There was a 13-year period when being given the squad number 11 at Arsenal was pretty much a guarantee of success.
Between 1997 and 2010 Arsenal’s four number 11s were among the shining lights for supporters, mixing creativity with goals and all-round solid performances.
However, following in the footsteps of Nicolas Anelka, Marc Overmars, Sylvain Wiltord and Robin van Persie has not proved an easy task.
Carlos Vela never truly got a run in the first-team in his preferred position, although it’s arguable his game was never really suited to the rough-and-tumble of the Premier League.
Meanwhile, Andre Santos’ played like a number 11 historically should, marauding down the left wing in search of goals and assists.
Shame he was a defender really, as from a positional standpoint and tackle wise he was one of the Premier League’s worst.
Arsenal’s first two number 11s weren’t world beaters either, with Eddie McGoldrick a name many supporters now would not have heard of and Glenn Helder, who had the speed of an Olympic 100m runner, but little else.
The Gunners are certainly due a number 11 that will prove a big hit in the first-team again and Mesut Ozil definitely has the price tag and the background to fulfill this obligation.
Interestingly, one thing that is common among Anelka, Overmars, Wiltord and Van Persie is that they have all scored Premier League goals in Arsenal victories over Manchester United, with the middle pair netting the only goals in 1-0 triumphs at Old Trafford.
Arsenal are 17/20 to finish in the top four this season, 11/5 to secure a top-three finish and 5/1 to occupy a top-two spot. One or two victories over Man Utd will be a big help in any of these quests.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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