Why Arsenal legends’ long-awaited meeting got postponed

Arsenal legends Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira, who also won the FIFA World Cup together with France and now manage at AS Monaco and OGC Nice respectively in the French Ligue 1, were scheduled to lead their teams against each other this weekend in the Côte d’Azur derby. But that’s not going to happen again, at least until a new date is fixed for the match.

The derby de la Côte d’Azur had been due to take place on Friday night with the 1998 World Cup winning pair in the opposing dugouts but it fell victim to the continuing unrest courtesy of the gilets jaunes protests in France over proposed fuel tax rises, with police resources set to be stretched to the limit once again this weekend.

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Henry oversaw just his second win in 10 games in charge of struggling Monaco as they beat Amiens 2-0 away on Tuesday with a brace of penalties by Radamel Falcao, but the 2017 champions remain in the bottom three. Vieira meanwhile saw his Nice side held to a goalless draw by Angers to fall to seventh place, five points behind second placed Lille.

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Three other Ligue 1 matches have also been postponed, with Paris Saint-Germain’s game against Montpellier, St-Étienne’s fixture against Marseille and Toulouse v Lyon also set to be played on another date. Violent protests have been held in major French cities over the past three weekends, with more planned to take place on Saturday and Sunday.

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Demonstrations turned particularly violent last Saturday, with 412 people arrested after the worst clashes in central Paris for decades. However, unrest has also spread across the country, turning into a broader challenge to President Emmanuel Macron’s agenda and complaints that he is out of touch with the struggles of ordinary people.

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