Arsene Wenger celebrated 20 years in charge of the north London heavyweights on Saturday with a last-gasp win over Burnley. And just to whet one’s fantasy, an all-time great starting eleven under the Professor would have never had it hard against such a side.
In his 2 decades in charge of Arsenal, Wenger has overseen the development of over 200 players, many of whom has gone on to become world beaters and legends.
And here is a list of some of the greatest to ever line up for Arsenal under Arsene.
GK – David Seaman
The England goalkeeping idol is no doubt the best the club ever had in between the sticks. Jens Lehmann might have been calling the shots during the “Invincibles” era, but Seaman’s abilities to make physics-defying saves made him a wonder to watch.
He was revered by fellow goalkeeping greats and went on to scoop 3 league titles, 4 FA Cups and a League Cup in 564 total appearances for the Gunners.
LB – Ashley Cole
Moving to Chelsea might have made Arsenal faithful turn their backs at the ex-England international, but it won’t take away the fact that he was one of best fullbacks the club ever had.
The academy graduate combined his attacking and defensive roles perfectly well, going on to win 2 Premier League titles and 3 FA Cups at the club.
CB – Tony Adams
Mr. Arsenal definitely ticked the boxes during his days. The one-man club is perhaps the greatest club skipper for the north Londoners.
With a record of 669 total appearances for the Arsenal, 2nd on the all-time highest number of appearances, Adams became the first player to captain the team to titles in 3 different decades during his 22-year career.
CB – Laurent Koscielny
Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure were no doubt great central halves in the Arsenal Jersey, but they have got nothing on the France international.
Despite having just 2 F.A Cup winners medal, Koscielny is undoubtedly the complete defending package. Strong in the air, tough but not reckless, and with a keen eye for a goal. Definitely a legend (in the making).
RB – Lee Dixon
Lauren comes close in this position, but Dixon’s swiftness in adapting to Wenger’s style upon the French tactician arrival is noteworthy.
During almost 15 seasons at the club, Dixon was an undisputable 1st choice for 13 consecutive seasons. He won 4 league titles, 3 FA Cups and a League Cup with the club.
CM – Patrick Vieira
Vieira led the side during the 03/04 unbeaten season, and he was the complete box-to-box midfielder.
Upon taking the captaincy band following Tony Adam’s retirement, the French legend helped put the team in shape with his leadership skills. In 9 seasons, he was named in the PFA Team of the year 7 times, and he collected 7 medals.
CM – Cesc Fabregas
He didn’t manage to win a single title, but he comes out tops ahead the likes of Petit and Ozil. Cesc gave everything to the club and remains one of their best youth products.
He also became their youngest captain, and it’s shameful to hear some ungrateful Arsenal fans boo him these days.
LW – Robert Pires
In just 7 seasons at Arsenal, Pires established himself as a fans favourite for life. With 2 Premier league titles and 3 FA Cups, he almost won it all for Arsenal, until his withdrawal against Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final following Lehman’s sending off.
He was also named in the PFA Team of the Year on 3 occasions.
RW – Freddie Ljungberg
The only Arsenal player to have scored in 3 different FA Cup Finals, the purchase of the Swede was sanctioned by Wenger in 1998, despite having never seen him play.
He rewarded the coach with 72 goals in 328 appearances and 5 trophies. The 2001-02 Premier League Player of the Season now coaches the club’s under-16’s.
CF – Thierry Henry
Arsenal may never again have a player of this calibre in their history. The lethargic goal poacher found the back of the net with reckless abandon in his hay days.
He won the Premier League Golden Boot 4 times and the European Golden Boot twice. The club’s highest goal scorer of all time was so good he had to be lured back for a 2nd stint.
CF – Dennis Bergkamp
The “Non-Flying Dutchman” not only assisted many of Henry’s goals, he also scored a whopping 120 during his 11 seasons at the club.
In Wenger’s first full season in charge, Bergkamp landed 22 league goals, winning the title for the club and getting named as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year.