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Arsenal’s team of the decade

PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 December 2019

Who did Islington Gazette Arsenal reporter Dan Mountney pick in his Arsenal team of the decade? Picture: PA

Who did Islington Gazette Arsenal reporter Dan Mountney pick in his Arsenal team of the decade? Picture: PA

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From Robin van Persie to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has made Dan Mountney’s Arsenal team of the decade?

Arsenal's goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is mobbed by his team-mates after they win the game on penaltys. Picture: Nick Potts/PAArsenal's goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is mobbed by his team-mates after they win the game on penaltys. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

With three FA Cups, Arsene Wenger's 22-year reign coming to an end and Mikel Arteta going from player to manager, it's been quite the decade for Arsenal.

Here's our choice for the best starting XI of the past 10 years, with a nod to those who were very close to making the grade.

Bacary Sagna, Arsenal. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PABacary Sagna, Arsenal. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

Goalkeeper - Łukasz Fabianski

File photo dated 27-02-2019 of Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny. Picture: Adam Davy/PAFile photo dated 27-02-2019 of Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

It's tough to pick a standout best goalkeeper from the past decade, so I've gone for Fabianski based on his impact. He certainly didn't start as many games as he should have, but he played a key role in the run to the 2014 FA Cup win - saving two penalties in the semi-final shootout - which ended the club's trophy drought.

Right-back - Bacary Sagna

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker (right) celebrates scoring his side's third goal during the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PAArsenal's Per Mertesacker (right) celebrates scoring his side's third goal during the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

A consistent and reliable performer both going forward and back, Sagna was a world-class full-back on his day. He didn't have the success he deserved at Arsenal, but ended his Gunners career on a high with the 2014 FA Cup win. He made 284 appearances and was included in the PFA Team of the Year twice. The Frenchman rightfully takes his place in this team.

Centre-back - Laurent Koscielny

Arsenal's Nacho Monreal during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture: Nick Potts/PAArsenal's Nacho Monreal during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

His messy exit from the club in the summer somewhat tarnished his reputation, but Koscielny was undoubtedly the club's best central defender over the past decade. Helping to win three FA Cups and scoring in the 2014 final, he went on to captain the Gunners and became a key player under Arsene Wenger, making 353 appearances. Quick, good in the tackle and confident on the ball, he proved to be an excellent find from the French Second Division.

Centre-back - Per Mertesacker

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Picture: Mike Egerton/PAArsenal's Santi Cazorla during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

Affectionately known as the 'big friendly German', Mertesacker initially struggled to adapt to the pace of the English game, but he proved an important player once he found his feet. His best moment came in the 2016 FA Cup final as he returned from a year out and produced a man of the match display. He wasn't the quickest of players to put it kindly, but his positional sense and experience made up for it.

Left-back - Nacho Monreal

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game. Picture: Adam Davy/PAArsenal's Aaron Ramsey celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

A fan favourite at the Emirates, Monreal was a pillar of consistency on the left of Arsenal's defence. He might not have been the best attacking full-back, but he popped up with some important goals and was a solid defender. The Spaniard deserves his place in this team.

Midfielder - Santi Cazorla

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil gestures to the fans during the Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Picture: Mark Kerton/PAArsenal's Mesut Ozil gestures to the fans during the Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Picture: Mark Kerton/PA

A truly magical player to watch with almost unrivalled technical ability. The Spaniard became an Arsenal hero with his brilliant performances in midfield, and his cheeky smile made him even more loveable. His Arsenal career was sadly ended by a horror injury, but he will live long in the memory of supporters.

Midfielder - Aaron Ramsey

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (centre) scores his side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match at the London Stadium, London. Picture: Adam Davy/PAArsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (centre) scores his side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match at the London Stadium, London. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

Arsenal's most important player this decade without a doubt. Ramsey scored two FA Cup final winning goals in 2014 and 2017 and he consistently popped up with important goals. His fight, drive, desire and love for the club shone through and he has been sorely missed since leaving for Juventus in the summer. He ended his Arsenal career with 64 goals in 369 appearances.

Midfielder - Mesut Ozil

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez celebrates after his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Picture: Martin Rickett/PAArsenal's Alexis Sanchez celebrates after his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

Often maligned for his lack of effort and poor performances, there is no doubt that on his day Ozil is a truly world-class creative player. There are question marks over whether he has truly shown his best form in north London, but no one can doubt his place in this team for the moments of magic he has produced. The German has played 244 times for the club and scored 43 goals.

Right-winger - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal's Robin van Persie (right) shoots at goal. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PAArsenal's Robin van Persie (right) shoots at goal. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

It was a difficult choice between the club-record signing and Theo Walcott, but Aubameyang gets the nod. His goalscoring form since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 has been sublime and he's often won Arsenal points by himself. The current Gunners captain has 56 goals in 89 games for the club.

Left-winger - Alexis Sanchez

Despite his exit angering many Arsenal fans, Sanchez's talent and impact can't be questioned. Neither can his place in this team. The Chilean was superb during his time in north London with an impressive goal-scoring record - 80 in 166 appearances - with dazzling performances making him one of the top players in the world.

Striker - Robin van Persie

Another player whose exit changed opinion, but as with Sanchez, van Persie's quality can't be questioned. He scored 30 Premier League goals and got nine assists in 2011/12 before leaving that summer, but for that brilliant season alone he deserves a place in the team. He finished his Arsenal career as the club's eighth all-time leading scorer with 132 goals in 278 games.

Honourable mentions

You may also want to watch:

Theo Walcott - Finished the decade with more than 100 Arsenal goals and scored in an FA Cup final. He was unlucky to miss out.

Olivier Giroud - Another player with more than 100 Arsenal goals, but van Persie gets in ahead of him.

Tomas Rosicky - The talented Czech midfielder always struggled with injuries, but he impressed when fit as he became a cult hero.

Mikel Arteta - The current Arsenal manager was a key player under Arsene Wenger and was always reliable in the centre of midfield.

Jack Wilshere - Arsenal through and through, Wilshere lived the dream of every Gooner and always gave his all for the club. Often struck down by injury, he could have done so much more if fit.


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