Picking an Ex-Arsenal XI Who Could Win the Premier League

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2013

Picking an Ex-Arsenal XI Who Could Win the Premier League

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    Since 2005, players who have left Arsenal have won almost 50 major trophies. Could you put together a team out of these players who could win English football's most glittering prize: the Premier League title?

    It wouldn't be the most popular XI. It's rare for a player to leave the Gunners and retain the admiration of their supporters.

    However, it will be a team who would be a able to make a fist of a Premier League title challenge, which is arguably more than could be said for Arsenal's current line-up.

    Go to the next slide to see which players have made the ex-Arsenal XI.

Goalkeeper: Jens Lehmann

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    Arsenal haven't been blessed with many reliable goalkeepers in recent years. When the Gunners allow a goalie to leave, there's usually a good reason behind the decision.

    Manuel Almunia is still playing in the Championship with Watford, although his last few years at Arsenal were full of calamitous mistakes. When Stuart Taylor is occasionally called upon at Reading, he looks as rusty as you'd expect: the majority of his career has been spent on the substitute's bench.

    Call me crazy, but I'd turn to Jens Lehmann. The German has come out of retirement before to aid Arsenal, and could probably be persuaded to pull on the gloves again.

    He is still only 43. With Mark Schwarzer and Brad Friedel showing that longevity is possible between the sticks, I'd back Lehmann to provide a solid base at the heart of this XI.

    If nothing else, he would terrify defenders and oncoming attackers alike.

Right-Back: Emmanuel Eboue

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    Emmanuel Eboue is remembered primarily for lapses in concentration and dancing celebrations.

    It is easy to forget that he was once the Premier League's most exciting attacking full-back. His recent goal against Real Madrid suggested he may be recapturing that form with Galatasaray.

    Eboue would give the team attacking impetus from the defence and provide a constant threat on the wing.

Centre-Back: Kolo Toure

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    Kolo Toure was a Premier League winner with Arsenal in 2004 and with Manchester City in 2012.

    It's no coincidence that his career has been littered with trophies: his style of play marries enormous physical power with intelligent positioning.

    I wanted an experienced centre-back to lead the defence, and Toure edges out William Gallas to secure that spot.

Centre-Back: Alex Song

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    Although primarily known as a holding midfielder, I'd name Alex Song as the second centre-half in this team.

    When he was asked to play in that position at Arsenal he generally impressed, and his class on the ball would enable Arsenal to start their passing game from deep.

    With the more experienced Toure alongside him, Song could be coached into becoming a very effective centre-half.

Left-Back: Ashley Cole

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    Arsenal have produced a litany of left-backs. In this team, a choice had to be made between the pair of Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy.

    Clichy is the quicker of the pair, but he can't match Cole's experience.

    I've opted for the Chelsea man. Eight major trophies since leaving Arsenal speak for themselves.

Right-Midfield: Mathieu Flamini

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    In his time at Arsenal, Mathieu Flamini was known as a utility man.

    Although his preferred position was central midfield, he filled in wherever required, even starring at left-back in Arsenal's run to the 2006 Champions League Final.

    In this team, he'll line up on the right side of midfield, where he can replicate the effervescent style of Gunners great Ray Parlour.

Central Midfield: Lassana Diarra

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    It's easy to forget that Lassana Diarra ever played for Arsenal. He joined in August 2007 and left in January 2008 with only a handful of league appearances to his name.

    However, Diarra has not gone quietly in to the night. Spells with Portsmouth, Real Madrid and Anzhi have yielded four major trophies, including 2012's La Liga title.

    His intelligent passing and tough tackling make him an ideal holding midfielder in this ex-Arsenal XI.

Central Midfield: Cesc Fabregas

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    Cesc Fabregas would naturally sit at the heart of this team.

    Whatever struggles he might have had in Barcelona, there can be no doubting his natural ability. Ten La Liga goals and 10 La Liga assists suggest he's not quite the spent force some would have you believe.

    Reunited with his pal Mathieu Flamini, I'd expect to see the best of Fabregas once more in this XI.

Left-Midfield: Samir Nasri

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    Although he enjoys playing in the centre, many of Samir Nasri's best performances for Arsenal came on the left flank.

    Playing as an auxiliary wide playmaker, he is able to cut in and influence the game on his favoured right foot.

    Like others in this team, he has struggled to replicate his best form since leaving Arsenal, but there can be no doubting his talent.

Centre-Forward: Robin Van Persie

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    Every championship-winning side requires a great goal-scorer. Robin van Persie would be that man.

    In his time at Arsenal, Van Persie matured in to a truly world-class striker. At Manchester United, he has evolved yet further. He is truly one of the globe's great football talents.

    Picking him for this side is a no-brainer.

Centre-Forward: Emmanuel Adebayor

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    Emmanuel Adebayor has not enjoyed his best season with Tottenham, but reunited with his former Arsenal colleagues, he could still be a force in the Premier League.

    His aerial ability would make for a neat contrast to Van Persie's technical style, as well as giving the team a target at set pieces.


    What do you think? Could this team win the Premier League title? Let us know below.