Team of the Decade: Arsenal

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 05: Robin van Persie of Arsenal celebrates after scoring a goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Norwich City at the Emirates Stadium on May 05, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Picking the Arsenal team of the decade is not a particularly easy task. Unlike the previous decade where the Gunners were used to winning trophies and participating regularly in the Champions League, this last decade saw them slip out of Europe’s elite club competition. Due to the mediocre nature of their performances, Arsenal were unable to attract and/or keep old off footballing superstars. Hence, the competition for places was not always as fierce as it should have been in some positions for a club of Arsenal’s magnitude. It has not been all doom and gloom for the Gunners though as they have picked up three FA Cups. Some of Europe’s best players have donned the famous red shirt in this decade as well. Let us take a trip down memory lane and pick Arsenal’s team of the decade.

Arsenal Team of the Decade

Manager – Arsène Wenger

Arsène Wenger is the obvious choice as the manager of the Arsenal team of the decade. Unai Emery was the manager for a brief period but one cannot possibly think of his reign as anything other than an utter disaster. Under Wenger, Arsenal won the FA Cup three times in four seasons. Despite fans turning on him in the last season or so, Wenger’s time at the helm is always looked back with fondness. At least, the football was mostly entertaining. The Gunners had some memorable victories in the last decade under him as well. The 2-1 victory over Barcelona in 2011 comes to mind first. Then, there was the massive 3-2 FA Cup final win over Hull City after coming back from 2-0 down. Definitely, Wenger was the best manager Arsenal have ever had.

Formation – 4-2-3-1

In the last decade, most teams have played with one up front. Arsenal have done the same on most occasions as well. Hence, a 4-2-3-1 formation has been used to create the Arsenal team of the decade.

Goalkeeper – Wojciech Szczęsny

Wojciech Szczęsny beats off competition from Łukasz Fabiański and Petr Čech to win the goalkeeper’s shirt of the Arsenal team of the decade. Szczęsny started the FA Cup final victory over Aston Villa in 2015. The Polish shot-stopper first arrived in 2006 and came through the youth academy of Arsenal. He is loved by everyone still and many did not support the decision to let him go to Juventus in 2017.

Szczęsny is a Gooner through and through as well, which cannot be said about Petr Čech. Szczęsny was only 24 when he won the Premier League Golden Glove award jointly with Petr Čech. His time at Arsenal is looked back with fondness, mostly. Let’s just forget about that League Cup final against Birmingham City.

Right-Back – Bacary Sagna

Bacary Sagna was a reliable option for Arsenal at right-back. He was solid at the back and quite dangerous going forward as well. The Frenchman had a happy habit of scoring against Tottenham Hotspur also.

Sagna was part of the starting 11 that ended Arsenal’s trophy drought in the 2014 FA Cup final. He made the PFA Team of the Year on two occasions too.

He deserves the right-back spot over Héctor Bellerín.

Centre-Back – Laurent Koscielny

In the last decade, Arsenal had some shaky centre-backs playing for them. Laurent Koscielny was definitely one of them. However, the Frenchman still proved to be a world-class performer for the Gunners. He became club captain eventually and played through the pain barrier a number of times. The way he left the club was not at all pleasant. However, he deserves this spot for sure.

Centre-Back – Per Mertesacker

Per Mertesacker joined Arsenal on deadline day in 2011 straight after the 8-2 defeat to Manchester United. It was a tumultuous time at Arsenal.

The BFG provided experience and calmness at the back that was much needed at the time to turn things around. Mertesacker was a key member of all three of Arsenal’s FA cup wins in the last decade. The 2017 FA Cup final against ​Chelsea was a special match for him as he was simply outstanding.

The German had not started a match for Arsenal for months before that but came back to deliver a fantastic performance against the league winners.

Left-Back – Nacho Monreal

Nacho Monreal is a player loved by all the Arsenal fans. He always gave his all for the club.

The Spaniard was often deployed at centre-back and he did well in that position too.

Monreal is the undisputed choice at left-back.

Centre Midfielder – Aaron Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey was perhaps the best player of the decade for Arsenal. He scored the winning goals of the FA Cup finals in 2014 and 2017. Despite having multiple injuries during this decade, Ramsey became a club-legend at Arsenal.

The Welshman is the highest-scoring midfielder in Arsenal’s history with 64 goals in 369 appearances. Sadly, he was somehow allowed to leave for free, a common denominator of many members of the Arsenal team of the decade.

Centre Midfielder – Santi Cazorla

Santi Cazorla is probably the most loved player on this side. The Spaniard was a magician with the ball at his feet.

He produced a masterclass against Manchester City in 2015 which will live long in the memory of Arsenal fans.

Cazorla was instrumental in that memorable comeback against Hull City. His free-kick brought Arsenal back into the game. He won the Arsenal Player of the Season award in his first season as well.

Unfortunately, Cazorla’s time at Arsenal ended tragically through a horrific injury.

Centre Attacking Midfielder – Mesut Özil

Mesut Özil became Arsenal’s record signing in 2013 when he signed from Real Madrid for £42.5 million. That transfer sparked massive celebrations amongst Gooners all over the world.

Since then, the German has been one of the most frustrating players at the club. On his day, Özil was simply phenomenal.

He picked up the Arsenal Player of the Season award in 2016. He has registered more assists than any other Arsenal player this decade. His place in this side is deserved without a doubt.

Right Winger – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang only joined Arsenal in 2018. However, his place in the team of the decade is well-deserved.

The Gabonese won the Golden Boot in his first full Premier League season. He scores goals for fun and those goals have often dragged an average Arsenal side through tough times.

The final signing of the Wenger era has become a talisman at the club and Arsenal fans hope he will stay on at the club for a few more seasons.

Left Winger – Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez was superb during his time in North London. He wowed the crowd with dazzling performances regularly. The Chilean won Arsenal’s Player of the Year award twice in four years. He was quite sensational at times during his stay.

However, by the time Sanchez left Arsenal, his relationship with the fans became quite feisty. Regardless, he deserves his spot in this side.

Striker – Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie scored 132 goals in 278 games for Arsenal. He was the club captain and scored 30 goals in the 2011/12 season to pick up the golden boot. The Dutch striker was at Arsenal for eight seasons.

Unfortunately, like many other players in this side, van Persie also left making Arsenal fans angry. He was a magnificent player and losing him to Manchester United hurt Gooners really badly.

Substitutes

Łukasz Fabianski

Mikel Arteta

Olivier Giroud

Theo Walcott

Héctor Bellerín

Francis Coquelin

Jack Wilshere

 

Main Photo

Embed from Getty Images

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