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Is this the best Arsenal XI of the Arsene Wenger era?

This week marks the 18th anniversary of the manager’s first game in charge, so we celebrate the players that helped him along the way.

David Seaman

Soccer - AXA FA Cup - Sixth Round - Arsenal v Derby County Source: EMPICS Sport

Arsenal haven’t been overly blessed with top goalkeepers over the course of Arsene Wenger’s time in charge, but with two doubles during his time there, Seaman is undoubtedly the exception that proves the rule.

Bacary Sagna

Soccer - Emirates Cup 2010 - Arsenal v Celtic - Emirates Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

There’s a case for both Lee Dixon and Lauren, but Sagna was arguably more naturally talented than either.

Tony Adams

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Sheffield Wednesday v Arsenal Source: EMPICS Sport

They don’t call him ‘Mr Arsenal’ for nothing, what would Arsene Wenger give for a defender of his quality now?

Sol Campbell

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Semi-Final - Second Leg - Villarreal v Arsenal - El Madrigal

There’s a case for Martin Keown, but Campbell was ultimately the better defender, playing ahead of Keown in their famous ‘Invincibles’ team that went the whole season unbeaten.

Ashley Cole

Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Sunderland v Arsenal - The Stadium of Light Source: EMPICS Sport

Love him or loathe him, and many Arsenal fans subscribe to the latter opinion, Cole’s performances while at the club could rarely be faulted.

Patrick Vieira

Arsenal v Spurs Vieira Source: David Davies

Made almost 300 appearances for Arsenal — their midfield has arguably never fully recovered from his departure.

Cesc Fabregas

EU Britain Soccer Champions League Source: AP/Press Association Images

Making his debut for Arsenal at just 16, Fabregas barely looked back from there. Though he missed out on Arsenal’s glory years, the Spaniard was easily on a par with the players that preceded him.

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Robert Pires

Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Arsenal v Manchester City - Highbury Source: AP/Press Association Images

There’s a case to be made for Freddie Ljunberg, who has similar stats to Pires, but the French World Cup winner was marginally the greater individual talent of the two.

Robin van Persie

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Barcelona - Emirates Stadium Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Marc Overmars may feel aggrieved, but Van Persie played almost twice as many games for Arsenal, and scored almost four times as many goals.

Thierry Henry

Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Arsenal v Wigan Athletic - Emirates Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

Forget his forgettable loan stint with the Gunners late in his career, Henry’s 174 goals in 254 appearances during his first period at the club make him an easy choice for this list.

Dennis Bergkamp

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership -Arsenal vs Chelsea Source: EMPICS Sport

One of the most talented and the most loved players to grace the London club, Bergkamp is so fondly remembered that the Gunners recently erected a statue in his honour.

(4-3-3) Seaman, Sagna, Adams, Campbell, Cole, Vieira, Fabregas, Pires, Van Persie, Henry, Bergkamp.

Subs: Lehmann, Keown, Toure, Petit, Ljunberg, Overmars, Anelka.

(4-4-2) Worst XI — Wright, Vivas, Squillaci, Stepanovs, Andre Santos, Pennant, Inamoto, Amaury Bischoff, Arshavin, Jeffers, Chamakh.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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