Τρίτη, 24 Μαρτίου 2015

Best Arsenal players ever, the top 50




THE TELEGRAPH

Our list of the greatest players ever to grace Highbury and the Emirates for Arsenal





























Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams
Michael Thomas “Thomas, charging through the middle … it’s up for the grabs now. Thomas! Right at the end!” The words of Brian Moore that described perhaps the most famous goal in English League history. It is enough to justify his place on this list.
Frank Stapleton Made the controversial move from Arsenal to Manchester United in 1981 but, before that, he spent eight years at Arsenal and played in three consecutive FA finals from 1978 to 1980. Scorer of the second goal in the 1979 triumph against Manchester United.
Kolo Touré Arrived at Arsenal as a midfielder in 2002 but was transformed into a centre-back and missed only one game in the historic ‘Invincible’ season of 2003-04.
Aaron Ramsey Should still climb further up this list but his brilliant FA Cup-winning goal in 2014 – to end that nine year wait for silverware – has already guaranteed his place in Arsenal history.
David Rocastle A player who added both pace and flair to the successful George Graham sides of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Revered at Arsenal; his death at the age of only 33 in March 2001 was one of the club’s saddest days.

Jens Lehmann A key ingredient both on and off the pitch of the 2003-04 ‘Invincible’ team. He also kept 10 consecutive clean sheets in the 2005-06 Champions League but his campaign ultimately ended with being sent off in the final.
Paul Davis His career at Arsenal spanned three decades and also included six trophies although he is perhaps as well remembered for the punch that broke Glenn Cockerill’s jaw.

Cesc Fabregas A player with wonderful touch, vision and drive from midfield but was sadly to leave Arsenal largely unfulfilled just as his peak years were approaching. In hindsight, he was perhaps pushed forward too quickly by Arsène Wenger, both into the first team and a captaincy role.
Alan Sunderland Effective during the late 1970s and early 1980s both as a midfielderor as striking cover for Malcolm MacDonald or Frank Stapleton. His dramatic late winner in the 1979 FA Cup final has gone down in Arsenal folklore.
Joe Baker Played only four seasons at Arsenal but was the top scorer in each of those, totalling 100 goals in only 156 matches from 1962 until 1966. His pace made him one of the most feared strikers of his era.

Robin van Persie His decision to agitate to leave for Manchester United in 2012 will always leave a sour taste for most Arsenal fans but his final 18 months at the club were brilliant.
Alan Ball Man of the match in the 1966 World Cup final and then a British record signing in 1971 at Arsenal. Did not win a trophy at the club but scored 52 goals in 217 games and was undoubtedly one of the best midfielders in Arsenal history.
George Graham Became better known as the architect of Arsenal’s great defence but was a midfielder of huge quality and a major figure in the Double-winning team of 1971, delivering a man of the match performance in the FA Cup final.

Bob Wilson Ever-present in Bertie Mee’s Double-winning team of 1970-1 and also helped Arsenal to the Fairs Cup in the previous year. Went on to become the club’s goalkeeping coach for 28 years and remains one of Arsenal’s most loyal and popular characters.
Nicolas Anelka Another likes Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit who perhaps left prematurely but delivered the best football of their career during Arsène Wenger’s first Double winning season in 1997-98.
Gilberto Silva The perfect foil for Patrick Vieira in the great Invincible team of 20030-4. Arsenal have been searching for a holding midfielder of comparable presence since his departure in 2008.
Brian Talbot A midfielder of prodigious workrate who helped provide the foundations on which Liam Brady could shine. Scored for Arsenal in the 1979 FA Cup final and then played in all 70 games for the club in the 1979-80 season.

Nigel Winterburn Played almost 600 games for Arsenal, peaking with his contribution to the famous miserly defence of George Graham but he was still there for the first of Arsène Wenger’s Double winning team in 1997-98.

Emmanuel Petit Combined brilliantly with Patrick Vieira to form the midfield axis on which Arsenal won the 1997-98 Double but was to leave for Barcelona after only three seasons at the club.
Pat Rice Best known in most recent years as Arsène Wenger’s loyal assistant but was also one of the club’s great players. Joined the club as a 15-year-old apprentice in 1964 and was part of the Double winning team of 1970-71.
Marc Overmars Just three seasons at Arsenal but left lasting memories. His pace was a vital component in Arsène Wenger’s first double winning team of 1997-98 and he scored the vital goal in a 1-0 win that season against Manchester United.

Peter Storey Scored the penalty against Gordon Banks in 1971 to help take Arsenal into the FA Cup final and was a key part of Bertie Mee’s Double-winning squad. A fearsome defender who was named by Johnny Giles as the hardest player he faced.

David O’Leary Still the all-time appearance record holder during 20 seasons at Arsenal that spanned the mid 1970s until the start of the Premier League era. Helped Arsenal win the 1979 FA Cup but was more of a squad player during the winning years of George Graham.
Martin Keown His career was a testament to his mental strength. Allowed to leave by George Graham in 1986 but subsequently returned in 1993 and became a trusted part of Arsène Wenger’s best squads from 1997 until 2004.
Kenny Sansom Replaced another legendary figure in Sammy Nelson at left-back and, although he won only a solitary League Cup with Arsenal, his place for eight straight years in the PFA team of the year was an illustration of his quality.

Paul Merson His creative flair and exuberant personality are best remembered but was also highly effective in some great Arsenal teams, particularly in partnership with Alan Smith. Won five major trophies with Arsenal.
Ray Parlour Another who straddled the successful teams of George Graham and Arsène Wenger to become one of the most decorated and popular players in Arsenal history with nine major trophies.
Lee Dixon Spent 15 seasons at Highbury and, like Tony Adams, adapted brilliantly to the differing philosophies of George Graham and Arsène Wenger. A complete full-back whose quality surely merited more than 22 England games in just about any other era.

Alan Smith An all-round striker who brought far more than his 115 goals to the Arsenal team. He was, though, still the scorer of two of the most important goals in Arsenal’s history. He scored the first (and set up the second) when Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 to win the 1989-90 League title and then scored the winning goal in the 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup final.
Ashley Cole His contribution was inevitably sullied by the circumstances that surrounded his departure but still an authentic Arsenal (and Chelsea) great. Linked brilliantly down the left with Robert Pires and Thierry Henry in the wonderful Arsenal teams of 2001-02 and 2003-04.

Eddie Hapgood Played 440 times for Arsenal spanning 17 years in what was a golden era for the club. An Arsenal captain, he was the winner of five league titles and two FA Cups during the 1930s.

Freddie Ljungberg Not quite at the level of a Robert Pires or a Dennis Bergkamp but not so very far behind. A tireless worker for the team, the scorer of important goals and particularly influential in the Double-winning season of 2001-02.

John Radford Behind only Cliff Bastin, Thierry Henry and Ian Wright in the all-time list of Arsenal goalscorers. Scored in the 1970s Fairs Cup final and, as well as scoring 21 times in the Double-winning team season of 1970-71, he provided the assists for the two goals that clinched the 1971 FA Cup.

David Jack Described by Herbert Chapman as one of the best signings he ever made. Scorer of the first ever goal at Wembley and a vital part of the Arsenal team that dominated English football in the 1930s.

Frank McLintock Arrived at Arsenal for a club record £80,000 and ultimately led them both to the Fairs Cup of 1970 and then their first league and FA Cup double in the following season.

Sol Campbell His move from Tottenham to Arsenal in 2001 was hugely controversial but he helped Arsenal deliver regular silverware over the next four years. The defensive rock in the Invincible team and also scored in the 2006 Champions League final.

Charlie George Watched Arsenal from the stands as a boy and then delivered one of the greatest moments in the club’s history when he sealed the club’s first Double in 1970-71 with a wonderful strike past Ray Clemence in extra-time of the FA Cup final.

Pat Jennings Achieved the rare feat of legendary status both at Arsenal and Tottenham for his brilliance as a goalkeeper. Helped Arsenal win the 1979 FA Cup and also reach the subsequent European Cup Winners’ Cup final.

George Armstrong Behind only David O’Leary in the list of all-time Arsenal appearances. A provider of numerous goals in the 1970-71 Double-winning team and later returned to the club on George Graham’s coaching staff.

Ted Drake A phenomenal strike-rate of 134 goals in 184 games meant that he topped the scoring charts in each of his five full seasons at Arsenal during the 1930s. He also helped the team to two league titles and an FA Cup.

Liam Brady His curling shot against Tottenham in the 5-0 win at White Hart Lane in 1978 remains the stuff of legend and was among Europe’s best for a period in the 1970s and 1980s. The only slight caveat for Arsenal was that the 1979 FA Cup win was his only trophy in seven years at the club.

Ian Wright A true cult hero among fans, a huge dressing-room personality and a brilliant goalscorer. Finished his Arsenal career with 185 goals and five trophies.

David Seaman His signing for £1.3 million was considered a gamble in 1990. By the time he left on the high of winning the 2003 FA Cup, it looked like one of George Graham’s most astute decisions.

Robert Pires Arrived as the replacement for Marc Overmars and duly proved himself to be a considerable upgrade. A goalscoring winger who reached his peak at the same time as Arsenal between 2001 and 2004.

Cliff Bastin Spotted by the legendary Herbert Chapman at the age of 17. Scored 178 times in 398 games but more striking still is the five league titles and two FA Cups. Would have won even more had war nor intervened.

Alex James The captain and talisman of the Arsenal team that won a hat-trick of titles from 1933-1935. His swagger made him a huge crowd favourite. Tom Finney said that he was “pure magic” and his hero.

Dennis Bergkamp His creative brilliance and moments of wizardry were what set him apart but also a pure winner in helping Arsenal to seven trophies in his 11 seasons at the club.

Patrick Vieira Arsenal’s on-field leader in the finest team in their history. It was no coincidence that, after his departure in 2005, the wait for another trophy lasted almost a decade.

Tony Adams An iconic figure in English football’s most revered defence. Played almost 700 games for Arsenal, largely as captain, and was part of trophy winning teams that spanned great eras of both George Graham and Arsène Wenger.

Thierry Henry The club’s greatest goalscorer and surely also their finest player. Was blessed to play alongside Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira but his pace, finishing and sheer desire would have made him a great in any era.

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