Who are the best Arsenal players in history? Let’s dive into this great club’s past and see the most brilliant players ever to wear the red shirt.
Arsenal is a football club founded in 1886 in London, England. Being champions on 13 different occasions, the Gunners built themselves a reputation of a football giant. They have never won the Champions League, but they remain one of the biggest clubs in England. They currently hold the record for the most FA Cup wins in history – 14.
Some fantastic players wore the Arsenal shirt since the foundation of the club. Let’s see 10 of the absolute best of them.
A product of Arsenal’s youth academy, David Rocastle spent seven seasons at the Highbury between 1985 and 1992. Nicknamed “Rocky” by the fans, Rocastle proved to be one of the decent midfielders in English football. He helped the Gunners win the title twice in 1989 and 1991. Sadly, David Rocastle died just 33-years of age because of cancer. He remains one of Arsenal’s best players of all-time.
Born and raised in Scotland, Alex James became one of the early Arsenal legends. Playing as a forward, James didn’t score many goals for the club, but his true ability was to create chances for his teammates. The legendary Tom Finney once described James as “pure magic.”
Spending seven years at Arsenal in the ’70s, Liam Brady entertained the Gunners’ supporters as an attacking midfielder. He had an impressive left foot and graceful technique, which quickly turned him into a fan favorite. Liam Brady helped Arsenal win the FA Cup in 1979 when the Gunners beat Manchester United in the final at Wembley.
Regarded as one of the best English goalkeepers in history, David Seaman is a player who recorded more than 560 matches for Arsenal. A true symbol of the club, Seaman won three league titles with the club. But that’s not all. “Safe Hands” also lifted four times the FA Cup trophy and won the Cup Winners Cup.
In his prime, Patrick Vieira was a different animal. The French midfielder was bossing the midfield in most of his matches, thanks to his impressive physicality. With a height of over 192 cm, Vieira was a beast in the center of the pitch but also technically good enough to fit Arsene Wenger’s football philosophy. He left the club in 2005 to join Juventus, and that’s a hole that Arsenal never really filled in.
As you know, some players just know how to play this game in the most beautiful way. Robert Pires is one of these guys. A player with breathtaking grace, Pires will always be remembered by the fans for his finesse and elegance. An important part of Arsenal’s Invincibles, Robert Pires was a pure joy to watch. Sadly, he had to leave the pitch early in the Champions League final against Barcelona because of Lehmann’s red card. Now he’s remembered as one of the famous Arsenal players from the past.
When you spend 18 years at the same club, well – that’s really something, isn’t it? Being a mastodont at the centre-back position, Tony Adams never played for a different club than Arsenal in his career. He was a player with never-ending passion, and his spirit was often infecting his teammates as well. In 2004 Adams was accepted in the Hall of Fame of English football, and nobody doubts that he deserves it. When we speak about the Arsenal new players, they should learn from Adams about loyalty.
Ian Wright spent just seven years at Arsenal, but these years were truly magical. The striker left his mark at the Highbury as he managed to score 185 goals in 288 games for the club – an impressive rate for any striker. He’s arguably one of the finest strikers in Arsenal’s history, while now he continues to work in the football field as a pundit.
When in 1995 Arsenal paid a record fee for Dennis Bergkamp, fans were baffled. After all, he didn’t impress that much during his time at Inter Milan. The Dutch international was labeled a failure at the San Siro, but it didn’t stop Arsene Wenger from paying 7.5 million pounds for him – a record fee for the club. And it was one of the best decisions Wenger ever made in his life. Bergkamp turned into a total legend of Arsenal and the Premier League thanks to the magical way he played the game. His technique and vision were out of this world, and he scored some extraordinary goals. Now he has a statue of himself just outside the Emirates stadium.
When we talk about Thierry Henry, we talk about the greatest striker in Arsenal’s history. Just like Bergkamp, Henry arrived in England after a disappointing spell in Serie A. Things didn’t work out for him at Juventus, but he truly burst into blossom in England. The Frenchman scored 226 goals for the club in all competitions and became one of the Premier League’s biggest legends. Henry single-handedly led Arsenal to the Champions League final in 2006 and won twice the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award. Like Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry is one of the players who have their own statue outside the Emirates Stadium.
Honorable Mention: Cliff Bastin
Many young Arsenal fans probably don’t know who Cliff Bastin is. Still, this talented left winger was among the club’s brightest stars between 1929 and 1947. Bastin participated in 350 league games for the Gunners, finding the net 184 times. Until today, he’s still Arsenal’s third-highest goalscorer of all time. While playing in the red shirt, Cliff Bastin won the English First Division five times and triumphed in the FA Cup. Today he’s part of the English Football Hall of Fame. We will always remember Cliff Bastin as one of the Arsenal best football players.
Honorable Mention: Robin van Persie
Despite the contradiction he caused with his move to Manchester United, Robin van Persie remains one of Arsenal’s most brilliant forwards in the last few decades. The Dutch striker had a magnificent left foot capable of doing miracles with the ball. He performed best during the 2011/12 season, scoring 37 goals in 48 appearances. If injuries didn’t slow him down, Van Persie could have been an even bigger star in football. He’s surely one of the Arsenal FC best players in the new century.
These are the best Arsenal players we could think of. Do you agree with our list?
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