The Buy Well Team
Dixon Toure Campbell Sansom
Llungberg Cazorla Vieira Pires
Spend money, Arsenal
Ok, our best ever buys put into a team. There is no way I can win with this one as everyone has their favourites and of course, I can go back further than a lot of you, but I am going to give it a go. I have a few rules as it is impossible to talk truly about players before your time as coverage was very restricted when I was growing up. You pretty much had to go to a live match to see it and 15 minutes on Match of the Day didn’t really give true pictures. So I am choosing players from 1969 onwards and also not choosing players who came to Arsenal very young, like Fabregas. Also not choosing players like Keown who started at Arsenal but was bought from Everton after not quite making it first time around. So if you wish to choose your own they are the rules. Also I am going 4 4 2 because it suits the team.
Right from the start I am going to say that I have not chosen any current player simply because none have proven themselves to be Arsenal legends yet but feel free to choose one if think they are better than my choices.
Big Pat Or big David or Big Jens?
And so goalkeeper. In fact we have not brought through many goalkeepers so all the big names are available. I am going to say the top three are Lehmann, Seaman and my choice, Pat Jennings, possibly because he was foolishly discarded by Tottenham and went on to become a legend with Arsenal. So one Irishman makes the cut and he is the only one. He helped make Northern Ireland legends for their World cup exploits and played, it seemed, forever. But in truth, all 3 candidates are top class and it is difficult to say truly, which is the best.
Huge hands Pat for Goalie
I am going to go with Lee Dixon for right back as Pat Rice started at Arsenal and cannot appear on this list and truly it is hard to put someone in front of a guy who won 4 league championships, 2 FA cups and one European Cupwinners cup. Viv Anderson and Lauren were challengers but I would just about put Dixon in front. He set up the vital goal for Arsenal v Liverpool in 1989 as well so he deserves the nod.
One of our best
I feel Kenny Sansom for left back with Nigel Winterburn as runner up. 86 appearances for England over Winterburn’s one gives him the position I feel. He was classy and as a full back won player of the year in 1981. Full backs don’t win player of the year.
Centre backs and defensive midfielders are a bit tricky
For centre backs I am going to go with Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure simply because they were superb together. Steve Bould is a possible but he never truly became first choice and only got 2 England caps. Frank McLintock also pulled up stumps for us as captain and was a strong choice. We brought through plenty of legends of our own in this position, Tony Adams, David O’Leary and Terry Neill spring to mind. Not available for this team, though.
They never let us down
The midfield 2 for me are Patrick Vieira and Santi Cazorla. Vieira will be everybody’s choice, of course, as one of Arsenal’s greatest ever. Santi, for me, was special. Emanuel Pettit was of course a contender but he didn’t stay too long at Arsenal. Alan Ball also but I feel his best days were behind him at Arsenal.
Little - Cazorla
And Large - Vieira
Wingers are easier to pick
Freddie Ljungberg as right winger/midfielder although he could play both sides. One of Wenger’s greatest buys, everyone loved Freddie. I feel the only real serious contender was Marc Overmars but he didn’t stay too long at Arsenal.
Robert Pires as leftwinger/midfield. I think an easy choice. Voted Arsenal’s 6th best player of all time, he was everything you need in his position. He scored goals, got penalties, created assists and won lots of trophies.
As are Strikers
Dennis Bergkamp as striker. What can I say? He could do things nobody else could. All his teammates said he was an amazing footballer. Thierry Henry, when asked who was the best player he ever played with, said the Dutchman. That tells you everything when you think of the legends he played with for France and Barcelona.
And Thierry Henry alongside him. He invented the art of only scoring great goals. He could score a hat trick and all of them could be contenders for goal of the month. Widely regarded as probably the best player ever in the Premier league, he is the easiest pick of the day.
And those left out?
Ian Wright omitted? Yes, but what could I do? However, supposing he had come from Palace at 21 instead of 27? His goal record would be well in front of Henry’s and may have made my choice harder. Still, I doubt if I would have put him in front of Bergkamp or Henry.
Ozil was another possible as, at his best, he was excellent, his ability to create was unsurpassed but he just didn’t do enough to get into the team. I feel modern young fans don’t appreciate how good he was.
The heart of the Invincibles
You may have noticed that this is also the essence of the Invincibles and that is inevitable. Any team that can keep their game to such a high consistent level have to be top class. And a lot were bought by Wenger who would, of course be manager of this team having been bought from Grampus 8.
So buying is good, without them Arsenal would have been a far poorer team. Next week I am going to go for the best home grown side and see how they shape up against this team.
Of course, few would regard this as Arsenal’s best ever side because some legends were home grown but it would give any team a hard game. So, what do people think? Have I got it right?
Where can we finish update.
Never predict football matches, it is the road to poverty. Now we have got to do it the Arsenal way, the hard way that turns Arsenal fans old before their time. I have a secret to confess, I am really only 21 years old, the grey hairs have been given to me by Arsenal. Of course we can still do it but we must go on a run, Chelsea and Man Utd are the right start in one sense as the pressure is less against top teams and they will give you chances. The problem is our weakened defence. I think we will concede in both games. We have to score and we don’t seem all that good at scoring. We are the lowest scorers in the top 7. However, I am going to add to my 21 year old grey hairs by saying 4 points to keep us in the hunt.