Who’s been Arsenal’s best player in the Premier League era?

Arsenal’s best player?

While watching the game against Stoke at the weekend I got to thinking about who was Arsenal’s best player, not in that particular game but in the Premiership era.

I wasn’t concerned with who scored the most goals, who provided the most assists or who put in the most miles on the pitch, no none of that statistical bollix.

Who got your blood racing when they were on the ball? Who got you on your feet when they were lining up a shot on goal? Who entertained you?

There’s a whole host of players to choose from.

The back line that Arsene inherited from George Graham were awesome but watching the choreographed raising of the right arm to signal an off-side to the ref didn’t raise my pulse rate, except when the ref got the decision wrong and our opponents scored, that is.

Smiffy, Wrighty and Merse excited but Dickov?

The incomparable Dennis Bergkamp.  What can I say?

Patrick Vieira, in his pomp, striding imperiously about the pitch always gave me a lift.

Nicholas Anelka?  For a while.

Marc Overmars and Manu Petit wonderful, Isiaiah Rankin hmm.

Freddie Lundberg’s runs behind the defence and Kanu scoring from an “impossible” angle.

Davor Suker’s silky skills and of course Thierry Henry.

Sylvan Wiltord and Bobby Pires, Gilberto and Andre Arshavin, four goals against Liverpuddle, who can forget.

I could go on but will only add a few more up to date names, Santi, Alexis, Mesut, Theo and Ollie.

These are all players that I could watch and enjoy forever.  Over the years these are the players who have entertained me.

How about you AAers,  which players have put a smile on your faces?  What was your favourite moment?

Written by Norfolk Gooner


80 Responses to Who’s been Arsenal’s best player in the Premier League era?

  1. RC78 says:

    My ultimate favorites in each position:
    Seaman – Campbell – Vieira – Bergkamp – Henry

    and if I had to pick one, it would be Bergkamp

    and one moment, Henry’s goal vs Man Utd when he lobs Barthez…

    Another magical player was Pires but in between Pires and Bergkamp, I will always be leaning towards the non-Flying Dutchman. Truly a wonderful player

  2. madu says:

    Ozil Ozil Ozil, i enjoy watching this guy, and Walcot speed, Good day

  3. RA says:

    Excuse me, NG, but Rasp was rude enough to cut some of us off in our prime, so I have taken a leaf out of your book, and copied those comments over. 🙂

    September 15, 2015 at 9:26 am
    RC 78 says:
    Adebayor ruined his career by leaving us…AW knew how to make the best of him, he was touted to be our new Kanu but he drifted away (no pun intended…) from that path

    Red Arnie says:
    September 15, 2015 at 9:44 am
    This sculpture made by Isaac Cordal in Berlin, Germany is called “Politicians Debating Global Warming”


    RA says:
    September 15, 2015 at 9:55 am

    What are you doing up and about at 3:44 in the morning? That ninja fella bothering you again?

    I had a friend once – no, seriously I did – and he used to sleep over occasionally, and often complained there was someone else in the apartment. When we asked him what did he look like gave the same answer you did “he’s wearing a black ninja outfit and is very fast because he keeps disapearing when I turn on the light. He also has a very small penis” and then added, “the guy is crazy!”

    Why was he crazy, we asked him. “Well” he said, “the guy must have a bat habit”. Do you mean he had a ‘bad’ habit, we asked?
    “No, it’s a bat habit, cos when I put on the kitchen light he is always hanging around – his feet are near mine, and he has a long body near the floor and his head goes up the wall”.

    Perhaps you and my buddy are related, Terry? He is mostly OK now, since he stopped ‘relaxing’ with that wacky baccy stuff.

    Oddly enough, without his smoke ponging out the apartment none of us felt sexy, sexy all the time. [Two of the girls that shared the other two rooms at the time, used to delight in saying to me – “Not bothered that you are so tall – forget the 6 feet and show us your 7 inches.]

    6′ 7” – geddit? 😀

    On second thoughts, you carry on Terry, you could be helping some other bloke out! 😀

    RA says:
    September 15, 2015 at 9:57 am
    A lot of hot air, Arnie? 🙂

    So there! 🙂

  4. RA says:

    Interesting Post, Norfolk, says a lot about you! 😀

    I loved Stepanovs, he had all the silky speed of Theo, and the intellect of Merse’s magic hat.

    Denilson has to be high on anyone’s list of entertainers – and the extraordinary truth only came out after he left, when it transpired that Wenger secretly met a great new prospect in a London coffee shop, but unknown to Arsene the guy got lost.
    Denison walked past Arsene sitting at the bar with a floppy moustache, a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, and a big red nose, from the charity day – and seeing this shifty looking young guy he asked him “are you Brazilian?” “Yes, I am” — “Well that’s a brilliant disguise – you look like a waiter. Weeeell, I can only pay you £10,000 a week – sign here.”
    And that is how we got Denilson. Great value.

    Another favourite was …… but no, I must stop, it’s making me spill my coffee as I am watching Arsene in Costa’s as I type!! 😀

  5. RA says:

    Madu, when you said @ 9:42 “Walcot’s peed” were you implying he uses jet propulsion? 🙂

  6. Gööner In Exile says:

    Premier League era…..I think a few of mine sneak in

    Ian Wright Wright Wright…….still. And still more than Thierry…..ive tried to define why but I can’t really, just his enthusiasm and love of scoring goals, any goal, a tap in a volley or from distance, he just scored goals.

    Nigel Winterburn……I know Nige was an ordinary guy but God I loved to watch his slide tackles.

    Safe Hands Dave


    And of course……Bergkamp

  7. Big Raddy says:

    NG. I notice you did not make that very difficult choice of one special moment or chap 😉

    I like posts like this because it gives me a chance to re-visit the hundreds (or thousands) or wonderful AFC moments over the PL years.

    My fave …. oh, how cruel of you!!

    Perhaps it is the moment Vieira came onto the pitch for his first AFC appearance. Within seconds we knew …… not only had a we world class MF but also that our new manager had the ability to take a dull, dull Arsenal into a new era.

    That moment or perhaps IW8’s goal against Everton. Or maybe TA6’s screamer in front of the North Bank (also against Everton) to secure the PL title.

    As to excitement when he gets the ball, it has to be Sanchez of last season.

  8. RC78 says:

    I admired Wright but I never liked him as a player like I liked Bergkamp or Henry…He was a fierce competitor and his enthousiasm contagious but I just did not enjoy watching him…

    One player that was outstandind but for only 1 year was…Edu…That year, he was just too good…Finally – special mention to Ljunberg, Overmars and Parlour 🙂

  9. Big Raddy says:

    NB. This could require a hankie …

  10. Gööner In Exile says:

    I cried at his reaction…….need to set aside a little while to watch it again

  11. First Sampan says:

    In Singapore in the late 70s, we only get to watch FA Cup Semis and Final live, preceded by recorded “Road to Wembly”, and in 1978, I was impressed by one player from the winning team, Brian Talbot.

    When he moved to Arsenal in 1979 and I was able to watch him in another FA Cup final and win it. In a way, Brian Talbot was the man who started me supporting Arsenal

  12. Red Arnie says:

    great idea, Norfolk. 🙂

    no poll? why?

    Anyway, after much thought, my top 3, in decreasing order of preferance: Vieira, Henry, Bergkamp 🙂

  13. Red Arnie says:

    If Henry continues too long as a pundit, he may be replaced by Wrighty. The problem of being a pundit is that you have to necessarily like the Pool ass, and sometimes the ManUre ass as well. 😦

  14. Red Arnie says:

    Redders 🙂 🙂

  15. Red Arnie says:

    like=lick! 😛

  16. Eddie says:

    Dennis always.
    Favourite moment – Bendtner substitiution, me whispering ‘come on Nick, do it for me’ and goal against Spurs in 2007 all in under 2 seconds

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    Good idea for a post NG.

    Going back to the AA votes on Arsenal’s all time to 50 players, here is a reminder of the top 10 players……

    Thierry Henry – 408
    Patrick Vieira – 250
    Tony Adams – 231
    Denis Bergkamp – 229
    David Seaman – 184
    Cesc Fabregas – 180
    Robert Pires – 133
    Ian Wright – 132
    Liam Brady – 93
    Cliff Bastin – 72

    The top 8 were all Premier League players with TH14 the runaway favourite.


    Cheers Norfolk

    My favourite player of all time is Liam Brady . During half time on Saturday a sober Alan Hudson was intervied by that bloke and stated that his opinion was that Liam was the greatest Arsenal player ever.

    I repeat. Hudson was sober.

    Brady been the king is good because it allows me to choose Tony Adams for the prem era

    Tony optimised everything good about Arsenal. Brilliant player, great leader, and a man who managed to pull his life round from adversity.

  19. Rasp says:

    Thanks Norfolk, a difficult question to answer as the definition of ‘best’ is subjective.

    Best goalscorer = TH14
    Best talent = DB
    Best captain/midfielder = PV (IMO)
    Best fan favourite = Wrighty
    Best steal = Sol 🙂

  20. Rasp says:

    Hi TMHT … remind me, how many games did Brady play in the EPL? 😆


    Hi Rasp

    Not many hahaha

    I cant let a poll like this go without mentioning Liam. Did I ever tell you I once saw him at Winchmore Hill overground Rasp?

    I tried my best not to stare but it was futile. He then looked at me and as our eyes locked gave a beaming smile. I knew then we had reached an understanding.

  22. Rasp says:

    He’s a true ‘ledge’ TMHT, I happen to know that LB is a massive fan on account of sharing the same initials 😀

    Of course these days he’d be known as L.I.am

  23. Rasp says:

    Reports coming in that JW will need surgery and be side-lined until Xmas …….. just the usual start to the season for The Arsenal then 😕


    hahaha true Rasp. To be fair, that “Will I AM” is very pro Wenger when arguing with that moaner on Arsenal TV. I also quite like his music.

    Hudsons interview was funny. He claimed when he came to Arsenal he was Englands best player but because of injuries we never saw the best of him. I didn have the heart to yell “the 3.30 result at uttoxeta made you as legless as your choice of nag Alan”

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp this an article from Sky Sports.


    Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere will require surgery on a hairline fracture in his left leg and is set for several weeks of rehabilitation, according to the Press Association.

    Manager Arsene Wenger confirmed last week that the 23-year-old had suffered a “little setback” in his scheduled recovery from the injury sustained in pre-season training.

    But according to the Press Association, the decision has now been taken that surgery is required to properly correct the problem and is likely to take place in the next few days.

    Wilshere has been plagued by a long line of injury problems during his career and missed five months of last season after sustaining ankle ligament damage in a defeat to Manchester United last November.

    It is the fifth consecutive season that Wilshere’s campaign has been disrupted by a spell in the treatment room and his continued absence from the Arsenal first-team will come as a major concern for England manager Roy Hodgson ahead of Euro 2016 in France.

    The midfielder spent 14 months on the sidelines after sustaining a stress fracture of his right ankle in a pre-season friendly with New York Red Bulls in 2011.

    The severity of the injury also saw him miss the beginning of the 2012/13 season, while a hairline fracture of his left foot ruled him out for six weeks of the following campaign.

    A challenge from United defender Paddy McNair led to another season interrupted by injury for Wilshere, who returned only for the remaining six matches of the 2014/15 campaign.

  26. GunnerN5 says:

    With both Wellbeck and Wilshere now out for what looks like extended periods the competence of our medical team will once again flood the media – it must drive AW potty.

  27. chas says:

    Cheers, NG, lovely stuff.

    Nicolas Anelka was definitely one who made my blood race.
    There was one particular goal against Blackburn at Ewood where he burst through and dummied the keeper where I thought, ‘wow, we have something here’.
    Looking for his goals I came across the following page on youtube which has 25 minute re-runs of some great games we’ve been involved in.


    Here’s one which still makes my hair stand on end when Dennis scores at the end.

  28. chas says:

    Thanks for the Wrighty red book, BR.
    Very heart-warming.

  29. chas says:

    I just fancied seeing these again.

  30. Gööner In Exile says:

    GN5 It appears our medics believe hairline fractures will heal of their own accord before going the surgery route, and it also appears that that has never been the case for Jack.

    There has to be two questions asked, why has Jack got weak bones (if he has) and why do they take so long to heal? And a third question if history says he has always needed surgery why don’t we do the surgery straight away?

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    GIE it does appear that his history indicates a bone weakness, simply checking his family history will tell if it’s generic. Due to some of the drugs I’ve been prescribed I have to take Vitamin D and Calcium to retain my bone strength and density, there are also other methods to building up bone strength.

    However it’s also possible that his bones are too brittle to play a contact sport without him having recurring issues – but lets hope that the medics can figure it out before his career is over.

    Frankly I feel more for Jack than I do the club – Arsenal have other options but Jack is stuck with his bones………….

  32. GunnerN5 says:

    Jack Wilshere to undergo surgery

    Due to a slow healing response from a fracture suffered in August, the club can confirm that Jack Wilshere is to undergo an operation to his left fibula.

    The decision to intervene has been taken quickly after regular reviews by specialists, who feel that Jack’s scans show that the healing process is not progressing as well as expected.

    Jack will have surgery in London in the forthcoming days. This will involve inserting a small plate in his left fibula. Jack is likely to be out for approximately three months.

    Everyone at the club wishes Jack well with his rehabilitation.

    Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

  33. Gööner In Exile says:

    Indeed GN5 it may well just be the fact that he got a couple of bad ones early on, and there will always be a weakness, it appears they are going to put a plate in. I guess he is better waiting and doing everything medically possible to strengthen.

    I hope for his and England’s sake that he is not as fragile as it currently appears, he is missing a hell of a lot of football. And he is better than every other English midfielder who has been touted as the next best thing in the last couple of seasons.

    At this point talking about bone strength I wonder how Rambo and he compare, whilst Rambo nearly lost a foot and has come back apparently without a problem in his bones, although clearly he does suffer some muscle issues (but then who wouldn’t expect that when he literally had his leg re attached).

  34. RC78 says:

    Not looking too good for JW…Plenty of talent in midfield at AFC and England…He is gonna have to come back stronger and maybe AW wants to send some of our players to this Brazilian doctor operating in Russia…who knows? He is apparrently fixing Diaby…

  35. chas says:

    I saved this to watch donkeys ago and forgot about it.
    Pretty amazing.

  36. goonerjake says:

    Oleg luzhny 😀

  37. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening all, Bad news on JW but not altogether surprising. Jack has trouble with bones that is as sure as eggs are eggs, i said a short while ago that Jacks premier career will be short.

    He may play again in the premier but he will falter again, The bone cannot not do what the mind is telling it. Jacks style of play leaves him wide open to injury ; he will end up with a career similar to Diaby. He was a prime example of Wenger’s generosity A premier club has to take the blame, as how many long term injuries should a young man have before it becomes clear that he is not robust enough.

    Best striker Henry scored from anywhere head feet body different class

    Midfield Fabregas could pass a ball through a needle

    full back Cashley solid all through his career

    Defenders Adams Keown solid all the time

    Keeper Pat Jennings best keeper i have ever seen.

    Best Manager Wenger but has flaws.

    Good Post NG thank you.

  38. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie 1.20. Santi & Mesut?

  39. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Inspiring video. We are so blessed to be obsessed by such a positive and all-inclusive sport.

  40. Eddie says:

    Raddy – i thought it was mezut in pink and ollie in red


    Gutted about Jack. Okay, bit biased coz hes English and has come through our ranks, but mostly because hes potentialy a great player who ime sure Lord Arsene had marked as a future captain.

    I usually see the positive in these things, so why change a habit of a life time. This might be exactly what the boy needs to give up the fags and mature.

    I predict that in two years time Jack will be lifting the Champions League trophy as proud captain of Arsenal.

  42. chas says:

    I reckon it’s a Sanchez quiff in red.

  43. chas says:

    Though unless they’ve reversed the photo, it does look like a left-footer (and I don’t mean Roman Catholic).

  44. Hi all, just got the WiFi up and running in our rented Welsh holiday cottage.

    Isn’t it great to look back and recall some of the great moments of the past?

    My all time favourite must be Kanu’s goal against, I think, Chelsea from the goal line.

  45. Eddie says:

    Chas 🙂 I like that logo, very apt

  46. Rasp says:

    Very sad for Luke Shaw and for England. The players look shell shocked, reminiscent of the Ramsey injury 😦

  47. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Agree. Horrible tackle.

  48. chas says:

    9.6 for Ramos for the attempted forward somersault.

  49. chas says:

  50. chas says:

  51. Big Raddy says:

    Bony €32m?? He was completely pants tonight. MC completely outclassed.

  52. chas says:

  53. stevepalmer1 says:

    Just watched Uniteds game 2,1 to PSV. Bad injury to Englands Luke Shaw, looked like a broken leg, and it didn’t look hairline.

    Per Merts crashed his car after training Yesterday apparently taking out a couple or rails in the central reservation, he got out shook up but uninjured damaged his Mercedes AMG,, Had a quick look through comments, and could not see any mention of it, i read about it in the daily’

  54. 1979Gunner says:

    No matter how much of a prick Thierry Henry is for the nauseating @rse licking sky ads, he is still the king.

  55. chas says:

  56. chas says:

  57. Red Arnie says:

    I have to say I have mixed feelings about the Luke Shaw incident! LVG said he expected a red card, What! Remember the public outpouring of sympathy for Shitecross?

    I hate to say what I just said, but these are my feelings. Notwithstanding good wishes for a quick recovery!

    My feeling is that Enlish clubs will not do well in the CL until we get out of the mentality that football is some glorified form of rugby, that skillful rendering of a robust game is somehow an excuse for violnce on the pitch. Unfortunately, English clubes will get very few decisions going their way in Europe until the game in this country reforms itself and brings itself in line with what is practised elsewhere.

    Unfortunately, Arsenal is clubbed with the ignorable others that practice rugby in the name of football.

    Sad, very sad. 😦

  58. Gööner In Exile says:

    All I can say is bollox, I didn’t think there was any fun to be had from watching last nights games. Saw that United were 1-0 up and figured they’d win. Didn’t think City could lose yet another CL Home opener.

    I looked for a vid of the Shaw incident when I saw Rasps post above, the only vids I saw were from behind the goal, and I had no idea how far out from goal he was. When I watched the BT highlights and I saw where Shaw was and watched it in real time I have to say that although I have sympathy for Shaw I thinking was terribly unlucky rather than anything really malicious from the defender.

    It’s a last ditch challenge, and he wins the ball/makes the block with his leading leg, and whilst his other leg makes contact it’s bent back and he is not bringing it through with force it is just following the rest of his body.

    The difference between Rambo and Shaw (and Eduardo) for that matter is where on the pitch the incident happened, if he makes that challenge on the half way line it could easily be a yellow for unnecessary force, but just like a lot of other incidents that happen outside of the box different criteria apply in the box. As Howard Webb said yesterday if his right foot is lifted off the ground he rolls over and it’s a corner and no one talks about it.

    I think the incident actually jeans Depay can score, as the defender doesn’t lunge at the last minute to get a block, more than likely because of what went before.

    You don’t see players on the pitch react to the tackle, that for me is when you know more often than not that it was naughty.

  59. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    GIE. Fair point. I only saw the tackle once and it looked nasty.

    The MC game was interesting insomuch as I massively undervalued Juve. They are aa very good side.

    PM to write …..

  60. chas says:

  61. chas says:

  62. Red Arnie says:

    motning all. matchday. ha ha ha.

  63. Big Raddy says:

    chas.7.41. What were you searching for to find that pic? 🙂

  64. chas says:

    Haha, BR.
    I wasn’t searching for anything, it just appeared on my twitter feed.

  65. mickydidit89 says:

    Brief morning all. Still no internet, so need to be economical on dongle usage.

    Even Gunner mate a mile away is netless, so no game for us tonight 😦

    Could watch that cat vid all day. How many megs does it use? 🙂

    That’s me lot.

  66. chas says:

    The doll behind the chap in the red shirt is a bit of a corker though, isn’t it?

  67. chas says:

  68. chas says:

  69. chas says:

    Apparently The Clinton Arms has free high speed WIFI.

  70. chas says:

    Ooo, it looks as though they were an official BT Sport venue last season.

  71. Big Raddy says:

    Can’t wait until 09.30 …..

    There is a New Post

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