Arsenal left Highbury for Emirates Stadium in 2006 and Manchester United icon Eric Cantona has taken aim at the club hierarchy for the decision to depart their old home.
Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has claimed that Arsenal have “Lost their soul” following their move to Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners have made the previously state-of-the-art stadium their home for the past 16 years after departing their iconic former ground Highbury back in 2006.
That decision looked to be to the detriment of the North London giants as it prevented them from dipping seriously into the transfer market for an extended period of time, whilst it took them until the 2013/14 season to lift their first trophy of the Emirates era with an FA Cup triumph over Hull City.
The atmosphere at the stadium has been criticised on a number of occasions, with claims that it does not live up to that of Highbury.
Ex-United star Cantona has backed up those suggestions and declared that the club hierarchy’s decision to move Arsenal has seen the soul of the Gunners be lost along the way.
“Speaking to The Athletic, he said:”The trips are about going inside the passion of football, understanding the story of a club, how football is used, then how you live your life.
We were speaking about my favourite football stadiums earlier but now all the stadiums are called Emirates or Allianz.
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“These stadiums lost the soul and history of the club, like Arsenal and West Ham. I played at those old stadiums, like Highbury and Upton Park.“.
“I spoke with some Arsenal fans and they hate these stadiums. These fans lost the soul of their clubs. Fortunately, Old Trafford is still Old Trafford. Anfield is still Anfield.”
Despite Cantona’s digs, Gunners boss Mikel Arterta has regularly praised the atmosphere, particularly after Arsenal defeated newly-promoted Fulham 2-1 back in August to extend their perfect start to the campaign.
Speaking at the full-time whistle, the Spanish schemer said: “It comes down to having more belief and confidence. I saw someone here today at the stadium that I love. They haven’t been here for two years until today. They said it was the best they’ve seen the atmosphere here since Arsenal played at Highbury. The support we’re receiving in the stadium at the moment makes things much easier.”
Arsenal are back at the Emirates for their first match after the international break.
It promises to be one of the most testing of the season thus far for the Premier League leaders as they come up against North London rivals Tottenham.
Spurs head into the game undefeated having thumped Leicester before the international break, whilst the Gunners swatted aside Brentford away from home.