Arsenal’s team of the decade
PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 December 2019
From Robin van Persie to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has made Dan Mountney’s Arsenal team of the decade?
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.
Goalkeeper - Łukasz Fabianski
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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.
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.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.