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Arsenal: Arsene Wenger's best XI

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Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s recent retirement, there have been endless attempts to establish his all-time greatest XI during his time at Manchester United.

Here, we list instead an Arsene Wenger XI that could no doubt give Fergie's men a run for their money.

Goalkeeper: David Seaman

The subsequent failure to adequately replace David Seaman since he left in 2003 has been a major factor in Arsenal’s inability to win a trophy since the FA Cup in 2005.

The goalkeeper played a whopping 405 times for the club since his debut in 1990, winning two league titles, four FA Cups, the League Cup, three Community Shields and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups in the process.

He was named in the Premier League Team of the Decade in 2002, whilst his diving save from Sheffield Wednesday’s Paul Peschisolido’s close-range header on route to the FA Cup success of 2003 was dubbed as the "best save I have ever seen" by United rival Peter Schmeichel.

Whilst he will always be remembered for being lobbed by a long-rage Ronaldinho free-kick, knocking England out of the 2002 World Cup, Seaman was also the undisputed England No. 1 from 1996 to 2002 and was named in the UEFA Euro 1996 Team of the Tournament

Left-back: Ashley Cole

Whilst Cole has arguably gone to achieve even greater success with Arsenal’s London-rivals Chelsea after his controversial switch in 2006, the left-back still played over 150 games for the Gunners, winning two Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two Community Shields.

His form also saw him named in the PFA Team of the Year for three out of four seasons from 2002-2005 and the UEFA Team of the Year in 2004.

Centre-back: Sol Campbell

Despite moving to the Gunners after spending nine years at north London rivals Tottenham in 2001, Campbell became the mainstay of the Gunners defence for the best part of half a decade and a fan favourite.

Campbell made just shy of 200 appearances, his partnership with Kolo Toure proving vital to the Gunners’ incredible unbeaten season in 2003/04.

Centre-back: Tony Adams

Adams is a club legend, having spent his whole career with Arsenal between 1983 and 2002, making his debut aged just 17 and going on to reach over 500 appearances. He won countless trophies with the club and was capped 66 times by England.

Right-back: Lee Dixon

Whilst some Arsenal fans seem to prefer the more recent Bacary Sagna, now-BBC pundit Dixon played alongside Adams from 1988, forming a rock-solid back four alongside Nigel Winterburn and later Martin Keown for the best part of a decade.

Due to injury and England’s failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, however, Dixon sadly never played in a major international tournament for his country.

Left-wing: Marc Overmars

Despite spending just three short seasons at Arsenal before a £25m move to Barcelona in 2000, the winger was one of the most technically gifted players in the club’s history, able to take on players at ease and both create and score goals.

His first season at the club saw him score crucial goals in the 1998 FA Cup final against Newcastle and in the league vs. Manchester United, helping the club to the double in his first season.

Centre-midfielder: Patrick Vieira

Vieira was arguably the best box-to-box midfielder to ever grace the Premier League, equally adept at putting in a crushing tackle outside his own box or bursting forward into opposition territory at a rapid pace.

The Frenchman was made club captain following Adams’ retirement in 2002 and won a total of three Premier Leagues and four FA Cups during his time at the club. Arsenal’s answer to Roy Keane, Viera was named in the PFA Team of the Year for six successive years between 1998 and 2004, and made over 100 appearances for the national side.

Centre-midfielder: Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas was no doubt the most talented player to suffer from Arsenal’s trophy drought since 2005, replacing Vieira in terms of both his shirt number and influence within the Arsenal side.

Indeed in 2008, aged just 21, he was given the responsibility of captaining what was a young and inexperienced Arsenal squad. The playmaker created more chances for his team-mates than any other player across Europe’s major leagues in both the 2006/07 and 2010/11 seasons, assisting 100 and scoring 57 goals in total from 303 before moving back to Barcelona in 2011.  

Right-wing: Robert Pires

France international Pires was signed as a replacement for Overmars in 2000, and quickly made his mark, named both the club and the league’s Player of the Year in the 2001/02 season having finished with more assists than any other player.

He was also efficient at finding the net, scoring 14 goals and assisting seven in the Gunners’ ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003/04, creating a formidable understanding with Thierry Henry for both club and country.

Striker: Thierry Henry

Voted No. 1 in a recent poll of Arsenal’s greatest ever players, little needs to be said about the French wonder, who scored goals for fun for the Gunners once converted from a winger into a striker by Wenger after signing from Juventus in 1999.

He remains the club’s all-time leading goalscorer with 228 goals in all competitions and captained the side to the 2006 Champions League final, having twice been nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year award. Able to score from pretty much anywhere on the pitch, the striker also hit 51 goals in 123 games for Les Blues, winning both the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championships.

Striker: Dennis Bergkamp

Bergkamp narrowly edges out club legend Ian Wright, who scored an astonishing 185 goals in 288 goals for the Gunner, as these largely came before Wenger arrived at the club in 1996.

Playing largely as a second-striker, Bergkamp is remembered for his incredible skill, flair and ability to score the most spectacular of goals.

Whilst a return rate of 120 goals in 423 is less impressive when compared to the modern-day abilities of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, it was Bergkamp’s ability to create goals which stood him out as one the greats, contributing 124 assists during his spell at the club.

 

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Topics:
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Premier League
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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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