My Favourite All-Time Arsenal-11: Vieira Behind Cesc and Dennis, Two Frenchmen Up-Top

The interlull is almost over so let’s have a bit of fun till it’s Sunday and the Gunners will play at Vicarage Road.

We all have our favourite players both in the here and now and for all the time we’ve supported the mighty red and white boys. Just imagine if we could just play our favourite players this weekend, and that time and age have no meaning whatsoever.

Soccer - FA Cup - Arsenal Winners Parade
Ooh to Be!

It’s been a while since we did a post about our favourite all time Arsenal players, and today I gave it some thought once again. I came to these 11 super heroes:

Best Arsenal team

Bench: Lehman, Pires, Keown, Ljunberg, Gilberto, Auba, Kanu.

Do I need to explain my choices? I think they speak for themselves.

What is your all-time favourite Arsenal-11?

By TotalArsenal.

26 thoughts on “My Favourite All-Time Arsenal-11: Vieira Behind Cesc and Dennis, Two Frenchmen Up-Top

  • Age puts a little perspective on the greatest ever Arsenal team… Jennings had hands like bunches of bananas. Better than Yashin. Hapgood was a left back but so good he could play anywhere. PV4 would need to sit in this team. A team which is very left sided with Henry, Brady, Cole and Pires.
    Subs: Lauren, Bastin, Fabregas, McLintock, Seaman, Gilberto.
    Captain: TA. Vice captain: PV4. Manager: Arsene.

    Hapgood Adams Campbell Cole
    James (Alex) Viera Brady Pires
    Bergkamp Henry

  • hi, TA,
    always nice to remind us of the great players who were/are at the peak of their careers in a red-white shirt
    what can i say about your all-time XI?
    choosing seaman-adams-campbell-vieira-dennis-thierry is a no-brainer, for any arsenal fan, i think
    when arsenal faced psg in the 1994 cup winners cup semi-finals, i bought my ticket at the psg store in paris, so that i watched the game in highbury right in the middle of the psg fans – from there, i saw david turn goalkeeping into an art – even though right after the kickoff he almost gave away a goal, but after that his positioning was so perfect it looked as though the ball was made of iron and he was a magnet; i can’t remember him diving that night – he probably did, but i had a feeling he could have played in a tuxedo, and trim his moustache in front of a mirror between two psg attempts
    from the very same night, i have also kept a vivid memory of dixon and winterburn’s performances – you have to keep in mind that psg had a formidable frontline valdo-raï-ginola: they annihilated them, taught me a lesson in the art of defending i’ve never forgotten, and i can remember the highbury crowd cheering them (cheering tackling defenders, something which was/is unheard of in french stadiums)
    so … i’d pick lee/nigel ahead of ashley/bakary
    in the engine room, i like cesc a lot of course, but i don’t think he can compare with the great liam, and the soft touch of his left foot
    i’m a mesut admirer, and i think the way unai has treated him for over a year is a shame, but as i told before, i can’t imagine such an XI without charlie george behind the forwards: should he have been born 30 years later, charlie would have been a mega-star, in my opinion
    eventually, i understand your “laca” choice, i think he’s criminally underrated (by unai- who hides behind “tactics” to take him out of the team sometimes, when he should be the first man on the teamsheet, as well as by deschamps); i also think he should be our captain, not granit, not anyone else
    but … i just can’t imagine an all-tilme arsenal XI without ian …
    which would give us:
    george bergkamp
    yep, something like a dream team to me

  • Cheers SNA, you obviously go back a lot longer than me in terms of Arsenal support and I must take it from you that the likes of Brady, Hapgood and James deserve to be in the all-time best Arsenal-11. Thanks for posting!

  • Interesting choice of article, TA, and it’s one that will get the juices flowing but leave many unsure. If we agree that the Invincibles were a great bunch, a good few of my favourite 11 will have to come from that side. Besides, my support for the club dates back only about 22 years. For the keeper, Seaman has got to be up there and how can we not have room for Kolo Toure in an Arsenal side? I don’t see Overmars and it may be easy to forget Ljungberg (even if on the bench).

    So, my favourite 11 will set out in a 4-4-2, as follows:


    Sagna. Toure Campbell Cole

    Bergkamp. Vieira. Gilberto. Overmars

    Wright. Henry

    Subs: Lehmann, Adams, Keown, Pires, Ljungberg, Kanu, Fabregas (next set: Ozil, Lauren, Auba, Laca). See how I tried to fit in 4 more subs? It’s a tough ask, this. 😔

  • Just about Eris age as a Gooner and I prefer to put it loosely that the X1 is something like Eris’s team. Just can’t get myself to leave out some names. There have been so many Arsenal greats.

  • Hi Eris/PE

    Yes Overmars is a good shout and so is Kolo. I cannot help but think that my first 11 would outplay yours in 2019, though hahaha 😀

    Fabregas and also Ozil have to be on the team though, and it looks like Brady was also that sort of footballer: from a purely footballing point of view they are among our best footballers ever. That is also why I included Laca: such a gifted footballer (but with hindsight, I need to swap him with Wrighty).

  • Man, this is borderline porn! 😀

    I saved my all-time stars under this link (please mind the shirt numbers):
    This is quite an attack-minded side in a 4-1-2-3 formation, that would kick some ass. 😛

    But here they are in a visually less appealing format:
    Cole – Mertesacker – Campbell – Bellerin
    Cazorla – Fabregas
    Sanchez – Bergkamp

    Subs: Lehmann, Adams, Toure, Monreal, Torreira, Pires, Rosicky, Ozil, Ljungberg, Overmars, Van Persie, Aubameyang
    (If I can pick the players from any era, then I can have 12 subs just as well.) 😀

  • Nice one Pb. The inclusion of Cazorla and Sanchez is especially interesting. Both very good footballers who added a lot to the team, especially the little Spaniard. Wow you included the BFG! Respect!!

  • Without the intent to make too much fuss about it, I honestly believe that the only player we had after the Bergkamp-Henry era that belonged to the very-very elite (let’s say: top 6 of the world) was Alexis Sanchez. He was equally brilliant in his passing, dribbling and shooting, which is extremely rare. For me he was second to Lionel Messi only, being on the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo. He easily could have become a legend at Arsenal (maybe even earn a statue) and I’m heartbroken that he ended his Emirates career the way he did.
    I’m hopeful (as well as naive) that Pepe and/or Nelson might reach the same quality…

  • Hi Pb, I don’t agree with it, but that is a bold statement and that is what we like here on BK. Sanchez had indeed a few qualities but he also benefited from the sublime service by Ozil and the space created for him by Giroud. The thing I really didn’t like about him is that he did not appreciate and reciprocate them enough.

  • Arsene Wenger to take role with FIFA.

    Excerpt from NYTimes article linked below:
    “Out of front-line soccer since ending a two-decade coaching career at Arsenal that many credit with revolutionizing English soccer, Arsène Wenger has agreed to join FIFA to spread his gospel to a wider audience.

    Wenger, a 69-year-old Frenchman, has agreed to become FIFA’s technical head, though his official title with the organization has not been finalized. In the role, he will have a broad portfolio to suggest improvements to coaching standards across the world, while also providing advice on other areas that directly influence how the game is played. An official announcement of his hiring could be made in the next few days.”

  • I notice that only Stuart Noel Angus has listed any players from our dominate period in the 1930’s. That’s totally understandable as you may have heard of but never seen any of them in action.
    Although I also never saw most of them play I did get glimpses of them in their later years.

    On another blog I wrote an series of articles to determine Arsenal’s top 50 players of all time and you may be surprised to hear that over a third of them came from the period of post WW11 and immediately after.

  • I hope that Arsene does end up in a senior position with FIFA as it’s about time that they hired someone with high integrity – it may just bring some respectability to the organization.

  • Good point, GN5. The problem is that I could not include a player I have never seen play, and that seems to be the case for most on here. Are you not going to give us your 11?

  • The other thing to think about is what would have happened if some very talented players had not become injured or had stayed on the right track. For the former, think about Diaby, Ramsey and Jack W; and for the latter, think about Bendtner, Van Pudsie and Adebayor. Just imagine these six players all having a proper, healthy and long career at Arsenal… We would have won premier league titles with them.

  • TA -It’s almost an impossible task for me to name my favourite Arsenal team as I’ve seen literally thousands of players. But here is my kick at the cat………………

    Jack Kelsey

    Lee Dixon – Tony Adams – Nigel Winterburn

    David O’leary – Patrick Vieira – Liam Brady

    Alex James

    Cliff Bastin – Ted Drake – Thierry Henry

  • I appreciate that my 11 choices are not necessarily in the correct positions but they were all exceptional players.

  • Ted Drake scored 189 goals in 139 games for a strike rate of .76 goals per game – the highest in Arsenal history.

  • Here’s something I put together about Ted Drake

    Ted made 189 appearances over an 11 year period and scored 139 goals.

    Born in Southampton, Ted started playing at Winchester City, whilst continuing to work as a gas-meter reader. He nearly joined Tottenham Hotspur as a schoolboy, but missed the trial match with an injury. In June 1931, he was persuaded by George Kay to join Southampton, then playing in Division Two. He made his Saints debut on 14 November 1931 at Swansea Town, and signed as a professional in November, becoming first-choice centre-forward by the end of the 1931–32 season. In the following season he made 33 league appearances, scoring 20 goals.

    After only one full season, his bravery and skill attracted the attention of Arsenal’s Herbert Chapman, who tried to persuade him to move to North London. Ted rejected the chance of a move to Highbury and decided to remain at The Dell. He started the 1933–34 season by scoring a hat trick in the opening game against Bradford City, following this with at least one goal in the next four games, thereby amassing eight goals in the opening five games. By early March he had blasted his way to the top of the Football League Division Two goal-scoring table with 22 goals.

    Arsenal, with George Allison now in charge, renewed their interest and Ted eventually decided to join the Gunners in March 1934 for a fee of £6,500. Saints had declined several previous offers, but eventually were forced to sell in order to balance their books. Ted made a total of 74 appearances for Southampton, scoring 48 goals.

    He scored on his league debut against Wolves on 24 March 1934, in a 3–2 win. Although he joined too late to qualify for a League Championship medal in 1933–34, he would win one in 1934–35, scoring 42 goals in 41 league games in the process, this included three hat-tricks and four four-goal hauls. With two more goals in the FA Cup and Charity Shield, Ted scored 44 in all that season, breaking Jack Lambert’s club record, one that still holds to this day.

    His exploits at club level brought him recognition at international level, and he made his England debut against Italy in the “Battle of Highbury” on 14 November 1934; one of seven Arsenal players in the side, he scored the third goal in a heated 3–2 win. In total he won five caps, scoring six times.

    The following season, 1935–36 he scored seven in a single match against Aston Villa at Villa Park on 14 December 1935, a club record and top flight record that also still stands. Ted claimed an eighth goal hit the crossbar and went over the line, but the referee waved away his appeal. Drake would go on to win the FA Cup in 1935–36 (scoring the only goal in the final) and the League again in 1937–38.

    Despite being injured regularly (he was a doubt up until the last minute for the 1936 Cup Final), his speed, fierce shooting and brave playing style meant he was Arsenal’s first-choice centre forward for the rest of the decade, and he was the club’s top scorer for each of the five seasons from 1934–35 to 1938–39. The Second World War curtailed Drake’s career, although he served in the Royal Air Force as well as turning out for Arsenal in wartime games and also appearing as a guest player for West Ham United later in World War II. However, his career would not last long into peacetime; a spinal injury incurred in a game against Reading in 1945 forced him to retire from playing. With 139 goals in 189 games, he is the joint-fifth (along with Jimmy Brain) all-time scorer for Arsenal.

    After retiring as a player, Ted managed Hendon in 1946, and then Reading from 1947. He led the club to the runners-up spot in Division Three South in 1948-49 and again in 1951–52, though at the time only the champions were promoted.

    He was appointed manager of First Division Chelsea in 1952. Upon his arrival at Chelsea, he made a series of sweeping changes, doing much to rid the club of its previous amateurish, music hall image. He discarded the club’s Chelsea pensioner crest and with it the Pensioners nickname, and insisted a new one be adopted. From these changes came the “Lion Rampant Regardant” crest and the Blues nickname. He introduced scouting reports and a new, tougher, training regime based on ball work, a rare practice in English football at the time. Within three years, in the 1954–55 season, Ted had led Chelsea to their first-ever league championship triumph. In doing so, he became the first person to win the league title both as player and manager. However, he never came close to repeating that success and left Chelsea to become reserve team manager at Fulham, later becoming a director and then life president.

    Ted died aged 82, on 30 May 1995.


  • I said above that it was impossible for me to name my favourite Arsenal – and to prove it I (inadvertently) left Bergkamp out – how the heck could I do that???

    But looking at my chosen 11 I don’t know who to take out?

  • Great stuff GN5! It is hard to get it right all the way through. Really appreciate you including players from the deep past. Ted Drake sounds phenomenal!!

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