So we have been discussing our up and coming players lately with Tierney, Saka and ESR taking the spotlight. ESR was even compared to Pires…
From the firing French contingency under Wenger at AFC, we hear a lot (and rightly so) about Vieira, Henry, Pires and even Anelka but there is not much mention of Sylvain Wiltord.
With 49 goals in 175 appearances and being a two-times EPL and FA Cup winner, Wiltord was unquestionably part of a fantastic group of players. He wasn’t the fastest, he wasn’t the strongest but he gave his all. He mostly played as a right winger and was used mostly like an “impact bench player” but does the fanbase underrate him?
As a French man, my fondest memory of him is of course his equalizer at the end of regular time in the Euro 2000 final against Italy. As an Arsenal fan, I cannot forget his goal againt Utd which gaves us the title in 2000-2001 and his goal the gollowing year vs Utd in the FA Cup final.
So what is your take on SW?
In terms of EPL stats:
106 games, 31 goals and 16 assists ; 63 wins, 14 losses.
Splendid idea for a Post RC.
My favourite memory is his goal at Old Trafford to clinch the title in 2002 (not 2001). I was there and it was a great, great night.
He was a quality player but obviously not on the same level as some of his French compatriots of the time.
As you say, a very reliable, hard working player.
To my mind he benefitted from being in an amazing team with amazing players around him – they raised his level (and to his credit he was able to rise to the occasion).
Henry, Vieira, Pires would have vastly improved any team they were in – I don’t see Sylvain as someone who could do that, but his contribution to Arsenal was excellent and well worth reminding us of.
I think you are spot on Rocky. I ll make a very dangerous analogy. Was SW our Solskjaer?
Not a bad comparison RC.
I saw him as taking over the mantle of Kanu as the back-up striker option, played off the bench when we’re chasing a goal.
His skill set was different from Kanu’s (less mercurial and less technically gifted, but more hard working and more direct).
In 1999, Wiltord was Player of the Year in France. I think he had finished best scorer in Ligue 1 that year. Yeah, it is true – he kind of took over from Kanu’s role in a different way. Good point.
A decent player RC. Reminds me of Lacazette in ways. Not the fastest or most prolific but scored important goals.
That one at Old Trafford was probably his most memorable. The image of Kanu jumping over his head is imprinted in my mind.
@Rocky. You were lucky to be there. Did you make it out alive? They’re a nasty bunch up there and not happy when they lose.
My favourite moment mirrors everyone else’s with that goal at OT and Kanu leapfrogging him. I seem to remember one other favourite bit that day, but am not sure if I am now imagining it. Maybe Rocky can enlighten on whether this really happened, but I remember a big banner in the Arsenal away section being unfurled that read “Old Trafford Champions Section”.
Wiltord brings me to a point I have made a few times regarding what is required in a squad to win the EPL. That is that not every player can be a world class superstar and you need decent dependable players as back up to the superstars, to rotate and prevent burn out and step in and contribute to a win when the superstar is missing.
I sometimes feel that we expect every midfielder to be Vieira and every number 10 to be Bergkamp even when they are the back up player. We need dependable people to do a job in this squad who are happy to back up other players and not moan.
This is why we shouldn’t dismiss the potential importance of the likes of Chambers, Elneny, Willock, Willian e.t.c. for instance, Luiz would get another year right now for me but maybe with him more becoming that solid back up player next season.
Willian should be our go to ESR back up right now and I would go as far to say that we need to give Tierney, Saka and ESR a rest in one of the 2 back to back Southampton games, depending on whether we prioritise league or cup right now.
I hope it’s not too early to get in there but my line up for Saturday (in our 4-2-1-3 system) might be:
Bellerin ——- Luiz —– Mari/Gabriel —- Soares
——————Elneny ——– Partey
—— Pepe ———- Martinelli —— Maitland Niles
Hi GoonerB – I agree with you that we need a first class starting XI supported by solid/reliable bench players. I think Arteta is working towards that. There are some areas of concern of course but I think he is slowly getting to know his best formation and best starting XI in that formation and this is already a big deal. Seems we have been waiting for this moment since 2016…lol
In terms or our squad, I still have reserves about our
– GK – Is Runnarsson reliable enough as a back-up?
– RB – Are Bellerin and Soares good enough?
– LB – We need a reliable back-up to Tierney
– DM – Assuming Partey plays a bit more like a CM, who is our best DM? Xhaka?
– AM – Who takes over the game when ESR needs a rest? Ceba?
– RW – Who gets the nod behind Saka? Pepe? Willian? RN
– ST positions – Who get the nod behind Laca? Nketiah?
This season, it seems we are on with:
Leno – Bello, Holding, Gabs, Tierney – Partey, Xhaka – Saka, ESR, Auba – Laca
It was a brilliant night (I’ve told the story on here before).
We could only get tickets in the home fans section so we were very nervous, but when we got in the ground it turned out the tickets were right next to the away fans’ sections, and pretty much all the people around us in the home section were Gooners. I think all the United fans who sit there had got rid of their tickets because they didn’t want to have to suffer seeing the Arsenal fans celebrate right beside them.
There was no trouble after the game that we saw – the Mancs seemed generally too depressed for aggro.
A couple of thousand Mancs stayed behind in the stadium to applaud us receiving the trophy, which I thought was pretty classy.
you’re 100% right about the banner 😀
Nice post RC, Wilford was probably unappreciated in the same way many others have been before him, Andy Linnighan, Kevin Campbell, Andy Cole (keep that one in mind when thinking about our current youngsters), and probably a fair few more.
Taking up on the point GB makes above it’s very important to get the right balance in the squad/reserves. Undoubtedly some old heads around the squad can be a good thing, think Keown in the invincible season, the last man standing from GGs defence rarely played but must have been indispensable in the changing room.. But in the main it should be made up of players not quite good enough to be regular starters, but good enough when needed, young players should be in this group as they tend to have speed in the legs and that can make up for other deficiencies in their play, and if they’ve come through the academy an inbuilt desire to do well for the club that gave them their chance means they run their socks off, that should also be the pre requisite of anyone in the squad/reserves, there can be no one who thinks turning out in the Europa League or Carabao cup is beneath them, and if they truly believe they should be starting they shouldn’t sulk. The bench/squad is no place for sulkers.
Many know my biggest gripe with acquisitions over last few years has been the seemingly unnecessary desire to pay decent money for players from overseas when we could have utilised players in the club just to satisfy those calling for “investment”. That could have freed up money to actually invest in some genuine finished articles.
There seems to be a little more clarity now in direction and they seem to have belatedly realised that we were bloated more now than at any time in the last ten/twenty years.
I’d take ten with Wiltord’s attitude in the squad tomorrow as Rocky says he was lifted by some of those around him but also never gave less than 100% when he was called upon, he wasn’t stupid he wasn’t as good as Freddie on right wing or Thierry up front or Pires on the left, but if he did what was asked of him he would keep getting game time and he never tried to be something he wasn’t. That said it must be nice to know you are going to win things when you are in a squad like that, and maybe that’s the bit that makes it harder for some players, if you are at a winning club in the squad you share in that success, if you are a squad player in a side trying to sneak into the top 8 it probably costs a bit more to convince you to come.
4 year unbeaten home record ended by….. Burnley 😂😂😂😂😂 Bloody brilliant!!
Oh boo-hoo poor scousers 🤣
Happy place! Happy place!!
Thank you, Burnley, you’ve made my night!!
Pete the Thirst & Gunner B;
“That one at Old Trafford was probably his most memorable. The image of Kanu jumping over his head is imprinted in my mind”
No doubt – so true – brilliant memory.
He was our record signing for a good while.
Did he live up to that billing? No. A solid player nonetheless.