Sound the drumroll, raise the curtain, set off the fireworks. Here it is: Arsenal’s Team of the Decade (2010-2019) as voted by YOU, the wonderful readers of AA.
Feast your eyes and let it sink in:
That’s right, there’s no place for Petr Cech, or for Aaron Ramsey, or Mesut Ozil, or Alex Song or… well, you get the point.
The line-up looks to me like a strong team that would give anyone a tough game (especially when all these players were at their peak), but I have two big reservations about it:
One, I suspect that there won’t be a single supporter who is fully happy with this line-up and who would not prefer to tweak it. That’s the drawback with the public vote format. For example, in midfield, Cazorla and Fabregas were first and second in votes, but how many people who voted for either would have preferred them alongside a more box-to-box player like Ramsey?
Two, even though these are our best players of the decade as chosen by you, I don’t think I could put my hand on my heart and say that this team would have won the league in any given season between 2010 and 2019. Possibly in 2015/16 when Leicester City were champions, but even then I’m not sure.
You’d hope there would be plenty of goals from the front three plus Cesc and Santi, but we’d be relying on Arteta as a deep lying creative player rather than a midfield stopper like Song or Torreira. Will that provide the back four with enough protection?
What do you think?
First some facts and figures. I won’t go through all the numbers today, but here is how the voting breaks down for the most popular two or three players in each category:
This was the closest head-to-head, with our current ‘keeper just edging out the Pole in Goal. I expected Cech to gain more votes than he did.
No doubt about who the winner was here.
Perhaps a little surprising that Nacho romped home so comfortably ahead of the likes of Clichy, Gibbs and Kolasinac, but he was our most consistent LB during the decade.
These three were well ahead of the also-rans. I wonder if the fact that it’s been so long since we saw Tommy V in Arsenal colours kept his vote lower than it might have been.
Another close one and a bit of a surprise, to me at least. It seems voters favoured control and playmaking from deep over defensive tenacity. However, it’s nice that our current head coach is in our Team of the Decade.
I expected Cesc to walk this one, but we were spoilt for choice and I can’t say that Santi doesn’t deserve to be top choice.
A clear winner, but it was close between the next three (Nasri was not far behind Podolski).
Robin was a terrific player but I was surprised he was such an emphatic winner. Alexis did well here, but I’m aware some readers would have preferred to have him as an option in the Wide Attackers category.
Van Persie 54%
Using the most popular choices after the winners in each category, we have the following (very strong) Substitutes Bench*:
Szczesny, Clichy, Vermaelan, Song, Ramsey, Arshavin, Sanchez.
*Based on the current EPL rules of allowing seven subs.
Before you get stuck in in comments, AA would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who voted. We had well over 1,500 votes in all the categories so we really can say this poll is representative of how we fans feel about the players who were with us during 2010-2019.
Tomorrow we’ll reveal what the LEAST popular starting 11 of the decade is, according to the votes. And we’ll highlight some other interesting, unusual or downright shocking points to come out of the process (like the fact that not a single player – not even Chamakh, Gervinho and Mustafi) received zero votes. Perhaps some of them voted for themselves? Or maybe their mums and dads have been busy…
Thanks everyone for taking part in this exercise.
It’s one way to pass a boring non-football week, right?
For what it’s worth, I voted for this team:
Sagna – BFG – Koscielny – Monreal
Fabregas – Ramsey
Walcott – RVP – Aubameyang
So 9 out of 11 of my picks tallied with the majority view.
But it’s heart breaking to leave out Santi, Ollie, Arshavin, Tommy V among others.
Long live RockyLives 🙂 It has been a wonderful series of post that really got us engaged the past few days – a massive thanks!
My view on the results:
1. I think the back 4 was basically locked in. The only doubt being at LB but even then, it seems Monreal was a clear winner,
2. I can’t believe Leno finished first although he didn’t really have a great time/seasons with us. I would have expected Cech or PiG.
3. I think Arteta won the DM position because he is our current coach and we re secretly hoping that he is reading this blog and that this vote will give him further assurance that we re supporting him 😛
4. I am baffled about the lack of votes for Ramsey. Don’t get me wrong, I love Cesc and Santi but I believe Ramsey was more attached to the club and also had more iconic moments with us. We also always played better with him in the squad in the last decade.
5. I think Auba was going to be a clear winner at LW but I suspect aht if Sanchez was in the mix for wide players, then Walcott would have finished 3rd in the vote,
6. Which brings me to RVP who was our most talented strikers (too often injured and left like a piece of cr@p) so no surprises here but I think that if Sanchez was in the wide players, then OG would have been on the bench.
7. My voted team (I cheated a bit b/c I said in the voting process that I can only vote for one winger as I leave one spot for Sanchez :-P):
Starting XI: Cech – Bac, Kos, BFG, Clichy – Ramsey, Torreira, Cazorla – Sanchez, Auba – RVP
Bench: PiG, Bellerin, Monreal, Cesc, Song, Walcott, OG
Only 6 of my starting XI players made the cut
8. Would the AA blog team have been able to win the league? Not sure but I would have fancied their chances in the Europa League and in domestic cups.
Interestingly, Ozil did not make it to the bench even…although he has produced more clear cut chances and assists than anyone since he joined us.
If Chelsea got Ziyech for 45 Mln EUR and Tottenham got Bergwin for the same price, I think they just got themselves quality players for a bargain. These 2 players would have been quality additions to our squad. I wonder which players Arteta has identified but I am hoping that the following players are on his radar: Cancelo, Koulibaly, Gaya, Ndidi, Ruiz, Grealish, Mitrovic 😛
Morning all it’s been an interesting series, sorry I haven’t been around to discuss each position.
The team I voted for:
Sagna BFG Koz Nacho
Walcott Giroud Podolski
I did write a comment yesterday that clearly didn’t send to explain.
So I’ll try again….
For me both Ozil and Alexis suffered from being in the wrong category, I would have had both in my team as wide men, which would have allowed me to bring Rambo in to midfield drop Theo and Pod.
No RvP, no Cesc I hear you cry? Well was one or two seasons enough to get them in to see in to our team of the decade? Not for me.
On goalkeeper it really was tough as none for me have been exceptional but Leno has looked closest to the part. Oh how we miss the days of great goalkeepers.
Wilson, Jennings, Lukic, Seaman, Lehman and then……..
Left back again Nacho Mr consistent, and Sagna at right back as being the most complete we have had in that position.
Centre backs was a no brained Kozzer became far better with BFG alongside him and BFG was just class.
Arteta again for his classiness in that position and the fact that he sacrificed his own attacking instinct for the benefit of the team.
I voted for Ramsey. I can see why Cesc and Santi scored higher than him because both, at their best, are probably more gifted players BUT… it’s a better team when one of Santi/Cesc is paired with Ramsey (in my opinion).
You’re not alone in thinking certain players should have been in different categories. A team with Sanchez and Auba either side of Ollie G would be one heck of a goal threat.
Looking at the team selected by the people who voted, I would set it out as: standard back 5 (including GK); Arteta and Cesc sitting deeper in MF, although with Cesc having more freedom to roam forward; Santi in advanced central MF/withdrawn No. 10 role; RVP and Auba free to swap positions at will; Theo stays wide right.
Thanks for a mind blowing effort, Rocky.
For me Thursday Feb 13th has only one significance (other than of course your poll), Happy 64th Birthday Liam “Chippy” Brady.
Nice one LBG – Born is the King of Highbury…
Thank you Rocky, great series of articles and testing polls.
You are correct. I am not entirely happy with that team. My main reason is that probably only 4 would be considered ‘world class’ … and that’s out of goodness knows how many have featured in the first 11 in the decade … probably 80 or more I suspect. The main area weakness is the defence (surprise surprise), where there are no worldies.
Also, as you say the team is unbalanced in midfield, but that is a result of the voting system.
Oddly it does make me optimistic for the future. I’d like to think several of our current crop will make it into the next team of the decade – particularly the younger players.
@Rasp – I sent a post on that very topic a few days ago. It would pbbly benefit from your and Peaches massaging but the point that I was making in the post was to know whether we should stick with our promising players and not recruit players OR if we do need a bit more quality and experience to help them fulfil their potential…
I think that Saliba, Guendouzi, Saka, Martinelli will come through for us and I think that Willock and Nelsson may also come good but I have less certainty concerning these two. There is also a question mark on ESR…Let us see but I think that barring injuries Bellerin, Saliba, Torreira, Guendouzi, Saka and Martinelli will be in our 2025 post on “Team of the half-decade” 🙂
Team of Decade (2020 to 2029)
Leno, Bellerín, Tierney, Saliba, Torreira, Guendouzi, Saka, Pépé, Martinelli.
Holding, Willock, Smith Rowe, Nelson, Nketiah
(fingers-crossed, best of luck)
Hi RC, sorry, I’ve been out of the loop for a while. Did you email your post in?
I agree with the 5 you list as possible ‘greats’ … I still think there is unrealised potential in Maitland-Nyles and hopefully Tierney can stay fit and develop as we had hoped.
@Rasp – I sent to the “arsenalnuts” email and YES fully agree with Tierney.
@JM – can’t argue with your team.
A decent team. I had Arshavin for PEA & Torreira for Arteta to provide more balance, but 9/11 aint bad.
Not sure that team was good enough to win the Premier League but it would have come close. A lot closer than we got this past decade.
I think the Leicester season was the open goal that Wenger missed like Diana Ross at the 1994 world cup finals. You just had to push the boat out and get a top quality CF Arsene!
I remember lots of Arsenal fans celebrating after we beat Spurs into 2nd place. It felt hollow. We were 10 points off the top and it was starting to fall apart.
Bellerin – BFG – Koscielny – Monreal
Cazorla – Ozil
Nasri – Giroud – Aubameyang
Good looking team VP.
Song was an outstanding holding MF when he maintained positional discipline. If that’s the Song who plays in your team, with Santi keeping possession of the ball, it could really bring out the best of Ozil.
At some point Song either decided to start playing in a more advanced role or was told to do so by Arsene, but it was never his best role.
I was surprised Theo made the first eleven and also surprised Ramsey and Ozil weren’t closer to a starting berth.
Interesting outcome, Rocky L, and thanks for a great effort. Would that team beat the nr2 or nr3s though?
Bellerin Vermaelen Gallas Clichy
Arshavin Giroud Sanchez
It would be a hell of a good game. The ‘B” team might win just on the basis of having cloned Arshavin 😀
But seriously, I don’t think there’s much to choose between the A team as voted and your B team.
And how about this C Team:
Maitland-Niles – Holding – Sokratis – Kolasinac
Diaby – Rosicky
Nasri – Lacazette – Podolski
I like the MF and front line for my C Team – but I suspect the back line would be a bit suspect.
There were always two Arshavins on display : one who meant business and one who was having a laugh 😂
That C team, with a fully fit Diaby and Mozart,. would give any team a game. Maybe Debuchy instead of Maitland.. 👍
You’re right – a fully fit Debuchy was a class act. And Diaby at his best may be the best MF in the whole selection.
Sell Aubang and bring in Miedema! Those ladies play some wonderful football.
Just to round of this amazing set of posts, thank you Rocky, we present the Worst Team of the Decade
New Post ……………