FROM “THE INVINCIBLES” TO THE “TITLE CONTENDERS” SIDES: ARSENAL’S BEST XI OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE ERA

Arsenal Football Club, historically speaking is the third most successful club in England. From the unbeaten title-winning side of the 2003/04 season lead by the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell to the 2007/08 season of ups and downs consisting of Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin Van Persie, Theo Walcott, Tomas Rosicky and the “so close, yet so far” season of 2015/16 headed by the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey; Arsenal have had an exquisite collection of flair and dynamic players playing football the Arsenal way. Not many clubs can boast the kind of players that have put on the colors of red and white of Arsenal. Here’s a look of the Arsenal’s Best XI of the Premier League Era that have overseen three league titles victories under Legendary Manager, Arsène Wenger:

GK: DAVID SEAMAN  

(CREDIT:  THE MIRROR UK)

In the recent past, nobody has nailed downed the role of the No 1 for as long as David “The Flying” Seaman. Although Jens Lehmann was the goalkeeper in the “Invincibles” team comes close in the argument but you can’t look past the Englishman who kept a record 215 clean sheets at the time across 12 seasons at the club, overseeing 3 league titles and 4 FA Cups and is arguably the greatest goalkeeper of the Premier League era.

RB: LAUREN

(CREDIT: goal.com)

Over the years, the right back position has been of some concern for Arsenal over the years, so Lauren’s contribution to the “Invincibles” cannot be under-looked. Not the most technical player around, but more than compensated defensively by maintaining width in a conservative manner, allowing Ashley Cole, his fellow fullback to help in the attack and move forward. He has around 240 appearances across seven seasons, helping the club win 2 Premierships and 3 FA Cups

CB: TONY ADAMS

(CREDIT: Getty Images)

The one name which comes to mind when you hear the word “Leader” is Mr. Arsenal himself, Tony Adams MBE. Arsenal has been blessed in this position in the past with the Martin Keown, Kolo Toure, Steve Bould and Sol Campbell but during his time, he was and is still considered to be one of the greatest centre-backs to ever grace the pitch. He has over 500 appearances to his name being at the club for around 20 years winning 4 league titles and 3 FA Cups. The club’s greatest club captain even has a statue to his name outside of the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal’s current home.

CB: Sol Campbell

(CREDIT: EMPICS Sport)

He sent London into meltdown post his arrival to the club from North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. Seen as the ideal replacement for club captain, Tony Adams, Campbell soon struck up a partnership with Kolo Toure and became the base for the Invincibles team’s dominance. In the words of Arsène Wenger, “It was as if he was indestructible, such a power spread from him”. He made over 200 appearances for the club, helping them win 2 league titles and 3 FA Cups including doing the double in his first season.

LB: ASHLEY COLE

(CREDIT: mirror.co.uk)

When we think of Arsenal left-backs, Nigel Winterburn comes to mind and passed the torch to a young Ashley Cole, coming from the youth setup to being considered one of the greatest fullbacks of the Premier league of all time. Although he moved to the other side of London with Chelsea in 2006, he still holds a dear place in all Gooners, helping them win 2 Premier League titles and 3 FA Cups while making over 150 appearances.

CM: PATRICK VIEIRA

(CREDIT: independent.co.uk)

One of the many foreign recruits and head of the French entourage at Arsenal, from the A.C Milan reserves to being the most influential midfielder to ever grace the Premier League, from lifting the World Cup to lifting the Golden Premier League trophy, Patrick Vieira has seen it all and been the benchmark for all the up-and-coming midfielders since. The Frenchman provided protection to the back four as well as drive forward at every opportunity provided, he was the pinnacle of balance between attack and defense. Vieira was notoriously infamous for his rivalry both on and off the field with Roy Keane, the captain of their title rivals, Manchester United. He guided the team from North London to three Premierships and four FA Cups, which include one Premier League Title and 2 FA Cups under his leadership across 280 appearances for the club netting close to 30 goals as well as score the winning penalty of the 2005 FA Cup final past Manchester United.

CM: CESC FABREGAS

(CREDIT: bleacherreport.com)

Fearing from the lack of opportunities, Wenger signed the ex graduate of La Masia at just 16 years old, making him the youngest Arsenal player making a debut in 2003 and went on to become Arsenal’s second youngest ever captain when he took up the captaincy in 2009 post William Gallas’s departure. Although during his time in North London, Arsenal failed to win any silverware but the Spaniard’s stellar performances and being the most consistent player of the pitch helped him win Arsenal player of the season twice in 2007 and 2008 as well as become the PFA Young Player of the season in 2008, netting almost 60 goals and assisting 100, making him the second highest of all time at the club. But when his former club, FC Barcelona came calling, with the Arsenal side showing no progress at the time and with a lack of silverware, the Spaniard left the Emirates in a bizarre manner only to come back to rivals Chelsea in 2014 and winning his first piece of Silverware in England by winning the league under Jose Mourinho

CAM: MESUT OZIL

(CREDIT: skysports.com)

Brought in as a marquee player on Deadline Day, breaking the club transfer fee record at the time in the 2013 Summer Transfer Window from Real Madrid for  a fee around £42.5million, the German playmaker was the talk of the town for seasons to come, winning the FA Cup in his first season in English Football. Known for his flawless and effortless ability to create chances, the German did not disappoint as he would glide around the pitch, picking the ball up in spaces and providing the perfect pass for his teammates. At his time in Arsenal, the World Cup Winner netted 44 goals while setting up a monumental 80 assists as well as collecting 3 FA Cups and a Community Shield, but his apex came in the 2015-16 providing 19 assists and netting 6 of his own, creating a record number of 146 chances in a PL Season, and as a result Arsenal finished Runners-up to eventual Champions, Leicester City. During his time in North London, the German was always in the spotlight due to his supreme on-field performances and controversies off of it. He eventually went on to sign for Turkish side- Fenerbahçe in January 2021 due to a lack of playing time and squad exclusion from the Premier League while on  £350,000 per week, the club needed to cut down on finances.

SS: DENNIS BERGKAMP

(CREDIT: skysports.com)

The rejuvenation of the “Non-Flying” Dutchman is considered to be similar to that of a Phoenix, having risen from the ashes of his horrific past at Inter to becoming the epitome of flair, to describe his influence in words, we’d look to Club Legend Ian Wright who said, “He was the best signing the club ever made as he changed the DNA of the club”. His name is embedded deeply in the Gunners Folklore for generation to come with his name never failing to be part of the discussion of being the “Greatest Premier League Player of All Time”. The Dutchman was at the center of the most dominant phase of the club, winning 3 Premier League Titles and 4 FA Cups and winning even more number of hearts of fans while netting an excess of 110 goals and providing 95 assists. He retired at his beloved club and has a statue outside the Emirates Stadium.

CF: THIERRY HENRY

(CREDIT: goal.com)

During his 22-year stint at the club, Arsene Wenger oversaw a luxurious amount of silverware and yet one of his greatest achievements will always be switching the position of this Frenchman from “a winger to a center forward” and the rest is history. 6 years and 2 League Titles later, he was the Club’s all-time leading goal-scorer and considered to be the best player to ever in the Premier League scoring a record 175 goals and 75 assists in about 260 appearances for the club, winning two League Titles, 2 FA Cups, 4 Golden Boots and 2 POTY. The chants of Thierry Henry at Highbury was an experience of a lifetime. He had an extra dose of affection at his time at Arsenal as he was the record goal scorer in the North London Derby at the time. The duo of Henry and his strike partner, Dennis Bergkamp is considered to be the greatest premier league partnership in history as a result of constantly mesmerizing fans of the club and rivals as well. It was a shame he never won the reputed, Ballon d’Or. He finished runner up to Pavel Nedvěd in 2003, which was considered a robbery at the time by club manager, Arsene Wenger. He has a statue along with colleagues, Tony Adams and Dennis Bergkamp outside the Emirates Stadium.

ST: ROBIN VAN PERSIE

(CREDIT: arsenal.com)

In 2007, when Thierry Henry moved to FC Barcelona he passed the torch to the then 24 year old, “Flying” Dutchman. Having moved from Feyenoord in 2004, in the initial years were tough being merely a squad player and struggles with injuries. But once star striker Henry left the club, it was his time to shine and step up to the big stage as the leading striker. In his first full season as a starter in 2008/09 season, he racked up 20 goals and 11 assists, and ended up being Arsenal’s Player of the Year for 2009. But this was only the beginning, after getting the infamous jersey number “10” formerly worn by his fellow Dutch National and Arsenal Legend, Dennis Bergkamp, he was beginning to show his full potential and beyond. He ended up winning the Golden Boot at the end of the 2011/12 season netting a club-record 30 goals as well as assisting 10. Although sooner than later, the love of Gooners turned bitter as Van Persie left Arsenal to join rivals, Manchester United and ended up winning the Premier League Title in his first season. At his time at Arsenal, the Dutchman recorded 132 goals and 58 assists, making him 8th in the Club’s all-time goal-scorers chart.

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