Many Arsenal fans will have been keeping a keen eye on developments in Ligue 1 this season with two of their former heroes taking to the dugout.
Both Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira took up managerial positions in the French top flight but, after a difficult start, the latter has managed to steer OGC Nice in the right direction, and Les Aiglons have returned to the European spots under his tutelage.
Unfortunately, Thierry Henry’s spell in charge of Monaco wasn’t particularly productive, with the Champions League-winner picking up just four victories during his twenty game spell, and lasting less than three months at Stade Louis II.
Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Nicolas Anelka and Patrick Vieira during Arsenal’s double winning parade through Islington, 1998. pic.twitter.com/3fmM4MJpc5
— Throwback Arsenal (@ThrowbackAFC) February 20, 2019
Vieira was always tipped to succeed in football management and he is often described as one of the most complete midfielders to have ever graced the Premier League.
He had a great footballing brain and, coupled with his remarkable physicality, it helped him become one of the most formidable midfield destroyers in European football.
During his time in North London, he picked up three Premier League titles, four FA Cup winners medals, and was also voted as the Footballer of the Year back in 2001.
As captain of the side, he led by example, and is likely to have picked up many of his managerial traits from working under Arsene Wenger.
There is a feeling amongst some Gunners fans that the club have never really replaced the midfield dynamo, with several players failing to have the same impact on the side since the departure of the 1998 World Cup winner.
Under Unai Emery, Arsenal have been harder to beat this season, and their home form has been particularly eye-catching in 2019. The Gunners are now 2/5 in the latest Premier League betting to secure a top-four position and return to the Champions League next season.
Thierry Henry isn’t the only Arsenal legend managing in Ligue 1 right now, with Patrick Vieira as manager of Nice.
The pair face each other on the 8th of December. 👀
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) October 13, 2018
After leaving Manchester City, Vieira moved to the MLS, where he managed New York City FC, winning 40 of his 90 games in charge of the franchise.
He averaged 1.67 points per game, finishing second in the Western Conference in 2018. His side were extremely effective at the Yankee Stadium, and rarely dropped points in front of their own fans.
His time at Nice got off to a bumpy start, with OGC failing to win any of their first three games. Despite beating Lyon at the end of August, the fans weren’t convinced by the former Arsenal captain, and he was beginning to feel the pressure.
After just three wins in their opening ten matches, Les Aiglons went on an unbeaten run between the end of October and mid-December, which helped steer them away from the bottom three, and Vieira finally had something to build upon.
Although his side still lack firepower, they are extremely tough to break down and are moulded in the image of their coach. They are quick to close down space, and rarely give the opposition any time on the ball.
This has seen them concede just 12 goals in their opening 14 home games, and they have remained unbeaten at the Allianz Riveria since mid-November.
It’s been quite the turnaround for Patrick Vieira on the Cote D’Azur, and his side are now firmly in the mix to return to European football next season.
The former Arsenal midfielder has undoubtedly put his own stamp on the team and, with his managerial stock continuing to rise, he is likely to be linked to a number of vacancies this summer.
Although it is still early days for Vieira, there is a feeling amongst supporters that he could potentially be a future Arsenal manager in the making.