Arsenal Wingers Over the Decades: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

They told us he was the new George Best. We didn’t realise they meant he would be out on the lash every night and waste his talent…

Having watched a middle of the table team throughout the 60s, not imagining winning anything was for MY CLUB! Then attending two losing League Cup Finals at the old Wembley ploughed field, a new season and decade saw a light on the horizon.

This was especially the case as, in January 1970, Arsenal spent a new Club record – £100,000 – on “the next George Best”. One month after his 20th Birthday, Peter Marinello arrived at the Home of Football from Hibernian and the Swinging Sixties were to become the Salivating Seventies, surely!

A Scotsman by birth, he scored on his debut against Manure at Old Trafford. Bring it on!

Despite our wonderful victory in the Fairs Cup that year to release us from 17 barren years, and the joy that was the 70-71 Double, Marinello played little part in that success.

A “celebrity party lifestyle” and knee injury didnt help! He played 51 times for The Arsenal in three seasons and scored 5 goals, leaving us eventually to join the mighty ranks of Portsmouth. A disappointment, you might say.

Some forty years later, Gervais Yao Konassi, a new dynamic winger from the Ivory Coast, joined the Mighty Gunners. Gervinho as he was more commonly known, joined us from Lille in France, having scored 36 goals in two seasons with them. He cost us £10.8 million and was given shirt No 27, recently relinquished by Eboue.  An omen!

He too set off like a rocket! A goal in his first game in a friendly against FC Koln, and a sending off in his Premier League debut against  Newcastle for slapping Joey Barton (not all disappointing then!), Gervinho was with us also for two years, scoring 11 times before leaving for Roma.

So what of today? On the 1st August 2019, another Ivorian joined our ranks. Now it is not Pepe’s fault that he cost £72 million ( although I’d like to get hold of the agent on his and Lille’s side, and whoever did the deed at our end and smash their heads together!!).

I have to admit I was also one who strongly suggested Pepe would need time to settle into our team and League, but even given a pandemic season, the two years is approaching fast and I’m not sure, for all his natural talent, the boy has the right “mental state”.

For balance, Pepe scored 35 goals in two seasons at Lille and has scored 10 so far for us.What do you think? Will Pepe fulfill expectations, or will he be a flatterer to deceive.



21 Responses to Arsenal Wingers Over the Decades: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

  1. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for a really good read LBG.

    I can think of other examples: Glen Hedler from the late George Graham era; Jimmy Carter and Chris Kiwomye (ditto).

    I’m sure there are others but I can’t think of them right now.

    On the other hand we have signed wingers who have turned out to be the real deal:
    Geordie Armstrong
    Marc Overmars
    Anders Limpar
    Frieddie Ljungberg
    Robert Pires

    Maybe you could add Nasri to the list and even “Unlucky” Theo…

  2. RockyLives says:

    (Extra point for anyone who noticed that the headline includes a nod to yesterday’s Shakespeare-themed Post).

  3. LB says:

    Oooch you suffered Swindon and Leeds, I only suffered Leeds.

    Nicely threaded post to bring us up to date.

    Pepe is playing slightly better but I hope Arteta is aiming a lot higher.

  4. GF says:

    Brian Marwood was underrated for the short time he was a gunner

  5. RA says:


    A very interesting Post referring to some of our historical wing failures.

    I keep saying, if you have a duff wing you cannot hope to fly, but nobody listens.
    Now, with your Post, maybe they will! 🤪

  6. RA says:


    I love it that you are revealing yourself as a Shakin Stevens Speare aficionado. 😛

    Interestingly, having read the ‘glitter’ line in the Post, I thought at first there was a typo, as I went thru my school days believing it we “all that glisters is not gold.

    But no, you are a modern man and altho Shakin’s original line did use ‘glisters’, life moves on and the word did too, so glister became glitter and so I need to move with it, so — I will amend my best line to ladies and say instead — All that glitters is not gold, show me your belly button and we’ll forget about it. 😉

  7. RC78 says:

    I still have a bit of hope for Pepe. I think he could turn out to be a very good impact player for us albeit an expensive one. So if we think he is too expensive to be on our bench, then let us ship him out but if we think he can give us a minimum of 10 goals and 10 assists that could lead to us to Cup Glory and getting points in the EPL, then let us keep him. Tough choice.

    Now out of all the disappointing wingers, I think Walcott is the one for me despite his numerous goals and decent number of assists. I don’t think he delivered to his potential – injuries didn’t help. I think he could have been a major hit for us but in the end, he was a Top 20 hit – which is not good enough given his initial potential. He just had a hard time with decision making and understanding the game it seems.

    Sanchez is probably our best winger of the decade.
    From the decade before, I would say you have to put Henry, Pires and Ljungberg.
    From the decade before that, I would say Overmars.

  8. Pete the Thirst says:

    I associate Arsenal wingers with Highbury. The pitch was smaller and invited players to get to the line and whip the ball in. The Grove is a wider pitch and the crosses in recent years seem to have been delivered by fullbacks.

    Marwood was fantastic in 89, until he asked George for a pay rise. Limpar in 91 and more.

    Overmars had amazing pace, but the best of the lot I saw was probably Pires. He was a winger, but had much more to his game.

  9. Pete the Thirst says:

    The bad eggs…Gervinho for that miss at Bradford. Helder was wild.

    Pepe is running out of time. He isn’t starting many games and ESR & Saka are becoming shoe-ins for the starting line up. Where does he fit in?

  10. LBG says:

    Of course, when I jotted down this Post, I decided on the rule of political speeches. Three examples only ( from many winger examples) to make your point. My chief concern was for Pepe and the future, and of course, Gervinho came from the same Country which was why I selected him.
    Theo was certainly an anachronism of a goal scorer (even if, as Peaches would say “a really lovely boy”). In the final two seasons at Southampton as a fourteen and fifteen year old he scored 60 and then 50 goals for the youth teams. Some of this was of course, was due largely to pace, but after his arrival at Arsenal, selection for the World Cup squad, for me, he lost the spontaneity a striker needs to be an Aguero or an Henry. It was said many times, if Theo has time to think, he misses.
    That said, he scored some brilliant and important goals for Arsenal and I give him credit for them, despite feeling like you, he could have doubled his total.

  11. GoonerB says:

    Thanks LBG, excellent post.

    Like RC I also think Pepe could become a pretty decent player for us. he has shown recent signs of progression but more importantly he is showing signs of his game developing to be more rounded and his weak points are showing signs of improvement.

    What that says to me is 2 fold. firstly that Arteta has the ability to improve his game and secondly that pepe is obviously listening and working hard at it. That is the greatest positive, that he seems determined to up his game and become a valuable player for us.

    I don’t expect the £72m to be realised as his true potential but that is not his fault and we need to look elsewhere for blame there. He could become a very good circa £45m player which is still worth having in the squad, but to give him as a player a break I think the fans need to forget about comparing what he is doing or not to a £72m price tag and just look at if he is starting to become a valuable 1st team player.

    For me he is, and I will look forward to seeing what he can bring over the next season and a half.

  12. RC78 says:

    I am hoping that Pepe will be the main difference leading us to Europa League glory

  13. RA says:


    I think I was one of those people who looked at the rumours about Pepe’s terrific form in France, and the price paid for him seemed to reinforce the belief about his ability — after all, no one would pay £72m for a dogs body – would they?

    It was a big disappointment when the dogs body seemed to be the level in the early days for us.

    But, wait, I agree with you and RC — oh, yes — he has come on in games and we have seen his real pace beginning to show on the right wing, outpacing a number of good LBs, and demonstrating his undoubted dribbling skills.

    Ah, but wait again — the dribbling — he dribbles very well and goes by players easily, but someone sticks out a toe and bingo, he loses the ball again.

    He needs to learn to shield the ball when he gets too close to a big lummox who stands still before sticking out a casual foot and separates him from the ball.

    Fix that and everything could be better,

    So, overall I agree with you, but if he continues to blow his chances —- I will simply blame you —- obviously. 😜

  14. GoonerB says:

    Agreed RA, there are still some areas to improve on more but he seems to be working hard to iron out deficiencies to me.

    Also I still maintain that our final transition in formation will be to dropping 1 DM and playing an attacking 4 behind a number 9. You need a few players to cover those 4 positions across a season. Currently we have Auba, Martunelli, ESR. Odegaard, Saka and Pepe. I would also add Nelson to that list and 7 players to cover those 4 attacking positions is about right.

  15. RC78 says:

    Gooner B – I agree with you and it will be a 41221 set-up basically with pbbly Partey as the one in front of the defense…

    Leno – RECRUIT, Holding, Gabs, Tierney – Partey – Ode, ESR – Saka, Martinelli – Laca

    Ryan – Chambers, Luiz, Mari, Cedric – Xhaka – El Neny, Willian – Pepe, Auba – Balogun (?)

  16. RA says:

    GB, @2:51

    I like the way you, and RC too, switch on your tactical analysis, and start to think who could/should fill roles in various positions in the team and what players have complementary skills to bring to the party

    Very good. 👍

  17. RC78 says:

    Also – just to let you know that Napoli’s CB, Koulibaly, will be allowed to leave for 50 Mln + offers this summer. The guy is solid and wouldn’t mind seeing him in an Arsenal shirt as we wave good-bye to Luiz for example but Koulibaly would put Holding on the bench…

    Leno – RECRUIT, KOULIBALY, Gabriel, Tierney – Ode, Partey, ESR – Saka, Martinelli – Laca

  18. LBG says:

    And so it begins….Martin BOdegaard off with an ankle injury last night. I HATE THE INTERLULL!

  19. LBG says:

    Norwegian manager says injury is not serious and he hopes to have him back for the weekend.
    So get on the phone Mikel or he will be out for a month!!

  20. RockyLives says:

    New Post

  21. LBG says:

    Important potential changes to FFP rules from Friday onwards to be discussed by FIFA, UEFA and Clubs.
    Rather than ” spend what you have coming in”, could now be ” spend what is needed, without wastage”. Sounds like football authorities have swallowed a large dose of Johnson’s elixir of bollux!

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