Arsenal is one of the biggest and most followed club in England. Many great players have played for them in their rich, trophy-laden history. In this article, let us have a look at some of the greatest Arsenal players ever.
Taking into account some important aspects like quality, loyalty and contribution to the club. Here are the 12 greatest Arsenal players ever –
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12. Charlie George
George supported Arsenal as a boy and played for Islington Schoolboys before joining his favoured club in May 1966. He turned professional in 1968 and made his first-team debut for the club on 9 August 1969 against Everton.
He delivered one of the greatest moments in the club’s history when he sealed the club’s first Double in 1970-71 with a wonderful strike past Liverpool’s Ray Clemence in extra-time of the FA Cup final.
George’s FA Cup heroics should have provided the platform for greatness. Unfortunately inconsistency, likely caused by a series of niggling injuries, blighted George and his brilliance came only in flashes.
11. Pat Jennings
Pat Jennings achieved the rare feat of legendary status both at Arsenal and Tottenham for his brilliance as a goalkeeper.The Irishman was Tottenham’s no.1 for 13 years before spending eight years with Arsenal.
Calm and assured, Jennings was blessed with a positional sense which meant he barely needed to resort to the spectacular. Jennings was a master of the one-on-one, standing up long enough to narrow the angle and make things as difficult as possible for onrushing strikers.
Forced out of Tottenham in 1977 but it was Arsenal’s gain as he proved why he is one of the best goalkeepers of all time. He won only one trophy with the Gunners – the FA Cup in 1979, but still did enough to be regarded as one of the greatest Arsenal players ever.
10. Ted Drake
Drake topped the scoring charts in each of his five full seasons in north London ending his spell at the club with a tally of 136 goals from 182 games.
In 1935–36 Drake scored seven in a single match against Aston Villa at Villa Park on 14 December 1935, a club record and top flight record that also still stands.
He spent 11 years with the club and helped the team to two league titles and an FA Cup.
9. Liam Brady
One of the great playmaker of his generation with the ability to spot and execute perfect passes. He had everything a midfielder could want – skill, vision, balance, strength, a powerful shot and the ability to glide past opponents at will. Like all great players he always had time on the ball and almost always chose the right option.
He was voted Arsenal’s player of the year twice, PFA Players’ player of the year once, was included in the PFA team of the year thrice. After spending seven years with the club, he left the club for Juventus in 1980. He only won one silverware – FA Cup in 1979, during his time with the club.
8. Cliff Bastin
Cliff Bastin joined Arsenal in 1929 after playing one-year of professional football with Exeter City. Bastin played the rest of his career at Arsenal, and formed an integral part of the side that dominated English football in the 1930s.
He scored 178 goals in 395 games, which made him Arsenal’s all-time top goalscorer from 1939 until 1997, when his total was surpassed by Ian Wright.
With Arsenal, Bastin won the FA Cup twice, in 1929-30 and 1935-36, and the First Division title five times, in 1930-31, 1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35 and 1937-38. Without any doubt, he is among the greatest Arsenal players ever.
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7. David Seaman
Arsenal signed seaman in 1990 for £1.3 million, with John Lukic(Arsenal’s goalkeeper then) heading the opposite way on loan. Lukic was very popular among Arsenal’s fans and they didn’t like the deal.
“We all agree… Lukic is better than Seaman!” rang around Highbury in the months that preceded the swoop that summer. But the decision taken by manager George Graham was emphatically proved right.
Seaman’s sustained excellence won over the fans in no time and he became the cornerstone of an Arsenal back five which kept 23 clean sheets and conceded just 18 goals en route to the 1990/91 league title.In thirteen-years with the club, Seaman won 3 league titles and 4 FA Cups.
6. Robert Pires
Pires arrived as the replacement for Marc Overmars and duly proved himself to be a considerable upgrade.
Initially, Pirès’ form was indifferent, and some people criticised him after his comments that the English game was too physical. However, he slowly began to regain the form he had shown at his previous club-Metz, scoring a superb solo goal against Lazio in the 2000–01 Champions League,and the winner against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup semi-finals.
After spening six years and winning 2 league titles ,3 FA Cups, Pires left the club in 2006 for Villarreal.
5. Ian Wright
Wright signed for Arsenal in September 1991 for £2.5m, which was at the time a club record fee. He scored on his debut against Leicester City in a League Cup tie, and then scored a hat-trick on his League debut against Southampton.
The 1997/98 campaign – his last in an Arsenal shirt – was a rollercoaster ride. Wright was sidelined for much of the season by injuries and the emergence of Nicolas Anelka. But he ended the season with a long-awaited championship medal and, of course, the mantle of Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer after eclipsing Cliff Bastin on September 13, 1997. He finished his club career with 313 goals in all competitions.
4. Patrick Vieira
Vieira was a complete, powerful, tenacious and aggressive footballer, with outstanding physical, athletic and technical attributes.A true leader on the pitch in the best side in Arsenal’s history.
Later in his Arsenal career the Frenchman slipped home a third-minute opener as Wenger’s side clinched the title at White Hart Lane, and he netted the decisive goal to conclude the ‘Invincible’ season, against Leicester City at Highbury.
The Frenchman ended his Arsenal career with 3 league titles and 4 FA Cups.Probably left too early and it’s no coincidence that the club haven’t won the Premier League since his departure.
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3. Dennis Bergkamp
Bergkamp became manager Bruce Rioch’s first signing at Arsenal and broke the club’s transfer fee record set at £2.5 million. His arrival at the club was significant not only because he was an established international footballer who looked to have his best years ahead of him but also because he was a major contributor to Arsenal’s return to success after much decline in the mid-1990s.
Bergkamp redefined football in England’s top division. His textbook technique, physical prowess and second-nature for picking out the killer pass made him the ultimate symbol of fantasy football.
Bergkamp plundered 120 goals in his time with Arsenal, making him the 10th highest goalscorer in the club’s history; quite the achievement for a man who doesn’t do tap-ins.
With Arsenall he won three Premier League titles, four FA Cup trophies, and reached the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final, which marked his last appearance as a player.
2. Tony Adams
Adams was the ultimate one-club man – a rarity in modern football – and a rock at the heart of Arsenal’s defence. He thrived as the leader of the famous Back Four, developing an instinctive understanding with his centre-back partner Steve Bould and full-backs Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn. On an individual level, it’s hard to think of a more committed, more gutsy and more inspirational footballer in Arsenal’s history.
Fourteen years as captain, 669 appearances and 10 major trophies, including league titles in three different decades. He is the only player in English football history to have captained a title-winning team in three different decades.
It’s no surprise that ‘Mr. Arsenal’ is regarded as one of the greatest Arsenal players ever.
1. Thierry Henry
Arsenal’s club record scorer with 228 goals scored in just about every way possible. The Frenchman had exquisite technique, searing pace and surprising strength. And like the typical schoolboy superstar, he did pretty much everything for his team. Henry was the talisman, the dead-ball expert, the penalty-taker and the assist-maker.
The Frenchman was unplayable at times, capable of scoring from anywhere and terrorising defences all over the continent, especially when he drifted out left to pick up possession and run at retreating opponents.
He won two league titles, three FA Cups, four golden boots and five player of the year awards – he would be considered a great in any era.
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