Arsenal’s best ever XI … The team in full 🔥

Onefootball

Phil Costa

Article image: Arsenal’s best ever XI … The team in full 🔥

With the football on hold at the moment, we’ve been thinking about who gets in Arsenal’s all-time XI.

We are now proud to reveal the team in full …


Goalkeeper – David Seaman

This spot was only ever reserved for one person, wasn’t it? David Seaman is the greatest goalkeeper in Arsenal history.

Signed from Queens Park Rangers in 1990, ‘Safe Hands’ made over 400 appearances for the club, winning four FA Cup and three league titles, in addition to a European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1993/94.

Arguably his greatest ever save was against Sheffield United in the FA Cup, somehow stopping a close-range header from Paul Peschisolido with every last inch of his fingertips.


Right back – Lee Dixon

Right back isn’t usually a very glamorous position but Lee Dixon did a great job of disproving that.

Signed from Stoke City in 1988, Dixon impressed with his technical quality, stamina and crossing ability that so often provided forwards with goalscoring opportunities they couldn’t miss.

He made 619 appearances for Arsenal (currently fourth in their all-time appearance makers), winning four league titles, three FA Cups and a European trophy to boot. Who can argue with that?


Centre back – Martin Keown

If Martin Keown has taught us anything, it’s that going back to your ex may not always be so terrible.

Having left Arsenal in 1986, he returned seven years later a much improved player and was a permanent fixture in their backline, adding speed and tenacity to an already impeccable back four.

Keown spent the best part of 20 years at Arsenal making 449 appearances, winning three Premier League and three FA Cup titles.


Centre back – Tony Adams

It wouldn’t be an ultimate Arsenal XI without this man. Mister Arsenal himself, Tony Adams.

Adams remained a one-club man throughout his career and was everything you needed in a defender; strong, committed, vocal and could even contribute in the opposition penalty box with big goals.

He enjoyed highs with the club, he endured personal lows with the club, but there was nobody more relatable to fans and team-mates alike.

Adams made 510 appearances for the Gunners, winning four league titles, three FA Cups, two league cups and a European cup. His contribution will never be matched.


Left-back – Ashley Cole

We know, it’s a controversial one. But put your tribalism aside and you’ll realise what a generational talent Ashley Cole was.

He was reliable in possession, loved to get forward and formed a formidable partnership with Robert Pires, but loved his defensive work and had a knack for clearing shots off the line as well.

Cole left Highbury in difficult circumstances, yet he still contributed to two Premier League and four FA Cup titles, plus he will be forever immortalised as an Invincible.


First midfielder – Gilberto Silva

Arsenal have a mixed history of signing players from Brazil but Gilberto Silva – brought in from Atlético Mineiro – was a resounding success.

Nicknamed “The Invisible Wall” for his positional awareness, strength in the tackle and smart distribution, he allowed the more creative players to excel without worrying about their defensive work.

His presence provided a base for the famous Invincibles side to excel, and he left the club in 2008 with a Premier League title, plus two FA Cups under his belt.


Second midfielder – Patrick Vieira

A true Arsène Wenger masterclass, this spot was reserved for Patrick Vieira and him alone.

Signed from Monaco as a 20-year-old with raw potential, he developed into one of the world’s best midfielders who could match any physical battle, stand out technically, arrive late to score goals and more importantly – lead by example.

His performances were central to the Gunners going unbeaten in their historic 2003/04 Invincibles season.

Vieira made 392 appearances for Arsenal across nine seasons, winning three Premier League titles and three FA Cups.


Third midfielder – Cesc Fabregas

A contentious choice for many reasons, but we shouldn’t let emotion cloud how good Cesc Fabregas actually was.

After arriving from Barcelona aged 16, you could understand feeling overawed in a dressing room full of highly decorated professionals – including World Cup winners and Ballon d’Or nominees.

But Fabregas adapted seamlessly and developed into a great captain, displaying inch-perfect passing and goal threat, plus intangible qualities like persistence and mental strength.

He made 306 appearances across eight seasons for Arsenal, winning the FA Cup before eventually returning to Barcelona.


Right winger – Freddie Ljungberg

Signed as a relative unknown from BK Halmstad, Freddie Ljungberg would go on to become an influential figure at Arsenal.

He introduced himself to Highbury with a debut strike against Manchester United, and despite not being the tallest or quickest, his incredible movement (and relationship with Dennis Bergkamp) saw him net 72 goals for the club.

Despite battling persistent ankle injuries, Ljungberg made 328 appearances across nine seasons, winning two Premier League titles and three FA Cups.


Left winger – Robert Pires

Robert Pires was another example of how Arsène Wenger used his inside track to exploit the French market.

Signed from Marseille to replace Marc Overmars, Pires was this glorious wide player/attacking midfielder hybrid who was known for his ability to cut inside and whip strikes towards goal.

He scored over 15 goals in three consecutive seasons, and was even the club’s top scorer when Arsenal famously went the whole 2003/04 campaign unbeaten.

Technically gifted, devastatingly decisive and clinical, the Frenchman left Highbury in 2006 with two Premier League and two FA Cup titles.


Centre forward

Where do you even start with Thierry Henry? Not only the best forward in Arsenal’s history, but their best ever player.

Signed as a mercurial winger from Juventus in 1999, Arsène Wenger worked his magic and started playing him centrally – the rest was history.

Henry ticked every box: speed, intelligence, technique, swagger and a mental resolve that demanded absolute perfection from each of his team-mates.

He overtook Ian Wright to become the club’s all-time record goalscorer (228 goals), and won two Premier League and two FA Cup titles before joining Barcelona in 2008.