Arsenal: 5 greatest ever players


The return of the King at Arsenal has got everyone talking in football, not just those based in the red half of north London.

Concerns over Thierry Henry damaging his own legacy at the Emirates Stadium were quickly dispelled by Arsene Wenger though, with the Frenchman believing the club's record-goalscorer can only add to his reputation by coming back on a two-month loan deal.

But can Henry only go backwards? Is he already their greatest player? GiveMeFootball picks its own top five, and remembers their defining moment as a Gunner.

1. Thierry Henry

Could it be anyone else. The 34-year-old might be the player he once was, but his goalscoring (and swearing) return has been greeted with overwhelming joy at the Emirates.

The stats tell the story, with Henry scoring 226 goals in 380 appearances for the club during an eight-year spell between 1999 and 2007. He's added one more to the goal tally with the winner against Leeds in the FA Cup last Monday.

Honours weren't far away either, as Henry helped the club to two league and FA Cup crowns, including the 'invincibles' season of 2004. Quite simply, a living legend.

GREATEST MOMENT: So many moments to choose from, but his flick and shot from 25-yards past Fabian Barthez was a classic at a time when little separated the two great rival teams.

2. Tony Adams

Nicknamed Mr Arsenal, the central defender spent 18 years as a professional with the club, making 669 appearances in all competitions and winning four league titles.

Adams was captain at Highbury for 14 years, helping the club make the successful transition from old Division One to the Premier League and becoming a lynchpin in Arsene Wenger's side following his arrival at the club.

Dubbed 'my colossus' and 'professor of defence' by two separate managers at the club, Adams has been honoured, like Henry, with a statue outside the Emirates Stadium.

GREATEST MOMENT: Despite being a centre back, his winner against Everton in the last game of the 1997-98 season remains an everlasting image of the 66-cap England international.

3. Ian Wright

Born in Woolwich, it seems only fitting that Wright enjoyed seven-years of success with the club after his £2.5 million move from Crystal Palace in 1991.

185 goals in 288 appearances showed his natural ability in-front of goal - if he had played 100 more games for the club, would he still be ahead of Henry in the scoring charts?

A firm fans favourite throughout his time at the club, a brief spell alongside Dennis Bergkamp was arguably the highlight, and one of the great periods in the club's history.

GREATEST MOMENT: 179 - Just Done It.

4. Dennis Bergkamp

The non-flying Dutchman was a joy to behold not just for Arsenal, but English football in general during 11 years of magic for the club.

Whilst 120 goals in 423 games isn't a record to be ashamed of, it was Bergkamp's creativity that made him such a special talent, creating plenty of others for Wright and Henry to take the plaudits.

When he did score, they were rarely tap-in's though, with a career full of highlight-reel moments for club and country. He claimed three league and FA Cup winners medals during his time with Arsenal.

GREATEST MOMENT: In a career full of stunners, two goals stick out. One of which, the flick round a defender and smart finish against Newcastle, has been axed. The other, a breathtaking piece of control before beating a Leicester defender and firing past Kasey Keller, gets the nod. Quite stunning in a 3-3 draw.

5. Cliff Bastin

Whilst the most recent period of success is etched in our memories, it's important not to forget the early glory that came Arsenal's way, particularly in the 1930s.

Bastin was key to the success, scoring 178 goals in 396 appearances from the 'outside left' position. His 17-year career with the club was blighted by two key factors - injury and World War II. But for those, his tally could have been much higher and harder for Henry and Wright to break.

Five league titles and two FA Cup winners medals would come his way, along with 21 caps for England. He died in 1991 at the age of 79.

GREATEST MOMENT: Herbert Chapman spots a teenager at Exeter City, and in the summer of 1929 bring the player to Highbury. 'Boy' Bastin would go on to build his legend from this point.

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