As Arsene Wenger heads into his 1,000th Arsenal game, his legacy will be celebrated with many memories. Some are good, others aren’t so much, but we’ve found one untouched by the masses.
Beautiful football, unbeaten seasons, trophy winning, cautious spending, red cards, blindness and an inability to zip up his coat are all among the traits you’ll hear discussed in celebration of the Frenchman, who is 16/5 to beat Chelsea in his landmark match.
It wasn’t that long ago, though, that the former Monaco manager was going to be the death of English football, as he constantly recruited from overseas. That isn’t really the case these days, so rather than churn out another “Greatest Wenger XI”, here’s the “All-English” version.
The fact Wenger paid £6m for Richard Wright, only to use the former Ipswich stopper as an exclusive back-up to David Seaman proves the moustachioed England international is the only choice to man this All-English net.
The golden defensive generation is broken up, with only Lee Dixon and Tony Adams surviving in the back line. The slightly more modern selections of Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole oust Martin Keown and Nigel Winterburn from the team sheet.
Midfield wasn’t Wenger’s most trusted area for Englishness, preferring more technically proficient European or Brazilian options, but we’ve scrabbled Ray Parlour (203 Premier League appearances under Wenger) and Jack Wilshere (current boy-wonder) together to man the middle of the park.
Although only surviving Wenger’s first full season in charge before moving on, David Platt – who scored four times in 41 appearances that term – takes up the number 10 role with current-squad-trailblazers Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain keeping him company on either flank.
Although Francis Jeffers made it a close run thing, sort of, Ian Wright is the man asked to score the side’s goals, something he did with regularity in setting the now-broken goals record for the Gunners under Wenger’s tutelage.
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