is the French national team where he won the World Cup in 1998. Pires is optimistic that les Bleus will make the World Cup to make his countrymen happy.

“When you have an opportunity to play in the World Cup it’s very important for the people. We’re in a very difficult group because when you play against Spain, normally they finish first,” said Pires.

“The team is not very good at the moment but the most important thing is that I hope they qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, like Nigeria. I hope to see France and Nigeria.”

Since retiring from playing football, Pires has taken to commentary on French TV. Asked if he is keen to pick up coaching like former teammates Laurent Blanc and Didier Deschamps (former and present France national team coaches), he said: “I don’t think so. May be one day, but not for the moment because the job [of coaching] is very tough. At the moment I don’t have the character to be a coach.

“For the moment I work in commentary for French TV, more simple and easy,” Pires concluded.

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