1997/8 - Vieira, Petit and Parlour
2001/2 - Vieira, Parlour, Van Bronckhorst, Edu, Grimandi
2003/4 - Vieira, Gilberto Silva, Edu, Parlour
These are the midfielders who could defend that we had in the squad when we won our league titles under Arsene. You will notice that there is a bit of a contrast with our current squad in terms of defensive midfield options.
We have Alex Song who has been outstanding for a year now, but without him we really struggle to fill the holding role. Diaby is the only other midfielder in the squad who I believe is capable of the role, but bizarrely we saw Denilson fielded there against Everton, maybe Arsene just doesn't want to lose Diaby's forward drive by playing him too deep. I don't think he has much of a choice given Denilson's lack of defensive ability.
It's something we've discussed a lot here in the past but we are just too clean a side at the moment. You need someone to be slightly cynical, to take down that man with a little clip of the ankles just as he is breaking through the midfield area, to take the yellow cards for the team on occasion. Many of the greatest sides have these kinds of players, the Mascheranos of this world are not popular with neutrals of the game but they are damn effective. I just wonder if we've become too soft and too nice a team. Am I rambling or do I have a point?