Yesterday marked the 20 year anniversary of Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager and tributes and praise poured in from around the football world for the Frenchman’s extensive service as Arsenal boss.
The Gunners have won three Premier League titles, six FA Cups and have qualified for the Champions League for 20 straight seasons during Wenger’s time at the club but they’ve also had a number of the Premier League’s finest ever players play at the club under Wenger.
Thierry Henry, Denis Bergkamp, Tony Adams, Patrick Viera, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez have all trotted out for the Gunners under Wenger but who makes Arsenal’s all-time starting XI under Le Professeur
UEFA’s All-Time Arsenal XI Under Arsene Wenger
Goalkeeper – David Seaman
Wenger was big fan of Seaman when he came to Arsenal in 1996 and viewed the England international as a key cog in Arsenal’s Premier League and FA Cup double run in 1998.
Seaman was one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League towards the end of the nineties and played 13 seasons with the Gunners before finishing his career with Manchester City in 2004.
Right-Back – Lauren
The Cameroonian defender was brought to Arsenal from Mallorca in the summer of 2000 with Arsenal paying £7.2 million to bring the talented right-back to Highbury.
He won two Premier League titles during his time under Wenger and was a constant fixture in the 2003-2004 ‘Invincibles’ side.
Centre-Back – Sol Campbell
Campbell was one of the best defenders in England when Wenger lured the England centre-back to Arsenal from arch rivals Tottenham Hotspurs in 2001.
Wenger described Campbell as ‘indestructible’ at Spurs and clearly rated him at Arsenal giving the powerful centre-back 142 games in two separate stints at the Gunners spanning six years in total.
Centre-Back – Tony Adams
Adams spent his entire 22 year playing career at Arsenal and is widely considered as one of the greatest Arsenal players of all time.
Adams won four league titles during his time with the Gunners and captained the club to two separate Premiership and FA Cup doubles.
Left-Back – Ashley Cole
Cole was given his professional debut by Wenger as an 18-year-old in November 1999 and quickly established himself as one of the best left-backs in the Premier League in seven success filled seasons at Highbury.
Cole left Arsenal in 2006 to join rivals Chelsea and Wenger later admitted that Cole’s departure was ‘one of the biggest regrets of his career’, in that he was unable to keep the England full-back at the club citing differences between the player’s agent and the club as the primary reason for his departure.
Right-Midfielder – Freddie Ljungberg
A cult hero at Arsenal for his performances and his varying hairstyles, Ljungberg was brought to Highbury in 1998 for £3 million from Halmstads BK after Wenger watched Ljungberg play for Sweden against England on television.
Wenger was quickly rewarded for his gamble with Ljungberg scoring on his debut in a 3-0 league win over Manchester United. Ljungberg was named Premier League Player of the season in 2002 and was a key figure in Arsenal’s 2004 invincible side.
Centre-Midfield – Patrick Viera
Viera was Wenger’s first ever signing at Arsenal and potentially his best, as the French midfielder helped guide the Gunners to three Premier League titles and four FA Cups in his nine seasons at the London club.
Wenger described Viera as a club legend in the 2014 book ‘Invincible’ by Amy Lawrence and added that Viera had everything you needed in a player and captain.
Centre-Midfield – Gilberto
Gilberto joined Arsenal in the summer of 2002 after impressing Wenger at the 2002 FIFA World Cup with winners Brazil.
Gilberto made 237 appearances in six seasons for the Gunners and helped spearhead the Arsenal midfield to the 2004 league title alongside Viera.
Left-Midfield – Robert Pires
Pires was brought to Arsenal as Marc Overmars replacement after the dutch international left the Gunners for Barcelona in the summer of 2000.
While the Frenchman struggled initially in his first season at the club, he went on to enjoy six stellar seasons at Highbury scoring 84 goals in 234 games before leaving for Villareal in 2006.
Striker – Denis Bergkamp
Described by Wenger as the ‘intelligent perfectionist’, Bergkamp will go down in Arsenal and Premier League history as one of the greatest ever forwards to play in England.
Bergkamp came to Arsenal from Inter the year before Wenger arrived in 1996, but would soon form a terrifying on-field partnership with Thierry Henry up front before retiring from football in 2006.
Striker – Thierry Henry
Arguably the greatest forward to play in the Premier League. 369 appearances. 226 goals.
Two Premier League medals. Three FA Cups. Henry is Arsenal’s greatest ever striker and is immortalised at the Emirates with a statue outside the front of the stadium.
Substitutes – Jens Lehman, Kolo Toure, Cesc Fabregas, Marc Overmars, Mesut Ozil, Ian Wright, Nwankwo Kanu
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena