Welcome to the fourth part of the 1 to 11 of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – fantasy teams from Arsenal’s Premier League history.
The teams are taking shape with the goalkeeper, right back and left back positions decided for each team.
Today is the beginning of what I feel is probably the most important position on the pitch. It would be the position where if I was a manager I would select my captain from. Therefore I will split my centre halves into two selections. They will be the primary CB and the partner.
Today, we will go for the primary centre half for each side and would need to be the Captain.
So far the teams are like this:
GK- David Seaman
LB- Ashley Cole
GK- Manuel Almunia
RB- Nelson Vivas
LB- Andre Santos
GK- Jens Lehmann
RB- Bacary Sagna
LB- Nacho Monreal
Primary CB- Tony Adams (c)
My all time favourite Arsenal defender, and I would suggest that he would make 99.9% of all teams selected. What a player!! He had his moments that’s for sure but he was clinical, no nonsense, fast and a true leader. He came with his demons too and was an alcoholic but until it was made public I am not sure you would have known.
Seeing him win the title with his volley against Everton at home with a ball from Stevie Bould has to be one of the most iconic goals in Arsenal history and he left a huge void to fill when he retired. Since he has been gone he has tried his hand at management and to my surprise it hasn’t paid off for him. He has attempted managing Wycombe as well as roles in Azerbaijan and recently has been involved in a consortium to take over Aston Villa.
As you would expect with ‘Mr Arsenal’ he was able to overcome his alcoholism and since then has been a support figure for other fallen players in this position. Most recently Kenny Sansom. I think we should also add that Tony also dated Caprice for a while.
I think the only other players you could give a mention to in this position would be Sol Campbell, Stevie Bould, and Martin Keown but with still another position to fill one of them may get a look in yet.
Primary CB- Igor Stepanovs (c)
It was a Sunday afternoon on 25th February 2001. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a ticket for our match at Old Trafford. I was 19 years old. I headed down my local boozer to have a day on the piss and to watch the two heavy weights in the Premier League who were challenging each other again for the title in what I had hoped was to be the normal epic standard game.
That’s my memory of what sort of day I was in for, however I would imagine Igor Stepanov’s still to this day has nightmares over his memories from that fateful experience. 45 mins later we went in at half time 5-1 down. Our chances of still winning the title or even to be title contenders was laughable.
This was Arsenal, this thing shouldn’t happen. This was Arsenal, Igor Stepanovs shouldn’t have been in the back four but he was. I remember screaming at the TV as I can recall the guy looked liked he could barely kick a ball rather than be a Premier League standard player. I think it tells you all you need to know that this chump only played one further league game that season, and it must have been when the blind one legged man was injured. To me this was a relatively easy choice, but I think we can also give a mention to Pascal Cygan, Phillip Senderos and Sebastien Squillaci but we may hear from some of them later.
Primary CB- Mikael Silvestre (c)
This guy was shit at United so why we decided to buy him when he clearly had lost any pace he had was beyond me. I wouldn’t have minded perhaps an hour later before we made contact with him he would have signed for Manchester City as he received the call from Arsene whilst he was at a City medical. Oh what might have been eh? Saying that City were not yet the financial powerhouse as they are now and they had players like Joey Barton, Richard Dunne and Sun Jihai making regular appearances for them then.
He ended up being the first player transferred from Manchester United to Arsenal since Viv Anderson. But as well as him being a complete pony for us as a player he also falls into the category of being one of the ugliest players in history. He is not fondly remembered by Arsenal or United fans and that speaks volumes. He also was quoted in the Metro last year after we signed Alexis Sanchez.
He said: ”Sanchez could have gone anywhere after the World Cup he had and he is not what the club need right now”
I say no more.
Tomorrow we will return with the second part of the Centre backs to complete the partnerships.