By Chris Harris
Frank McLintock can see similarities between Alex Song and the unsung hero of Arsenal's first 'double' team - Peter Storey.
The Cameroon international was no more than a bit-part player 18 months ago and had yet to win over the fans at Emirates Stadium. But he is now perceived as a vital member of Arsène Wenger's first-team, especially now the manager has adopted a 4-3-3 formation.
Song is solid if understated and the same applied to Storey during his heyday nearly 30 years ago. But the tenacious English international was just as important to Bertie Mee's legendary line-up as Song is to the current side.
McLintock, who captained the 1971 team, benefited from the protection Storey gave that Arsenal back four. He believes Song can do a similar job for the class of 2009.
"When they have three in the centre of midfield and they leave Van Persie up front, it's making us stronger in midfield," McLintock told Arsenal.com.
"We always played 4-4-2 with Peter Storey as the anchor man in midfield and he was very protective of the back four. Song is one of those players who can do the same kind of job as Peter Storey. Peter ended up with about 20 caps."
McLintock was one of just 16 players who featured for Arsenal in that historical 1970/71 campaign but he acknowledges that football has changed dramatically since then. The former skipper believes the current squad must match their rivals' strength in depth if they are to push for honours this term.
"I think they started the first few games very well," said McLintock. "I like the new signing, Vermaelen, I think he looked terrific. He's not a giant but he springs well, he is alert.
"Arsenal have always played great football since Arsène Wenger has been here. I think we are a better footballing side than Chelsea and Manchester United and if we can match them for strength in depth we can challenge."
Frank was talking at the official opening of Highbury Square. For further information on the limited available apartments at Highbury Square go to www.highburysquare.com or call 0845 262 6000.Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source