Which of the long list of Arsenal Premier League players are the greatest ever? The Gunners had had some of the greatest players to grace English football in recent memory, although they’ve had some shockers too. It’s a deep pool that includes a team who went undefeated for an entire season as well as recording two doubles in less than a decade.
Whilst success in the league has been fleeting in recent seasons, it hasn’t stopped The Gunners from having some of the world’s best at their disposal in their quest to secure a title that has eluded them since the undefeated 2003/04 season. Having scoured through the dozens of household names from the past 30 years, we have gone to find the top 10 Arsenal Premier League players.
Top 10 Arsenal Premier League players
10. Ashley Cole (1999-2006)
Love him or hate him, Ashley Cole’s footballing ability was undeniable as he rose through the ranks of the Arsenal academy to become one of Europe’s best wingbacks and one of Arsenal’s best Premier League players. Filling the void left by Nigel Winterburn, Cole’s pace gave The Gunners an additional weapon to deploy in counterattacks as well as much needed defensive know-how. This dynamic mix made him a focal point for the Gunners during a time where success came regularly for Arsene Wenger’s side.
His performances were widely commended by fans and pundits alike and saw Cole featured in no less than 3 consecutive PFA Team of the Year selection from 2002-2005. Whilst his move to Chelsea and off-field shenanigans may have turned fans’ opinion on Cole, there is no doubting that he was one of the academy graduates produced by the club in recent memory.
9. Freddie Ljungberg (1998-2007)
If any player represents the blend of style and substance, it’s Freddie Ljungberg. The Calvin Klein modelling Swede often stunned fans with quick pace, stunning strikes from distance and no one will forget the dyed red fringe from his heyday. Ljungberg often had a knack for finding the net and played a big role in the 2001/02 double success netting 17 goals from 39 games and was subequently named Premier League Player of the Season.
Having also earnt a spot in the Premier League Overseas Team of the Decade in 2002, Ljungberg’s impact with the club is clear to see. Now back as a senior coach at The Gunners, many are hoping that the Swede’s knowhow will filter through to the next generation of Arsenal hopefuls.
8. David Seaman (1990-2003)
For the first part of the Premier League era, there was never any doubt as to who was the first choice between the sticks for both Arsenal and England. David Seaman and his trademark ponytail were one of the defining images of English football in the 1990’s, during a time when he made over 400 appearances for the Gunners during a streak that saw him play a key role in 2 league titles and 4 FA Cup wins.
Seaman’s record was outstanding, recording over 130 clean sheets during his time with The Gunners and cementing his place as England number 1. His departure has left a void that Arsenal have struggled to fill ever since. He is the only goalkeeper to make our list of the greatest Arsenal Premier League players.
7. Robert Pires (2000-2006)
With trickery, flair and an eye for goal, Robert Pires was a key part of an Arsenal attack that devastated defences during the early 2000’s. The Frenchman’s attacking threat was ever-present whether it would be providing assists or finishing off moves himself. Pires was arguably Arsenal’s biggest goal threat from midfield during the Invincibles’ campaign, scoring 14 goals in 36 games – a feat he would repeat in 3 successive seasons.
The Frenchman’s reputation never waned with Brazilian great Pele selecting Pires as part of his FIFA 100 selection back in 2004. Pires still associates himself with Arsenal acting as both a coach and scout.
6. Robin Van Persie (2004-2012)
It is hard to think of anyone with a better left foot in Premier League history than Robin Van Persie. The Dutchman could strike with venomous power and deadly accuracy putting together a highlight-reel that most strikers would only dream about. Van Persie scored 96 goals in the Premier League for Arsenal including 38 goals in the calendar year of 2011, a club record.
Whilst he only picked up one trophy with Arsenal, Van Persie’s records speak for themselves in a career that saw him become the all-time top goalscorer for The Netherlands as well as landing two Premier League Golden Boot awards.
5. Ian Wright (1991-1998)
Before he became a familiar face on TV and radio, Ian Wright was proving himself as one of the deadliest footballers in the early days of the Premier League. Having shone at Crystal Palace, Wright’s move to Arsenal coincided with the formation of the Premier League. Wright’s pace and ability in the box wer phenomenal and he recorded three 20 goal seasons with The Gunners during his seven-year stint at the club.
He scored 128 goals in the Premier League en route to breaking Arsenal’s all-time goalscoring record in 1998 with 185, a feat that would remain unmatched until Thierry Henry broke the record again in 2004.
4. Patrick Vieira (1996-2005)
Vieira was at the heart of Arsenal’s success under Arsene Wenger and the Frenchman’s physical strength and eye for a pass made him the focal point of the team. Whilst not a prominent goalscorer, Vieira was able to pick out a pass to set up attacks just as effectively as he could stop them, making him an icon with both teammates and fans. His steely demeanour led to several iconic showdowns with Roy Keane during the intense Arsenal-Manchester United rivalry that are still spoken about to this day.
Vieira’s success is unparalleled in a career that saw him voted into 6 Premier League Team of The Year awards as well as earning a spot in the English Football Hall of Fame in 2014. These achievements alongside a World Cup and European Championships’ Winners Medal ensure that Vieira is ane of the all-time great Arsenal Premier League players.
3. Tony Adams (1983-2002)
Many consider Adams to be one of the most iconic captains in the history of Arsenal. Not only did he have to overcome personal demons, Adams went against some of the best strikers in Premier League history and often came out victorious showing a fearless attitude when protecting the penalty area. His physical presence in the air also helped him dominate at set pieces at both ends of the pitch and would often get attacking moves going from the back.
In addition to lifting 4 league trophies and 3 FA Cups as captain, Adams’ was included in the PFA Team of the Century in 2007 and received a dedicated statue in his honour outside the Emirates Stadium in 2011.
2. Dennis Bergkamp (1995-2006)
One of the first big European names to move to the Premier League, expectations were high when Bergkamp moved to London in 1995. Thankfully, he did not disappoint and the Dutchman’s skill led him to become one of the deadliest strikers in the Premier League. Bergkamp could do just about anything with the ball and has a highlight reel unlike any other. His goal against Newcastle in 2002 was voted as the greatest goal in Premier League history.
Whilst he only scored 87 goals in total for Arsenal, Bergkamp’s legacy in English football is virtually unmatchedand he remains the only Dutch player to have been inaugurated into the English Football Hall of Fame.
1, Thierry Henry (1997-2007, 2012)
With lots of “va-va voom”, Thierry Henry sits proudly atop our list of Arsenal Premier League players. The Frenchman joined with a flourishing reputation from Juventus in 1999 and quickly caught the eyes of fans across the footballing world. His consistency in finding the net was second to none and he won 4 Premier League Golden Boot Awards, including a 30-goal season during the 2003/04 “Invincibles” campaign. This constant success has seen Henry rewrite the Arsenal record books several times and becoming the club’s all-time top scorer with 228 goals, 175 of which were within the Premier League.
Having also set the record for most goals in the French national team alongside winning the World Cup & European Championships, it is safe to say Henry is an all-time great, not just of Arsenal but of football.
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