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 left-backs, and you have a selection of the best from Wenger’s time at the club to choose from.
Arriving at Arsenal back in 1987, it was just short of a decade before Nigel Winterburn had the pleasure of working under Arsene Wenger, and did so for the next four years.
After moving from the right side to the left side of defence and establishing himself as a first-choice full-back, Winterburn went on to win the double with Wenger and was part of the Gunners legendary defence.
He was known for getting forward as much as he could and also possessing a lethal left peg which contributed to several long-range wonder goals while at Highbury.
He extended his playing career under Wenger after the Frenchman introduced new dietary and fitness regimes which got the best out of Winterburn until he moved to West Ham United in 2000.
Often seen knocking about the Emirates now as a reporter, he will always have Arsenal in his heart.
Despite leaving in controversial fashion and now being hated by the vast majority of Gooners, there is no denying that Ashley Cole was a very talented left-back while in North London.
An Arsenal fan as a boy, he broke through the youth system at the Gunners before getting his break in the first team in 2000, following an injury to first-choice left Silvinho.
Cole impressed so much when he was filling in that he managed to hold down his starting spot, even when the Brazilian returned to fitness.
In 2001 he made his England debut before going on to win the double with Arsenal the following year as the Gunners beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final, just days before securing the Premier League title at Old Trafford.
Another FA Cup followed in 2003 and was then part of the unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ team in 2004 as he claimed his second Premier League winners medal.
He won a third FA Cup in 2005 before playing in the 2006 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona after securing fourth place in the last ever game at Highbury.
The last season at Highbury was also Cole’s last at Arsenal, as he went on to join rivals Chelsea.
After biding his time for a number of years, Gael Clichy finally got his chance in the Arsenal first team when Ashley Cole left for Chelsea in 2006.
At this stage of his career he had already won a Premier League title, becoming the youngest ever player to win a medal at the age of 18 years and 10 months.
He took chance with both hands, well feet, and instantly became a hit with the Gunners faithful.
A hard-working full-back, Clichy often spent more time in the opposition half than his own, as he so frequently broke up field to join in with the attack.
He was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the 2007-08 season after playing in all 38 league games during the campaign, and remained Arsenal’s first-choice left-back for the rest of his North London tenure.
After breaking into the first team at the age of 21, Clichy went on to make 187 appearances for the Gunners before leaving for Manchester City in 2011.