It’s Monday (again) and the weeks post season are certainly flying past… If you’ve been watching the Confederations Cup, then you may have seen Arsenal target Filipe Melo in action again alongside Gilberto Silva for Brazil as they beat Italy 3-0 to progress to a mouth watering tie against the hosts, South Africa in the semi-finals. All three goals coming in an eight minute spell at the end of the first half with a Luis Fabiano double and an own goal from Liverpool player Dossena. It’s been an exciting tournament so far and a test run for next year’s World Cup. With USA and Spain the other semi final, it could be a Brazil vs Spain final and that would be a match not to be missed.
Back home, the Times newspaper has released the “Top 50 Arsenal players” and it’s a list that makes for interesting reading…
The top five being:
5. Thierry Henry
4. Patrick Vieira
3. Alex James
2. Dennis Bergkamp
1. Tony Adams
Personally, as I scrolled through the pages, I really thought I’d see Thierry Henry as number one and was actually quite surprised to see the ex-Portsmouth manager as number one. No discredit to Tony but Thierry would have been my number one – the years he gave us were simply amazing, some of the best football I’ve watched in my life. But at the same time, Tony Adams was a rock at the heart of the Arsenal defence for many a year.
The notes alongside Thierry read:
How can a player who smashed practically every club goalscoring record at the club be as low No 5? Well mostly because the four players above him had a greater impact on the history of the club, laying the foundations to lift Arsenal to new heights. Henry joined a side that was a penalty miss and a point or so away from back-to-back doubles. Mind you, there were times when watching him that you could believe you were watching the best player in the world.
Four Championships, three FA Cups, two league cups, one European Cup Winners Cup. An impressive haul that doesn’t even come close to describing the influence Adams had over the best part of 20 years as an Arsenal player. George Graham built his team around him, he was the man Arsène Wenger had to win over to ensure that his French Revolution didn’t flounder immediately. At his best, Adams was a superb defender and, most importantly, a fine organiser of a defence with the ability to get the best out of those around him on the pitch (but it would seem, not in the dugout). He would easily be the first name on the Greatest Arsenal XI teamsheet, so makes an obvious No 1 here.
It got me thinking… who would be my top 10 all time Arsenal greats – and of course, I don’t have the first hand vantage point of seeing the golden oldies but my Arsenal career (if that’s the right word) spans 25 years or so and within that period, I’ve been graced with the likes of David Rocastle, Micheal Thomas, Paul Merson, Ian Wright, Robert Pires, Thiery Henry, Dennis Bergkamp amongst others. So who would feature in my all time XI… so here goes: (based on players at their peak)…
Dixon – Campbell – Adams – Clichy
Pires – Vieira – Merson – Overmars
Bergkamp – Henry
Maybe a little controversial, especially as when speaking to my peers about this, my inclusion of Dixon over Sagna heavily questioned, but yes, the current TV presenter Dixon, took my vote based on his years of consistency and 100%… with Sagna having only been at the club for 2 years, he couldn’t feature as the best right back in the last 25 years, it just wouldn’t make sense. And then my inclusion of Merson was also something that a few people had raised their eyebrows against – but Paul Merson, in his peak, playing the football for which he became famous for, was an amazing attacking midfielder with audicious vision and creativity…
Who would your top players be? What would be your best XI in the last 25 years odd?
I’ll be back later today or tomorrow with a round up of news and rumours circulating the team, but for now I’ll leave you with those thoughts…