Football

Ultimate Arsenal XI

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GMS Contributor Andrew Burt lists his all time Arsenal XI. 

Goalkeeper: David Seaman- For anyone who had the privilege to watch David Seaman, it was easy to see why he was given the nickname 'safe hands'. Arsenal have had some outstanding goalkeepers in their 127 year history- Bob Wilson and Pat Jennings are just two examples- however, David Seaman is generally regarded as the cream of the crop. During the 1990/91 campaign, Seaman conceded just 18 goals and kept an impressive 24 clean sheets as Arsenal claimed the league title.

Left Back: Ashley Cole- The sour nature of Ashley Cole's transfer to rivals Chelsea is still fresh in the memory of many Arsenal fans, however, he was and still is a world class left back. He was a product of the famous Arsenal youth academy and progressed into the first team after the departure of Nigel Winterburn. He played a big part in Arsenal's 'invincible' 2003/04 season, Cole was a key member in Arsene Wenger's side; bombing up the left wing regularly and perhaps more importantly his defensive contributions helped Arsenal to an unbeaten league title.

Right Back: Lee Dixon- With 619 appearances to his name, it is safe to say that Lee Dixon is a Gunners legend. Furthermore, he is one of the only players to lob David Seaman from 40 yards- quite possibly, one of the most spectacular own goals ever scored. Dixon will always be remembered for playing the pass that led to a last minute Michael Thomas goal; clinching the league title... at Anfield... in injury time... on goal difference!

Centre Back: Tony Adams- Known simply as Mr. Arsenal. With 14 years as club captain and 10 major trophies to his name, Tony Adams was the central figure at Arsenal during the Graham era and the start of the Wenger reign. He was part of the famous back four and made a total of 669 appearances for the Gunners. As a player, leader and person, Adams was inspirational; he was renowned for being vocal both on and off the pitch, never shying away from a challenge. 

Centre Back: Frank McLintock- When Arsenal asked fans to select an ultimate XI, Frank McLintock was left out, with Sol Campbell making the team. He was also left out of the reserve fantasy XI! Although Campbell was an instrumental part of the Gunners' defence for many years, it is hard to believe that the captain of the double winning side in 1970/71 was omitted. He earned the footballer of the year accolade at the end of the 70/71 campaign, followed by an MBE the next year.

Central Midfield: Liam Brady- Vision, technique and power are all attributes that come to mind when attempting to describe Liam Brady. 'Chippy' was a revelation at Arsenal; turning them from a mid-table side to title contenders. His influence cannot be under-estimated; the Gunners made three successive FA Cup finals in the late 70's and it was in the second of these that Liam Brady epitomised his time at Arsenal, ripping through Manchester United in a thrilling 3-2 win.
Brady was awarded with the PFA player of the year that season, and almost every pundit was in agreement with the choice of player.

Central Midfield: Patrick Viera- Arsenal have made some shrewd signings in the past; Cesc Fabregas for just £500,000, Freddie Ljunberg for only £3million and Lee Dixon for a minuscule £50,000 all spring to mind. However, the signing of Patrick Viera is arguably the greatest piece of transfer business in the clubs history.
The powerful Frenchman took the Premier League by storm after arriving for £3.5million from Italian giants AC Milan in 1996. Viera was one of Wenger's very first signings, and eventually replaced Tony Adams as captain after his retirement. Arsenal have sorely missed Viera ever since his departure in 2005; many players have been bought in to try and fill the void left, but to no avail.

Left Wing: Robert Pires- In the six years that Pires was at Arsenal, he maintained a fantastic record against arch rivals Spurs; scoring eight goals in 12 games and scoring in all but one of the derbies at White Hart Lane. The double winning season of 2001/02 was probably Pires' greatest in an Arsenal shirt, as he scored 13 goals in all competitions and led the assists chart in the Premier League.
Pires was voted FWA Footballer of the year at the end of the campaign and established himself as a Gunners legend. In a recent poll conducted on Arsenal.com Pires was voted the sixth best player in the clubs history by the fans.

Right Wing: Freddie Ljungberg- Like Robert Pires, Ljungberg enjoyed an extremely successful campaign during the 2001/02 season; he scored 17 goals in all competitions, more than any of his other seasons at Arsenal; one of those was the winning goal in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, curling a fantastic effort into the top corner. Ljungberg was another bargain buy of Arsene Wenger's, joining the Gunners from Halmstad BK for a fee of just £3million in 1998.

Striker: Thierry Henry- It was Thierry Henry that bought the 'Va Va Voom' to Highbury when he was signed from Juventus in 1999 for £11million. Although it took Henry a few weeks to settle in England, his first goal at the Dell showed his true quality and he never looked back. Henry is Arsenal's all-time leading goalscorer, with 228 goals and nearly 100 assists in 377 games.
His most iconic moment is perhaps his knee-slide celebration against Tottenham after scoring one of his greatest ever goals; the celebration has since been consigned to history after being made into a statue that sits outside the Emirates stadium.

Striker: Dennis Bergkamp- Many players of finesse and elegance have graced these shores in the last few decades; Cantona and Ginola are just two examples. However, Dennis Bergkamp revolutionised Arsenal as well as English football. His touch was exquisite, his vision was like that of a hawk and his finishing was second to none. Bergkamp scored some incredible goals during his eleven years at the club; his most famous was the goal against Newcastle in 2002, where he used the inside of his left foot to flick the ball around the right side of the defender and then picked the ball up on the other side and coolly slotted home.
Bergkamp also managed to achieve 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the goal of the month competition; a feat which hasn't been replicated since.

 

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Topics:
Arsenal
Premier League
Football

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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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