The classy Frenchman Arsene Wenger coached Arsenal for over two decades, becoming the most successful coach in the club’s history while establishing unprecedented best practices for dieting, training, and scouting. Here we document the Professor’s best players during his reign for the Gunners.
The legendary center-back Tony Adams played his entire 22-year career with the club, captaining 14 of them. He remains the only player in Premiership history to captain a team to three titles in three different decades. Known as “Mr Arsenal,” Adams is one of 5 player statues commemorated at Emirates Stadium. Said Wenger: “When I first came to Arsenal, I realized the back four were all university graduates in the art of defending. As for Tony Adams, I consider him to be a doctor of defense. He is simply outstanding.”
With creativity and vision, Dennis Bergkamp came to define class during his 11 seasons at Arsenal. He scored 120 goals with the club, most notably the one touch and subtle flick past the Leicester City goalkeeper in 1997, where he also scored his first hat-trick. Bergkamp also recorded 94 assists during his time at Highbury, making him the Gunners top assist-provider to this day.
At 6ft 4in, the tough-tackling Frenchman Patrick Vieira played a critical role in Wenger’s squad as a box-to-box midfielder. His all-around excellence on both sides of the field earned him many plaudits, making him the Arsenal captain from 2002 – 2005. While not a prolific goal scorer, he nonetheless secured the Invincibles 2003–04 season with a crucial goal against Leicester City.
The King of Arsenal, Thierry Henry remains Arsenal’s all-time scorer with 228 goals in all competitions. Gaining the reputation as one of Europe’s most feared strikers, Henry became the Premier League's top goal-scorer in 4 different seasons, notching a prolific 32 goals and 23 assists in the 2002-03 season. With the ability to score anywhere on the pitch, he elevated his game in the 2003-04 season, scoring 39 goals in the Gunners unbeaten top-flight league season. Considered the greatest Gunner of all-time, Henry won two league titles, three FA Cups, four Golden Boots, and five Player of the Year awards throughout his career.
The Swedish footballer made a grand entrance into the Premiership with an opening goal against rivals Manchester United in 3-0 win in 1998. Most adept at the wing, Ljungberg also played comfortably in a central role behind strikers where he netted 17 goals in the 2001 – 2002 campaign. A regular starter for Arsene Wenger, the crafty winger won two titles and three FA Cups during his illustrious career.
Signing for Arsenal at the age of 16 in 2003, Cesc Fabregas remains Arsenal’s youngest player and goal scorer. Given the daunting task of filling in for an injured Patrick Vieira during the 2003-04 campaign, the starlet stepped up and molded into his own. The following year Fabregas adopted the #4 shirt and helped lead Arsenal to the 2006 Champions League Final with a 2-1 defeat to Barcelona, a team he went on to play for in 2011.
Signed in 1990 by then Arsenal coach George Graham, David Seaman went on to win the 1990-91 league title while conceding just 18 goals all season. He won the Double twice thereafter with Arsene Wenger at the helm, in both the 1998 and 2002 seasons.
Criticized by Tottenham fans for his controversial move to crosstown rivals Arsenal in 2001, Sol Campbell developed into a cornerstone for the Gunner defense. The man Arsene Wenger often referred to as a ‘super rock,’ helped the club win the double in 2002 and played an important role on the side that went undefeated in the 2003-04 season.
Signed by Arsenal in 2000 to replace Marc Overmars, Robert Pires quickly became the goalscoring winger Arsenal fans were looking for. A critical part of the 2003-04 Invincibles, he scored 57 goals in all competitions alongside Thierry Henry. Known for inspiring deadly counter-attacks and exquisite finishes, he set the bar high for the level of excellence expected at the club.
The speedy Dutch winger only played three seasons with Arsenal but racked up a total of 41 goals in 142 appearances. Overmars played for the side that helped Wenger win his first Double in 1998, scoring the vital goal against Manchester United to secure the Premier League title.
Ashley Cole played for his boy club Arsenal for seven seasons before a messy transfer saga led to his departure to Chelsea. Cole played 156 games for the Gunners, helping them win two league titles and three FA Cups. He’s considered by some to be the best left back in the world in his prime, much of the time he spent Chelsea.