The 10 best Arsenal players of the Arsène Wenger era

To celebrate Arsène Wenger’s 72nd birthday, Sports Mole counts the 10 best players of his time at Arsenal.

Ars̬ne Wenger РAKA The Professor Рis celebrating its 72nd birthday today, which gives us the perfect opportunity to look back on some of the most memorable names that graced Highbury and Emirates turf during its Arsenal mandate.

The illustrious Frenchman may have left under acrimonious circumstances within the #WengerOut squad, but with three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups to his name – as well as his influence on the players’ lifestyle – Wenger has been inscribed in football folklore.

The former Nancy and Monaco boss nurtured, hosted and developed many players during his time at Arsenal – fielding 222 to be exact – but some names stood out head and shoulders above the others during the 22 years of Wenger.

Here, Sporty Taupe countdown the top 10 players of the Arsene Wenger era at Arsenal.

© Reuters

Spectacular goals galore with the silky French winger, the £ 6million signing of Robert Pires to replace the £ 25million man Marc Overmars seems almost incomprehensible these days, with ex-Marseille flourishing in six full seasons under the wing of Wenger.

In 284 games for the club, Pires has scored 85 goals and 60 assists in all competitions – including at least 14 goals in three consecutive Premier League seasons – as he started 33 Premier League games over the course of the season of the Invincibles Gunners.

A two-time Premier League and FA Cup winner at Highbury, Pires also won the FWA Footballer of the Year award in 2002, not forgetting of course his successes at Euro 2000 and the 1998 World Cup with the France.

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey celebrates his first North London Derby goal with Tottenham Hotspur on March 2, 2019© Reuters

You don’t have to be a diehard Gooner to remember that horrific broken leg Aaron Ramsey suffered in Stoke City 11 years ago now, and the Wales mainstay has hardly had the best luck with injuries since that fateful evening.

However, Ramsey would still hold onto Wenger’s faith and ended up reaping the rewards of his breakthrough in the 2013-14 season – with 10 goals and nine assists in 23 Premier League appearances – and he will soon establish himself as one of the performers. the most reliable of the French. .

Totaling 65 goals and 65 assists in 371 games for the club, Ramsey also scored the winning goals in the 2014 and 2017 FA Cup finals – as well as the club’s player of the season title on two occasions – and rumors an Emirates return for the 30- a year continues to swirl amid his troubles with Juventus.

Sol Campbell pictured for Arsenal in 2006© Reuters

A name Tottenham Hotspur fans cannot quickly erase from their memory, Sol Campbell’s passage through north London in 2001 was not only a shock to the supporters, but also to the media, the journalists in the press room expecting to break Richard wrightthe arrival of the eve of the talismanic defender has emerged.

The fact that Campbell’s transfer has been kept under wraps for so long is admirable in itself, but the Englishman’s performances on the pitch were even more so, as he amassed 211 appearances for the club under Wenger and scored 12 goals – so far he’s the only player to score for Arsenal in a Champions League final.

Another mainstay of the League-winning Invincibles setup in his former home, Campbell was also a key member of the double-winning team in 2001-02 and left Arsenal with five major honors to his name before a brief but sentimental return. in 2011.

Cesc Fabregas pictured for Arsenal in 2011© Reuters

Tongues were stirred when a 16-year-old Cesc Fabregas became the youngest player in Arsenal history – a distinction he still cherishes – in an EFL Cup clash with Rotherham, and the Spaniard was barely 19 before starting against former club Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League Final.

Arsenal and Wenger knew they had a gem in their hands with Fabregas, who amassed 15 goals and 15 assists in 27 games in the 2009-10 season after scoring 20 goals in the 2007-08 campaign.

Fabregas’ early years at Arsenal went unrewarded – with the 2005 FA Cup all he had to show for his efforts – and Barcelona’s pull proved too tempting for a player who broke the bridges with a few supporters by swapping Chelsea’s red for blue a few years later.

David Seaman pictured for Arsenal in 2003© Reuters

Already in possession of the gloves for several seasons before Wenger arrived, Arsenal and England number one David Seaman is perhaps best known for being on the wrong side of Ronaldinhofree kick at the 2002 World Cup than for any of his exploits in North London.

However, the 58-year-old served as Wenger’s first-choice goalkeeper for seven seasons, keeping 202 clean sheets in 492 games for the club and his stoppage against Sheffield United. Paul Peschisolido en route to the 2003 FA Cup crown still defies belief.

Winning three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and an EFL Cup during his time in north London, Seaman always returns to the Emirates with that beaming smile when legendary matches call his name and is undoubtedly the pair of hands. safest of 22 years of Wenger. at Arsenal.

Alexis Sanchez pictured for Arsenal in 2017© Reuters

One of the most naturally talented players to ever groom the Emirates pitch, Alexis Sanchez is not held in high regard by many Arsenal fans after his move to Manchester United, but it was impossible to ignore the impact of the Chilean under Wenger.

Following his arrival from Barcelona in the summer of 2014, Sanchez’s remarkable first season at Arsenal saw him clinch the club’s Player of the Season award, a place in the PFA Team of the Year, as well as the player of the season. of the PFA Fan Year after banking 16 goals and eight assists in his debut campaign.

Sanchez was forced to shoulder most of the attacking burden in the 2016-17 season, but didn’t let it pass, as he racked up 24 goals and 11 assists in 38 league appearances before scoring crucial goals in the semi-finals and the FA Cup finals the same year.

Dennis Bergkamp for Arsenal© Reuters

Renowned for his fear of flying, Dennis Bergkamp’s aviophobia certainly didn’t impact his ability to soar on the pitch with a sense of elegance and flair that won’t be replicated in the Premier League for a long time. .

The non-flying Dutchman was another signing ahead of Wenger at Arsenal, but really made a name for himself under The Professor, winning the FWA and PFA Player of the Year awards in the Gunners’ 1997-98 dual season.

Cloning the second striker role until his mid-30s, Bergkamp also recorded 11 goals during the Invincibles season and was an integral part of Arsenal’s three winning teams in the Premier League, while his support for Daniel EkArsenal’s takeover bid only strengthened its still high position with Arsenal loyalists.

Tony Adams photographed in 2002© Reuters

Would you believe it? Tony Adams certainly did, like Martin tylerThe iconic commentary was a fitting tribute to the captain’s infamous strike against Everton in 1998 – considered by many to be one of Arsenal’s greatest goals of all time.

Adams had already donned the red and white jersey for 13 years before Wenger arrived in north London – when he was 30 – and alcoholism problems off the pitch also plagued him, but Wenger argued his captain.

The bond between the player and the manager was particularly strong, as Adams remained a key part of the Arsenal squad before hanging up his boots in 2002, while a total of 669 appearances for the club are just behind. David O’Leary‘s 722.

Four-time top-flight champion, three-time FA Cup winner and two-time League Cup holder with Arsenal, Adams brought together the famous four defenders with aplomb during Wenger’s reign and is one of the most recognizable from the Highbury era.

Patrick Vieira pictured for Arsenal in 2005© Reuters

Captain Fantastic himself, Patrick Vieira, only returned to north London a few days ago to see his team at Crystal Palace give his former club excellent value for money, and the reception he received from the faithful of the Emirates spoke more than 1,000 words.

A tough midfielder with a penchant for dramatic strikes and skirmishes with Roy Keane, Vieira established himself as an Arsenal regular after barely 20 and donned the armband with aplomb in the triumphant 2002 and 2004 championship seasons.

After nine years, 406 appearances, 34 goals and 44 assists for the Gunners, Vieira’s last ball for the club won them the FA Cup in 2005 – sinking Manchester United in a penalty shootout – and Wenger’s captain has found his place in the PFA Team of the Year six consecutive seasons.

The Gunners continue to try to fill the Vieira-shaped void in the engine room 16 years later without success, and given the way he has set up his Palace side in the Emirates, the 45-year career in management could also be a brilliant one.

Thierry Henry celebrates Arsenal's goal against Sparta Prague in the Champions League on October 18, 2005© Reuters

The king. The icon. The man with 228 goals. Thierry Henry arrived at Arsenal in 1999 with a World Cup winner’s medal in his suitcase, but after two disappointing years at Juventus his name was still relatively unknown.

Fears immediately grew when Henry failed to wave the net in his first eight games for the club, but under Wenger’s tutelage the Frenchman turned into arguably the greatest player in the Premier League history.

Henry’s marvelous strike against Manchester United in 2000 really saw him make his mark for the Highbury loyalists, while his 24 goals and 25 assists in the 2002-03 Premier League season were not controversial enough for win him the Ballon d’Or, being forced to settle for second place behind Pavel Nedved.

However, with a total of 228 goals and 105 assists in 376 games for the club, Henry could do anything from blazing runs of his own half, humiliating the opposition with his array of tricks or simply finding the bottom corner. with a ruthless character.

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