Choosing an all-time Arsenal starting XI is a fairly lengthy task. The north London outfit is one of the most successful English clubs in history and have had an extensive list of outstanding players feature for the team. Arsenal have collected 13 first division/Premier League titles and a dozen FA Cup trophies, more than any other club in history.
After a few tough decisions (namely leaving striker Ian Wright out), here is my all-time Arsenal XI.
GK – David Seaman
There were high hopes for Seaman when he arrived at Arsenal from Queens Park Rangers in 1990 for £1.3 million (then a record fee for a goalkeeper). The keeper did not disappoint. Three league titles, four FA Cups, one League Cup and 564 total appearances for the north London club turned Seaman into an Arsenal legend. The ponytailed player was also a significant part of the 1998-99 squad that only allowed 17 goals in 38 league matches (team record).
RB – Lee Dixon
Dixon was Arsenal’s first choice right back for 13 consecutive seasons during his 14 1/2 year stay in with the Gunners. Arsenal brought in Dixon from Stoke City in January of 1988, and he was joined by his former teammate Steve Bould six months later. The defensive duo were purchased for under £800,000 combined. Dixon won four league titles and made two appearances in the PFA First Division Team of the Year in his illustrious career.
CB – Tony Adams
Mr. Arsenal, as he is now known, Adams played his entire career, both youth and senior, with the Gunners. The center back spent 22 years with Arsenal and even captained the team to titles in three different decades. In 2011, Arsenal unveiled a statue of Adams, along with two other Arsenal legends in this list, outside of Emirates Stadium. His 669 total appearances for the Gunners is second most all-time.
CB – David O’Leary
Speaking of all-time appearances with Arsenal, no other player featured for the Gunners more than O’Leary (722 times). While O’Leary sometimes gets overlooked, the center back is certainly deserved to be called an Arsenal icon. He ended up winning two league titles, two FA Cups, and two League Cups during his 18 seasons with Arsenal. O’Leary and Adams partnered in Arsenal’s central defense for 10 years.
LB – Nigel Winterburn
Along with Adams and Dixon, Winterburn was part of the “famous four” Arsenal defense during the 1990’s. Winterburn’s game combined tough tackling alongside aiding the Gunners attack. Winterburn flew a bit under the radar during his playing career, as he only made two senior England national team appearances; however, the Three Lions did have both Stuart Pearce and Arsenal player Kenny Sansom in the left back position during Winterburn’s career.
DM – Patrick Vieira
Vieira was a complete player. The midfielder was a concoction of intelligence, power and technique that manned Arsenal’s middle of the pitch for nine seasons. In these nine years, Vieira helped guide the Gunners to seven significant trophies and was named in the PFA Team of the Year six times. Upon Adams’ retirement from professional soccer in May 2002, Vieira was named Arsenal captain.