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-midfielders, and you have three of the best from Wenger’s time at the club to choose from.
With a nickname such as ‘Roadrunner’, it wasn’t hard to guess what Marc Overmars’ best traits were.
He joined Arsenal from his homeland club Ajax in 1997 for £5.5m and had a dream first season.
A permanent fixture of the left wing, Overmars tormented his opponents with his ridiculous pace and trickery and often linked up well with compatriot Dennis Bergkamp as Arsenal went on to win the double.
Overmars played an integral part in the club’s capture of both trophies, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win at title challenges Manchester United as well as the opening goal in their 2-0 win over Newcastle in the FA Cup final.
He added the charity shield later that year, and made over 100 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 25 goals, before swapping North London for Barcelona for a fee of £25m in 2000.
When you think of Robert Pires, you think of his trademark goatee, his unorthodox running style and his sheer brilliance when it came to the game of football.
Arguably one of the best players in the clubs history, Pires moved from Marseille to Arsenal in 2000 for £6m, and after an indifferent first season, the Frenchman made the next campaign his own.
Pires was sensational as the Gunners went on to win the Premier League and FA Cup double in 2001-02 as was perhaps the key man in Arsenal team.
He scored wonder goal after wonder goal, including that lob against Aston Villa where he left George Boateng and Peter Schmeichel in his wake.
He finished the year with the most assists in the Premier League and won both the Football Writers’ Player of the Year and the Arsenal Player of the Year, despite the fact that he missed the final two months of the season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in March.
He returned to fitness in the latter stages of 2002 and scored the winning goal in the 1-0 win over Southampton in the 2003 FA Cup final.
The unbeaten season in 2004 saw Pires score 14 goals and create seven others as the Gunners powered their way to Premier League title.
He added yet another FA Cup winners medal in 2005 before leaving Arsenal in 2006 at the end of the final season at Highbury.
A player who is now despised by many Gooners yet still a talented player.
Like Robert Pires, Samir Nasri was brought in from French outfit Marseille back in 2008 as a 21-year-old known for his creativity and ability to read the game for a fee of around £12m.
He wasted little time in making a name for himself as he scored within five minutes on his Arsenal debut against West Bromwich Albion and went on to net a brace in the 2-1 win over Manchester United at the Emirates in November.
The Frenchman picked up a broken leg at the hands of Abou Diaby in the Gunners pre-season training camp in 2009 before coming back to his superb form and registered an awesome goal in 5-0 victory over FC Porto in the Champions League.
His last year at Arsenal was without question his best, as Nasri had a hand in the majority of the side’s goals as he went on to win the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month for November and December as well as picking up the France Football French Player of the Year.
He won back-to-back Arsenal Player of the Month awards in December and January before his form dipped in February.
Nasri was nominated for both the PFA Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year and earned a place in the PFA Team of the Year before moving to Manchester City in 2011 for £25m.