Jenny Leigh picks her ideal XI...
GK – Jens Lehmann
Jens Lehmann is my No.1 due to the fact that Wojciech Szczesny is a fantastic goalkeeper but just a little too young to be considered an Arsenal ‘great’ just yet. I have no doubt the young Pole will grow into that role ideally but he still needs experience and maturity yet.
RB – Bacary Sagna
Undoubtedly one of the Gunners’ most consistent and committed players over eight of the last nine years has been the French fullback who looks to be leaving this summer. It’s only apt that he got his FA Cup winners medal this term as he thoroughly deserves it.
CB – Sol Campbell
Sol Campbell was well into the twilight years of his career when Arsenal last won the FA Cup in 2005 but he was nothing short of a solid and dependable force in the Gunners’ back line from the day he arrived to the day he left and there are few former Spurs players who can command the kind of respect of a legend that Campbell did, does and will always at the Emirates.
CB – Laurent Koscielny
This was a tough decision: who partners Campbell in central defence? It was between Koscielny, Per Mertesacker (both of whom have been outstanding this season, for the most part) or Kolo Toure and I think the youngest of the options, the Frenchman is at the level of performance and consistency now that he can be considered a world-class centre-back which, in seasons gone by, was definitely not the case but he has grown into that role and credit must also go to the big German alongside him for that.
LB – Ashley Cole
This will not be a popular choice but the fact remains that Gael Clichy, Kieran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal, and Andre Santos simply don’t compare (yet, at least) to the player who left Arsenal to become the best left back in England for best part of the last decade. Unfortunately.
CM – Patrick Vieira
Vieira was one of the best in the world in his prime – an Arsenal legend, hero, captain and a World Cup winner, not to mention an Invincibles member. Few will ever compare to the towering France great who was imply unstoppable at his best, which was, of course, with Arsenal.
CM – Cesc Fabregas
Another bittersweet addition to the team is another former captain – the young Spaniard chose to return home to Barcelona but prior to that he gave Arsenal eight of the best years of his career and became the best midfielder in the Premier League by a country mile.
RW – Aaron Ramsey
I had to fit the Welshman in somewhere – it was going to be between him and Freddie Ljungberg and I’m giving Ramsey the nod over the fire-haired Swede purely because at his best this season he has been the complete midfielder (not a winger but I’d put him on the pitch as a ball boy if I had to). Ramsey scored the winning goal to end the nine-year trophy drought and I have a feeling he will become a legend at the club in due course so I’m putting him in ahead of time.
LW – Robert Pires
Who could forget Bobby? Another Invincibles legend with unparalleled class in time prime and there is no question he must be in the team.
ST – Dennis Bergkamp
Synonymously, there is no player who could oust the non-Flying Dutchman from this team. Dennis Bergkamp is, was and always will be magic.
ST – Thierry Henry
Finally, there are no surprises here (well, I considered Nicklas Bendtner but…) of course it has to be the Gunners record goal scorer who devastated defences across the land and remains one of the most audacious and intelligent footballers of all time who, at his peak, was probably the best striker in the world.