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Arsenal: 20 Most Entertaining Players in Gunners History

Mohamed Al-HendyCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2011

Arsenal: 20 Most Entertaining Players in Gunners History

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    In the Premier League, it's hard to say there are better entertainers than Arsenal. Manchester City are slowly developing a reputation for high-scoring, fast-paced football, but just one year ago, they were seemingly all about grinding out 1-0 and 2-1 wins.

    The Gunners, on the other hand, have been playing silky smooth passing football since Arsene Wenger was installed as manager in 1996. Many of us would hope that Wenger would occasionally grind out a result against the tougher teams in the world, but the professor has remained dedicated to his attacking philosophy from Day 1.

    Of course, some players have fit better into this philosophy than others. Ahead are the 20 most entertaining players to play for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal.

20. Charlie George

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    Taken from Arsenal FC Callum D'Souza:

    Charlie George was a tough, efficient forward who had a somewhat amusing rebellious streak.

    The Englishman became a renowned Arsenal player during his impressive displays during the 1970s but had his share of suspensions—most notably foolishly headbutting Liverpool's Kevin Keegan while giving the "V" to Derby County fans during a match (a club he would later join).

    Nonetheless, George, with his long locks, was loved at Arsenal despite his temperament.

    In addition to his efficiency, George was known for his creativity, which allowed him to recreate himself as an attacking midfielder at the age of 20 after suffering a major ankle injury in 1969.

    His crowning moment came deep into extra-time at the 1971 FA Cup Final. With the scores locked at 1-1, Charlie George sent a thunderous 20-yard drive beyond the reach of Ray Clemence in the Liverpool goal sealing a first ‘Double’ for Arsenal.

    The celebration that followed—George fell to the ground with his arms outstretched above his headis one of the most rousing images in the history of Arsenal.

    Unfortunately, despite his amazing early success and young age, George's career only went downhill from there, as a productive spell at Derby ended without any silverware, and George spent the rest of his career hopping unsuccessfully from club to club.

19: Nicholas Anelka

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    Again, going back to Callum D'Souza:

    A very talented player who has achieved much in a long and efficient career, Anelka blossomed under Wenger, particularly during the 1998/1999 season in which the Frenchman achieved 18 goals in 45 appearances and secured the PFA Young Player of the Year.

    However, Anelka was regarded as a bizarre, sulky presence who would often indulge in temper tantrums and needless disputes with teammates over minor problems.

    Despite his temper, though, there was talent within the tantrums. But the Chelsea ace was quite the odd presence during his short yet clinical Arsenal spell.

    Just about sums it up pretty well I'd say. Along with Charlie George, Anelka will always be one of those Arsenal "What If" players. But in his time with Arsenal, he was definitely quite the entertainer, in terms of quality of play on the field.

18: Lee Dixon

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    Lee Dixon was undoubtedly the best right back to ever play for Arsenal.

    During an Arsenal career that spanned over 14 seasons, Dixon won two First Division titles, two Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup and one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. He was also named to the PFA Team of the Year in 1990.

    Dixon was part of the famous Arsenal defense composed of Nigel Winterburn, Tony Adams, Steve Bould and later, Martin Keown. He was renowned for his consistency in defense and his great crossing in attack.

    There are plenty of entertaining moments which Lee Dixon is remembered for, but Dixon is probably best remembered for starting the play against Liverpool in 1988-89 that won Arsenal the title on the last day of the season with no more than a few seconds left in the game.

17: Ashley Cole

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    Prior to his acrimonious departure to Chelsea, Ashley Cole was highly regarded among Arsenal fans, and without a doubt one of the best left backs to ever play for Arsenal.

    He helped Arsenal complete the Premier League-FA Cup double in 2001-02, was part of the Premier League-winning "Invincibles" squad of 2003-04 and won two more FA Cups with Arsenal in 2003 and 2005.

    During his time at Arsenal, he was selected to the PFA Team of the Year in 2002, 2004 and 2005, and was also selected to the UEFA Team of the Year in 2004.

    Now at Chelsea, it seems Ashley Cole took his winning ways with him when he left the club. Since moving to Chelsea, Cole has won three FA Cups, one Premier League title, and one League Cup title.

    On an individual level, he was selected to the UEFA Team of the Year again in 2010, was selected as England Player of the Year in 2010 and has been voted Chelsea's Players' Player of the Season for the 2008-09 and 2010-11 seasons. He's become the most capped full back in English history as well. 

16: Emmanuel Petit

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    Emmanuel Petit was one of the earliest Wenger purchases, and one of the most succesful.

    Petit's hard combative edge was balanced out by his smooth, flowing hairstyle; he really was a total footballer.

    Le Professor's decision to create a defensive midfielder from this centre-back immediately paid dividends, with Arsenal winning the double in his debut season. Three further years cemented his place as a fan favourite that not even a career at Chelsea could destroy.

    Before going to Chelsea, though, Petit would spend a season at Barcelona, a season so bad that it led him to declare that leaving Arsenal for Barcelona was one of his biggest regrets.

    Sounds a lot like Aleksandr Hleb...

15: Robin Van Persie

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    I don't think it can be overstated just how important Robin Van Persie is to Arsenal's current squad.

    He is Arsenal's main goalscorer, captain and the one undeniably world-class player currently at Arsenal.

    His list of personal honors is nothing to scoff at either: He's won the FA Premier League Player of the Month in November 2005, October 2009; Rotterdam Sportsman of the Year in 2006; Euro 2008 Bronze Boot; Arsenal Top Goalscorer 2006-2007, 2008-2009 and 2010-2011; Arsenal Player of the Season in 2008-2009.

    Unfortunately, for all his personal honors, RVP's only real piece of silverware at Arsenal has been the FA Cup of 2005. He'll be looking to change that this year, or possibly explore his options elsewhere.

    His statistical record at Arsenal has been very impressive: He has scored 104 goals and recorded 36 assists in 243 appearances, and has recorded 25 goals in 60 appearances for the Netherlands.

14: John Radford

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    Not the most flamboyant of strikers, John Radford was nonetheless a very effective one.

    In an Arsenal career that spanned over 12 years, he played 475 matches and bagged 149 goals (a tally that puts him fourth in Arsenal’s over a century of goal-scoring ranking).

    Radford made his professional debut in 1964, but received only one match in his first season. His second was better: 15 matches and a record that still stands today. Aged 17 years and 315 days, the forward from Yorkshire bagged three goals against Wolverhampton to become the youngest player to score a hat trick for Arsenal.

    As he matured, his knack for goals did not wane.

    Radford kept scoring goals, sometimes even when Berite Mee utilized him out-of-position, but he also had another side to him that benefited the team—he had the ability make the killer pass, the assist.

    He also had the useful ability to occupy oppositional defenders, giving freedom for his team-mates to operate. Charlie George, Joe Baker, Ray Kennedy and George Graham all had the pleasure to shine alongside Radford who was busy with the dirty work.

    Eyes inevitably turned toward Radford once in a while in recognition for his contributions.

    One such case was the FA Cup final in 1971. On paper, Eddie Kelly and Charlie George have given Arsenal the victory, but it was John Radford who provided the assists.

    By that time, Radford’s love affair with goals had been spotted by England’s manager Sir Alf Ramsey. He was called up to represent his country but only managed two caps in two years.

    Not put off by his lack of luck on international scale, Radford continued to casually escort the ball back to the net for his club in the following seasons.

    As the Arsenal double winning side of 1971 began to disband in the mid-'70s, so the form of Radford began to diminish, and after an injury-ridden 1975/76 season, he moved on to greener pastures, putting an end to his Arsenal career.

    Credit goes to Stefan Vasilev for some great work here.

13: Cesc Fabregas

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    For many Arsenal fans, Cesc Fabregas is one of the last names they want to see on lists such as there. But there is no denying his quality.

    When Vieira was sold to Juventus for €20 million in 2005, Cesc Fabregas was finally given the opportunity to claim a regular spot in the starting lineup and show the world his true skill. Though he would not set the Premier League alight in his first season as a starter, he would prove himself to be a world-class midfielder in the subsequent seasons.

    Unfortunately, despite establishing himself as a world-class midfielder in recent seasons, Cesc Fabregas has only managed to pick up one trophy at Arsenal, the FA Cup in his first season as a regular member of the first team squad (2004).

    Since then, he has lost a Champions League final against Barcelona in 2006, a League Cup final against Chelsea in 2007 and most recently, a League Cup final against Birmingham City in 2011.

    Cesc Fabregas, despite his lack of club success, has won numerous individual awards during his time at Arsenal. He has been named to the PFA Team of the Year twice, the UEFA Team of the Year twice and won the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2007-08.

    Unfortunately, personal awards were not enough to convince the Catalan midfielder to stay on with Arsenal, and in the summer of 2011, he decided to make the move back home to world champions FC Barcelona

12: Ray Parlour

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    "Don't worry, it's only Ray Parlour." Those were the words of one of the most infamous calls in recent memory.

    Tim Lovejoy uttered these very words just before Parlour launched a 30-yard screamer that put Arsenal ahead in the 2002 FA Cup Final, which would turn out to be the last hurrah for many Arsenal greats.

    But it was a 12-year career filled with 339 league appearances that has made him a club legend, and his incredible stamina and devotion to the cause gave him consistent places in the Arsenal team despite the fact that he was not the most naturally talented player on the pitch.

    That memorable goal against Chelsea nine years ago merely served as the exclamation point towards the end of the career of a fan-favorite.

    Credit goes to Charlie Melman for his slide on Ray Parlour here.

11: Kanu

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    Kanu joined the Gunners in the wake of Nicolas Anelka’s departure to Real Madrid and, at first, failed to woo the crowd with his languid demeanour around the pitch. Soon, though, Kanu’s attributes became apparent, and the cheeky smile he carried with him throughout won over the Highbury faithful.

    Kanu could operate both as a target man or as a deep-sitting conductor of play. He had the ability to bamboozle defenders in the blink of an eye, using superb close control to wriggle out of tight spots. He was often the scorer of great goals, too.

    His delicious flick-of-the heel goal in a 6-1 rout against Middlesbrough springs straight to mind, as does the time in a North London derby when he scooped the ball over a despairing Luke Young before emphatically burying the ball beyond Ian Walker.

    However, the moment Kanu will best be remembered for was the mesmeric finale to a 17-minute hat-trick at Stamford Bridge in 1999. Having already notched twice to haul Arsenal level with Chelsea, the Nigerian sealed victory with one of the finest goals in the history of the Premier League. He won possession by the left by-line and found himself faced with, first, an out of position goalkeeper, then two defenders and a narrowing angle. Ed de Goey was slithered past with a subtle shimmy before Kanu unleashed a curling effort which arrowed into the far top corner.

    The points were Arsenal’s, and a place in the Arsenal’s history was Kanu’s. For his commitment to the cause while at Arsenal, Kanu was voted as the 13th Greatest Arsenal Player ever by Arsenal fans in 2004.

10: David Rocastle

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    Possessing electrifying pace, poise and sharpness, David Rocastle fit perfectly into the image of the ideal versatile midfield player.

    The Lewisham-born Londoner signed his professional contract with the Gunners in 1984 and soon after began to put a stamp on Arsenal's style. In his first season, he made 26 appearances and scored a goal.

    His reign in the first-team remained uninterrupted during the following two years, his efforts finally capitalizing in a much-deserved reward in 1989, when Arsenal snatched the title under the noses of a stunned Liverpool.

    With the tear of the 80s page on the calendar, a tint of inconsistency began to creep into Rocastle's performances. Faced with this small hurdle, Rocastle resolutely fought back to reach top form again. A year later, in 1991, in spite of a niggling knee injury, a short cameo of 18 games was enough to ensure his vital role in Arsenal winning the title yet again.

    His last season with Arsenal was stamped with flawless partnership with Andres Limpar and Paul Merson, which provided a bottomless sea of goal-scoring opportunities. Then, he was sold to Leeds United to pave the path of short-lived stints with several other teams until the end of his career.

    David Rocastle was an iconic midfielder for Arsenal, serving them for eight years in 228 matches.

    In 2001, he lost the short battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer which attacks the immune system. He was only 33. 

    Credit once again to Stefan Vasilev for his work here.

9: Marc Overmars

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    Though he only played three seasons with Arsenal, Marc Overmars marked his place in Arsenal history by scoring in the 1998 FA Cup and then scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Manchester United in the 1997-98 season to seal the title for Arsenal and complete the domestic double.

    Marc Overmars was known for his incredible speed, and left for Barcelona in the summer of 2000 for €40.6 million, making him the most expensive Dutchman of all time.

8: Freddie Ljungberg

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    Though he's become somewhat of a veteran journeyman in recent years with spells with the Seattle Sounders, Chicago Fire and most recently Celtic, Ljungberg was a consistent and regular performer for Arsenal during his nine seasons with the club.

    Ironically, Marc Overmars was the player who Freddie Ljungberg played behind when he first joined the club. Initially used as a utlity man, Ljungberg only became a regular member of the starting lineup following Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit's departure to Barcelona in the summer of 2000.

    The 2001-02 season was when Ljungberg really shone. Following an injury to Arsenal's other high-scoring winger at the time, Robert Pires, Ljungberg took over the scoring load and even scored the second clinching goal against Chelsea in the FA Cup Final. Arsenal won the Double that season.

    Although Ljungberg never again reached the heights he hit that season, he was able to be a regular contributor to that Arsenal cause in subsequent seasons, winning two more FA Cups and the Premier League title with the Invincibles.

    Unfortunately, Ljungberg was always injury prone, and his injuries finally caught up with him in the 2006-07 season. He was limited to only 18 league appearances and zero goals, and he was thus sold to West Ham in the summer of 2007.   

7: Ted Drake

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    A classic centre-forward, Ted Drake was one of the most feared footballers in the 1930s. His commitment and fearlessness, often going where no one else would dare, earned him the reputation of one of the bravest players around.

    In the '30s, football was a rather different game—a much harsher one, with fewer rules. Physicality was a must if you were to prosper under those circumstances. Drake had it in abundance.

    He started to play football for Southampton in 1931. Not much later, his talent was noticed by the legendary Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman, who tried to sign him, but Drake refused, initially.

    Chapman’s will to sign him was to materialize posthumously, when in 1934, George Allison signed him for Arsenal for £6,500.

    Drake’s career took off immediately.

    He scored on his debut against the Wolves and broke the all-time goal record for the club in the following season by scoring 42 goals in 41 league games. His record still stands unscathed almost seven decades later.

    Even that was dwarfed by what he was going to do a season later.

    Drake single-handedly ripped Aston Villa to shreds by scoring seven times to carve the result of 7-1 in favor of Arsenal. He scored another goal, eighth, when the ball hit the bar and bounced off behind the goal line, but the referee decided that seven were enough.

    Seven goals by a single player: Nobody broke that astonishing record in the decades of football to come.

    As if to underline the goal-scoring ability of Ted, those records were backed by unrivaled consistency. He went on to top the goal-scoring charts in every of the five seasons at Arsenal. You must have been blind not to see his quality—and the England manager was not.

    Ted was soon called up for international duty. He did not disappoint. He scored six in five matches, and in 1935, scored the winner against Italy in the “Battle of Highbury” to clinch a valuable 3-2 win.

    Undoubtedly, his physical prowess and bravery brought him astounding success, but injuries inseparably loomed over him. Drake was in constant battle with injuries inflicted by his almost reckless style of playing.

    Against Brentford in 1938, he had to be carried off the field unconscious after breaking his wrist and receiving a bad head wound.

    He went on, changing nothing in his style, remaining the same old brave Ted Drake.

    In 1939, his career was abruptly interrupted by terrible event with global consequences: the Second World War.

    Enlisted in the Royal Air Force, Drake continued to play for Arsenal in friendly matches.

    All in all, Drake scored 139 goals in 184 games which puts him at the fifth place of Arsenal’s all time top scorers.

    Jeff Harris wrote about him, in Arsenal’s Who’s Who, “Drake's main attributes were his powerful dashing runs, his great strength combined with terrific speed and a powerful shot. Ted Drake was also brilliant in the air but above all, so unbelievably fearless.”

    Credit goes to Stefan Vasilev for an excellently written slide in his article here.

6: Liam Brady

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    The "Chippy,"  as he was called, Liam Brady was a man who made things click in the 1970s Arsenal squad. He was the type of player who, on the field, would stand out with his skills and football intellect—in the mould of those types of players that would unburden the minds of their team-mates with their ability.

    In fact, something like what Cesc Fabregas is now for Arsenal. But there is a small difference. Cesc is not quite there yet.

    Having been in the team's youth ranks for three years, at the age of only 17, Brady signed his first professional contract with Arsenal. The manager in that time, Bertie Mee, hurried to involve the talent of that magnitude into the ever-so fierce battle of the Premier Division. Brady made a debut in October against Birmingham City.

    Those first three years as a professional footballer were valuable experience for the Irish teenager. He was graced by the presence of the World Cup winner Alan Ball, from whom he went on to squeeze know-how juices for three years until Ball moved to Southampton.

    After the departure of the master, though, the disciple was up and ready for the midfield-maestro position. And was he able? A question out of the question.

    Under his direction from midfield, Arsenal was able to reach three successive FA Cups from 1978 to 1980 and a European Winners cup final. His technique, ball control, vision, balance, strength and ability to dribble past opponents almost at will favored his team every time he played.

    His best season, though, culminated into the destruction of Manchester United in the 1979 FA Cup final.

    First, he fed Brian Talbot and Frank Stapleton for a two-goal lead in the first half, and then after United equalized late in the game, Brady pre-assisted for the third and winning goal for Arsenal.

    One year later, he announced his intention to leave at the end of the 1979/80 season. And it happened when he moved to Juventus, but not before he helped the Gunners win another FA Cup. Even that penalty miss against Valencia in the European Winners Cup final could not damage his reputation as a fan favorite.

    Liam Brady spent seven fruitful years at Arsenal, and not long after his departure, he returned to the club to assume the position of Head of Youth Department—a position which he still holds today, conveying the learnt to young minds.

    Ironically, and yet revealing of Brady's love for the club, a man from the past is in charge for the future.

    Credit once again to Stefan Vasilev for his work here.

5: Cliff Bastin

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    Cliff Bastin was the most prolific goal scorers until Ian Wright in the 1990s. Playing as an inside forward initially, he was moved to outside left in an innovative tactical move by Herbert Chapman.

    Wingers had a secondary role before Chapman. They were then supposed to feed centre-forwards with passes and create chances, but under Chapman, they were presented with a new objective: to cut inside, creating chances for themselves as well.

    Cliff Bastin was the man who benefited from this the most.

    He formed a terrific partnership with midfield maestro Alex James on the left side. Often, he would stalk near the touchline, remaining alert and waiting for the brilliance of James to unleash his own deadly scoring abilities.

    It was to become a trademark move for Arsenal in the 1930s—Alex James to Cliff Bastin into the net.

    Bastin was blessed with an accurate shot, but it would have been not nearly as effective as it was if not for his ice-cold nerves in front of goal.

    This effective formula of goal-scoring allowed Bastin to score 33 goals in the 1932/33 season—the highest ever scored by a winger. He scored 15 in the next season, making him the club’s top goal scorer for the second season in a row.

    In 1934, Ted Drake arrived at Arsenal, and Bastin was forced to reconfigure his functions as Drake was chosen for the goal scoring function. He dropped back a bit, and with Alex James’ increasing of age, he gradually took over the position of distributing the passes in the final stages of the attack.

    His appetite for goals never waned.

    Devoid of James’ wonderful mind Arsenal slipped to sixth in the following season. But “Boy” Bastin still scored 17, including six in the FA Cup to get himself another medal, and 17 more in the following season, which was title-winning.

    An injury restricted Bastin from fully contributing to Arsenal’s last season before the beginning of the Second World War.

    Aged 27 by the time the war started, Bastin had already scored enough goals to ensure he had topped the club’s top goal-scoring charts. He continued to play during war time in unofficial matches, but his hearing problems that had tormented him for years, and his niggling injuries were already taking their toll.

    With the war over, Bastin would only manage seven more official games for Arsenal before he hanged the boots. He scored 178 goals in 395 matches, his record broken almost a half-decade later by Ian Wright.

    Credit goes to Stefan Vasilev for an excellently written slide in his article here.

4: Robert Pires

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    Although recently released by Aston Villa after a subpar season as a sub, during his heyday as Arsenal's left midfielder/wing, Robert Pires had huge amounts of skill and pace. 

    Early on in his career, Robert Pires was criticized for his lack of physicality, and there were fears that he'd be unable to replicate the form he showed in Ligue 1 with Metz and Marseille.

    Those fears were quickly squashed, as Robert Pires went on to become one of the finest wingers Arsenal have had in the Premier League.

    Robert Pires scored 62 goals and recorded 43 assists from the wing position in 189 league appearances and was instrumental in helping Arsenal secure both its 2001-02 and 2003-04 Premier League titles. He also won three FA Cups with Arsenal. Robert Pires' quality was recognized individually with three consecutive PFA Team of the year selections from 2001-2004.

    Robert Pires was a member of France's golden generation as well (no coincidence that France's golden generation coincides with Arsenal's golden generation, mind you). He won the World Cup in 1998, the European Championship in 2000 and two Confederation Cups in 2001 and 2003 with France.

    Although Robert Pires will forever be an Arsenal legend, his career with Arsenal ended on a low note, as he was subbed out in the 12th minute of the UEFA Champions League final following Jens Lehmann's sending off. The winger has described being subbed off in that game as one of the worst feelings in his life.

3: Ian Wright

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    The sizzling passion and natural flair for goal-scoring of Ian Wright is what every manager in the world would want to have at his disposal. The striker could score from everywhere—chance or half-chance it was safe to bet Ian Wright would be on the score sheet.

    His repertoire of goals was as diverse as the game itself. 

    Starting his career a bit late, at the age of 22, it took some time before his nose for goals was noticed by Arsenal’s scouts. In 1991, George Graham signed Wright for a record-breaking £2.5 million. At the time, the transfer was viewed as unnecessary, as Arsenal already enjoyed a good share of effective strikers.

    Andre Limpard, an emerging Kevin Campbell and Paul Merson had already rooted themselves in the Arsenal forward line.

    But it seemed Ian Wright held his fate hostage.

    He scored a goal on his debut against Leicester City in the League cup and then scored a hat trick in his league debut against Southampton. The explosive striker finished with 31 goals in all competitions and a Golden Boot in his accolade cabinet this season.

    Southampton suffered Ian Wright’s merciless goal-scoring, as he completed his second hat trick against them, his third goal remaining the last in the history of the “old” First Division.

    He would then go on to become the club’s top goal-scorer in each of the next six seasons.

    With the offloading of Andres Limpar and David Rocastle in the mid-90s, Ian Wright cemented his place in attack. It was one of the first steps that George Graham initiated in transforming Arsenal into a cup side, often winning by 1-0, with the meanest defense in the country.

    Disciplined, tough and well-organized, Arsenal became known as “boring Arsenal,” but the showmanship and spectacle of goals of Ian Wright remained a constant threat to that image.

    In 1996, Dennis Bergkamp joined from Inter Milan to form a great partnership with Wright.

    The Dutchman’s vision and passing ability allowed Wright to gorge on a cannonade of spectacular defense-splitting passes, often resulting in goals for Arsenal.

    Not long after, Arsene Wenger arrived to Arsenal.

    Wright was 33 by then, but he went on scoring for another two years, and in September 1997, carved his name on the top of the all time goal-scoring list with a hat trick against Bolton Wanderers.

    Wright played a significant part in Arsenal’s success in the mid-'90s.

    During his time with the Gunners, he won a League, FA Cup, League Cup and European Winners Cup medals. He scored 185 goals in 279 matches, beating Cliff Bastin’s record which stood untouched for more than half a decade.

    Ian Wright’s goals gave the club and fans many joyous occasions, but it was his positive character that left a trail in the hearts of all who care about Arsenal—a trail impossible to erase.

    Credit goes to Stefan Vasilev for an excellently written slide in his article here.

2: Dennis Bergkamp

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    Dennis Bergkamp is critically acclaimed as one of the most technically gifted players ever to play the game. He was an adept second striker who used his vision and passing ability to create chances for his more forward striking partner.

    Bergkamp helped guide Arsenal to three Premier League titles and four FA Cups and won numerous personal accolades while at Arsenal. It is a testament to his ability and skill that even with a youth-loving coach like Arsene Wenger, Bergkamp was a regular member of the Arsenal squad till the age of 37.

    According to Simon Krump, in a 2006 article written in The Financial Times:

    "One night last year, some legends of Dutch football gathered for dinner in an Amsterdam house. Around midnight conversation turned to an old question: who was the best Dutch footballer ever? Dutchmen have been voted European Footballer of the Year seven times, more than any other nationality except Germans.

    "Yet Jan Mulder, a great centre-forward turned writer, chose a player who had never even threatened to win the award nor, at the time, a Champions League: 'Bergkamp. He had the finest technique,' said Mulder. Guus Hiddink, the great Dutch manager, nodded, and so the matter was settled."

1: Thierry Henry

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    As usual, every Arsenal list of greats always ends with Thierry Henry.

    Brought in to replace the outgoing Nicholas Anelka, Thierry Henry's arrival at Arsenal was met with great skepticism, as Arsene Wenger had paid £11 million (a massive sum at the time) for a player who had just had a very poor season playing on the wings for Juventus.

    However, after some initial struggles, Thierry Henry quickly put to rest any doubt about his abilities by scoring 26 goals in all competitions and chipping in with 11 assists in his debut season. He followed this up with 22 more goals the following season but was still unable to win any trophies for Arsenal.

    The 2001-02 season was Henry's breakthrough season. Henry upped his goalscoring by 10 from the previous season to finish the season with 32 goals, leading Arsenal to the Double and his first trophies with the club.

    The next two seasons were by far Thierry Henry's best, as he won the FA Cup in the first season and the Premier League with the Invincibles in the next. Henry managed to score 32 goals and record 24 assists in the first season, and upped his goalscoring to an insane 39 goals the following season, 30 of which came in the league.

    Unfortunately for Henry, Chelsea's emergence under Jose Mourinho resulted in Arsenal missing out on a Premier League repeat, but once again, the club managed to end the season with silverware as they won the 2005 FA Cup.

    When Patrick Vieira left the club in the summer of 2005 for Juventus, Henry was give the captaincy and the responsibility of leading a rather young side to future success. Despite a Champions League final with Barcelona at the end of the 2005-06 season, he was unable to do so, and his chapter in Arsenal history was closed when he transferred to Barcelona in the summer of 2007.

    To list all the individual honors Henry picked up in his career would not only not do his time at Arsenal justice, but would result in a incredibly long list, so I'll just provide a  link to them instead.

    Today, Thierry Henry is still plying his trade with the New York Red Bulls, with whom he just won the Emirates Cup with. He is currently MLS's top scorer, and still shows bags of class and skill in his game.

    Will the Premier League ever be graced by a player as consistent, humble, skilled, and deadly as Thierry Henry? Probably not. 

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