Welcome to WTTGT’s new blog: The Wenger era.
Over the course of these posts, we’ll take a look at the best players to have graced the red and white of Arsenal since the Professor arrived at Highbury back in September 1996.
By the end of the blog, we’ll have formed the best Wenger XI as voted for by YOU.
Today we take a look at right-midfielders, and you have three of the best from Wenger’s time at the club to choose from.
The Romford Pele began his career as an Arsenal youth player in 1989 before graduating to the first team just 3 years later.
Often described as an “unsung hero” and a “fans’ favourite” for his ‘never say die’ attitude, Parlour went on to make over 330 appearances for the Gunners before leaving Highbury to join Middlesbrough in 2004.
He was a bit-part player until the arrival of Arsene Wenger in 1996, where the Frenchman made Parlour a permanent fixture either on the right-wing or in the centre of midfield and was an instrumental part of the 1997-98 double-winning team.
Four years later, Parlour had his moment in the limelight as he scored a sensational 30-yard strike to give the Gunners the lead in their 2-0 FA Cup final win over Chelsea a few days before they clinched the league the title at Old Trafford.
Parlour captained Arsenal in the famous 5-1 win over Inter Milan at the San Siro in 2003 and picked up a Premier League winners medal as part of the ‘Invincibles’ team later on that season.
One of the most popular players of all time, an iconic Swede for his red hair, his own song and his, er, underwear modelling.
Arsene Wenger brought in Freddie Ljungberg from Halmstad in 1998 for £3m and got off to a dream start by scoring on his debut after coming off the bench against Manchester United at Highbury.
Ljungberg’s best spell as a Gunner came in the 2001-02 campaign as he played a crucial role at the business end of the season as Arsenal went on to win the double.
He scored the second in Arsenal’s FA Cup final victory over Chelsea just a few days before netting the goal that won the Premier League at Old Trafford.
He won the FA Cup the following year before playing his part in the ‘Invincibles’ unbeaten Premier League triumph.
He added a third FA Cup to his honours in 2005 and was then a part of the Gunners 2006 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona.
He played in North London until 2007 before he moved to London rivals West Ham United after an injury-plagued season.
Having moved to Arsenal in January 2006, it took Walcott the best part of a year to break into the team and he made his debut in the first ever Premier League game at the Emirates. He came off the bench at the age of 17 to set up Gilberto for the equaliser, which was the first competitive Gunners goal scored at their new home.
His exploits with Arsenal that year earned him the accolade of BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, and he went on to score first goal for the club in the 2007 League Cup final defeat to Chelsea.
After some mixed fortunes with performances and injuries, Walcott came of age last season and starred in the 5-2 comeback win over Tottenham Hotspur as he tore their North London rivals apart with his pace and claimed a brace.
His impressive form continued until injury again ended his campaign, but at the age of 23, Walcott still has a long time to etch his name into Arsenal history.