I’m 21 so my ‘dream team’ can only realistically include players from 1990 onwards. I’m aware (and have seen footage) of players from previous eras and am 100% mindful of their abilities and the impact they have had at Arsenal FC, however it is only fair if I include players I have witnessed first-hand.
I have gone with the conventional 4-4-2 formation, however use your imagination for variations in positioning. I completely appreciate this team will contradict with others’ choices, but one of the main things I love about football is the fact that each and every fan is entitled to their own opinion.
GK: David Seaman
David Seaman was a ‘keeper with incredible reflexes, positioning and bravery; attributes he showed in 564 appearances for the club across more than a decade. He began his career by only conceding 18 goals in 38 games during his first season in Arsenal colours.
Seaman went on to keep a Premier League record 130 clean sheets, winning 9 major honours (3 league championships, 4 FA Cups,1 League Cup and 1 European Cup Winners Cup) between 1990 and 2003.
I most remember David Seaman for his spectacular save from Paul Peschisolido of Sheffield United in the FA Cup Semi-Final of 2003/03, clawing the ball away from the goal from a seemingly impossible position.
I appreciate this may be a controversial choice, however, I believe Lauren is one of the unsung heroes of the Invincibles. He, in fact won five major trophies in seven seasons with the club despite fighting injury for a large portion of that time.
Lauren was a versatile player, who could play on either side of the pitch both in midfield and defence. He was also a reliable player, who combined technical ability with fight and determination.
In his 7 years at the club, Lauren made 241 appearances and scored 9 goals.
CB: Kolo Toure
Like a lot of players in the Arsene Wenger era, Kolo Toure arrived at Arsenal as a relative unknown, touted as a utility player comfortable in midfield or defence.
After a slow start, Kolo quickly established himself as one of the best centre backs in the Premier League, forming formidable partnerships with Sol Campbell, Phillipe Senderos and Pascal Cygan when he played.
He was a hard working, powerful and determined individual who made 322 appearances and scored 14 goals over 7 seasons for the club.
CB: Tony Adams
Nineteen years at the club, fourteen years as captain, 669 appearances, 48 goals and 10 major trophies (including league titles in 3 different decades) for ‘Mr Arsenal’. Enough said.
LB: Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole was an attacking left back at Arsenal, forming a devastating and practically unplayable left side when combining with Robert Pires and Thierry Henry. As time went by he became increasingly impressive defensively, despite his attacking prowess.
In seven years, he made 228 appearances and scored 9 goals for the club, growing from a talented 18 year old to one of the best left backs in the world.
LM: Robert Pires
Brought in as a replacement for Marc Overmars, Pires managed 84 goals in 238 starts for the club. He possessed a playmaker’s vision and a striker’s instinct in equal measure, something which earned him the Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year award during his time in England.
Pires had a lethal combination with Thierry Henry in the early 2000’s, the pair actually scoring 57 goals between them during the unbeaten season of 2003/2004.
One of Arsenal’s finest players during their finest ever period.
CM: Patrick Vieira
Vieira was the heartbeat of Arsenal’s midfield for the best part of a decade. A magnificent ball winner and distributer all the same, both composed and quality on the ball. He made 406 appearances for the club and scored 33 goals between 1996 and 2005.
I think he is most loved for his hearty battles with Roy Keane through-out the tug of war the two teams had over domestic trophies during the period.
CM: Cesc Fabregas
Cesc broke into the team as a 16 year old and made 303 appearances for the club scoring 57 goals and creating many more with his craft, drive and creativity.
Fabregas was a magnificent, mature and mentally strong player who gave everything he could for Arsenal, breaking several records in the process (including youngest player and youngest goal scorer).
RM: Freddie Ljungberg
Freddie Ljungberg fought niggling injuries and migraines to become an integral part of Arsenal’s 49 unbeaten side. He was effective on both flanks as well as in behind the striker due to his agility and technical ability.
Ljungberg was a master of late runs into the box, often proven impossible to mark due to his impeccable timing. All in all he scored 72 goals in 328 appearances for the Gunners.
ST: Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry is a player I could talk about all day. A man with blistering pace and exquisite technique who terrorised Premiership defenders for years and probably still gives them nightmares. Scorer of that flick-up and lob against Manchester United, the 60-yard burst against Tottenham, that mischievous back heel against Charlton and that gem in the Bernabeu amongst over 220 more goals for Arsenal.
Henry is quite simply an incredible player. Arsenal’s greatest ever player, leading goal scorer and the finest player to ever grace the Premiership. Fact.
ST: Dennis Bergkamp
Dennis Bergkamp is said to have redefined football in England’s top flight. A player with immense technical ability and skill whom made each and every act he completed on the football pitch look both easy but also spectacular.
He is the scorer of my favourite ever goal (the swivel at St James’ Park), and also scored 120 Arsenal goals; each more classy and composed than the last. Magician.
Published with permission from O-Posts.