Team XI of the Century: Five Frenchman make Arsenal line-up
It is no secret that Arsene Wenger’s current team at Arsenal is significantly trumped by players from his earlier years at the club, but working out his actual best XI this century at the Gunners has been a tricky task.
The spine of the team almost picked itself, with Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry the first three names on the teamsheet, but from there, things were not so clear cut.
Unsurprisingly, not many of the current squad were seriously considered, although two of the players hoping to help Arsenal finish in the top four for the 17th consecutive season have managed to hold down a spot.
Arsenal are 4/6 to finish in the top four this season and if they had a few more of the players in the team below, this would be an outstanding bet.
The big debate when picking the team was deciding how much ability was retained from some of the Arsenal legends of the 90s when the century changed.
David Seaman and Tony Adams were the top two examples with Adams playing until 2002 and Seaman remaining for a season longer.
But it was determined that the qualities of William Gallas fitted in better alongside Campbell than the leadership and organisational abilities of Adams.
Meanwhile, in goal, Jens Lehmann may have had his critics and certainly threw in the odd clanger, but he was between the sticks in the unbeaten Premier League season, was impressive (until the final) in helping the Gunners reach their first Champions League final and was man of the match in the 2005 FA Cup final.
The other key decision was whether Robin van Persie’s goals in recent seasons was enough to oust Dennis Bergkamp from the striking role alongside Henry.
There is certainly the argument that with Henry tending to drift wide, a striker at their best in the opposition’s box would best complement the Frenchman.
However, Bergkamp’s playmaking talents cannot be ignored and with Theo Walcott capable of breaking in to box from a wide position, Bergkamp starts.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.