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Favorite Arsenal Player Bracket: Highbury Region First Round

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The Round of 64 continues.

Soccer - Emirates Cup - Arsenal v Glasgow Celtic
We’re the clock, we’re the clock, we’re the Clock End Highbury!
Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images

The first round plows on with 16 more Premier League-era Arsenal greats entering the fray. Here is the introduction post in case you missed it.

If you haven’t already, make sure to vote in the Emirates Region. Olivier Giroud and Per Mertesacker are neck-and-neck, and yours could be the deciding vote! For those of you on AMP and Apple news, you’ll need to go through a browser to be able to vote because our polls get stripped out by those services.

HIGHBURY REGIONAL

FIRST ROUND



#1 Dennis Bergkamp vs. #16 Ashley Cole

Dennis Bergkamp is one of the three Arsenal players immortalized in statue outside the Emirates. He’s the only Dutch player in the English Football Hall of Fame. He won three league titles and four FA Cups at the club. And he scored that pirouetting goal against Newcastle, which was named the greatest Premier League goal of all time in 2017. Ashley Cole is under-seeded, I know. But that’s what you get when you’re a wantaway, are fined for participating in a tapping-up meeting, and the home support nicknames you “Cashley.” Cole started at Arsenal, his boyhood club, when he was 9 years old and played in parts of 7 seasons for the Gunners.

Poll

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This poll is closed

  • 98%
    #1 Dennis Bergkamp
    (225 votes)
  • 1%
    #16 Ashley Cole
    (3 votes)
228 votes total Vote Now


#8 Emmanuel Petit vs. #9 Jack Wilshere

Petit won the double at Arsenal in the 1997-98 season. In his three seasons at the club, he made 116 overall appearances for the Gunners and scored 11 goals. He won the World Cup with France in 1998 and the Euros in 2000. Jack Wilshere is Arsenal’s youngest ever Premier League debutant. Despite being plagued by injuries, the Hale End product made 197 appearances for Arsenal over 10 seasons with the senior squad. And he scored That Goal against Norwich.

Poll

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This poll is closed

  • 43%
    #8 Emmanuel Petit
    (101 votes)
  • 56%
    #9 Jack Wilshere
    (129 votes)
230 votes total Vote Now


#5 Aaron Ramsey vs. #12 Gael Clichy

I’m biased on this one; Aaron Ramsey is a personal favorite (go figure, we share a name). He scored two FA Cup winning goals for Arsenal and won a third while at the club. He suffered that horrific double fracture of his right leg from a Ryan Shawcross attempted murder vicious tackle in 2010. After recovering and going out on loan, he became a first-team regular, scoring 64 goals in 369 overall appearances for the Gunners. Gael Clichy is an Invincible. The 2003-04 title made him the youngest player to win a Premier League medal at the time. He made 264 overall appearances for Arsenal over 8 seasons and made the the PFA Team of the Year in 2007-08. Leaving for Manchester City in 2011 takes a bit of the shine off his apple, at least for me.

Poll

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  • 96%
    #5 Aaron Ramsey
    (225 votes)
  • 3%
    #12 Gael Clichy
    (7 votes)
232 votes total Vote Now


#4 Jens Lehmann vs. #13 Carl Jenkinson

Jens Lehmann was the Invincibles goalkeeper. He won the FA Cup with the team in 2004-05 and was a Champions League runner-up in 2005-06, and that’s all I’m going to say about that particular competition. He came out of retirement in March 2011 when the Gunners were in a keeper fitness crisis, made his 200th appearance for the club, won that match, and became the oldest Premier League player in club history. Carl Jenkinson was always there. It seemed like every time you checked the first team roster, he was on it (although I’ve just checked, he’s no longer an Arsenal player). He gave this brilliant quote about his first goal for the club, “As a kid, I’m an Arsenal fan. I’ve scored that goal 100 times in my back garden.” He really did grow up an Arsenal supporter: check out his boyhood room.

Poll

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  • 84%
    #4 Jens Lehmann
    (196 votes)
  • 15%
    #13 Carl Jenkinson
    (37 votes)
233 votes total Vote Now


#6 Tomas Rosicky vs. #11 Laurent Koscielny

Rosicky scored 28 goals (that’s all of them) in 247 appearances over 10 seasons with the Gunners, including what probably would be the best team goal of the era if not for the Wilshere goal against Norwich. The Little Mozart was an exemplar of that famous Arsenal playing style, a master of the quick pass-and-move combination that made the Gunners so fun to watch. I think Koscielny is one of the more under-appreciated Arsenal players of the Premier League-era. He spent virtually his entire Arsenal career managing a chronic Achilles injury and still anchored a defense that was often left exposed by the Gunners free-flowing, attacking play. There was a period of years where he was one of the top centerbacks in the world, in my opinion. He made 255 appearances for the club over 9 seasons and won three FA Cups. It’s a shame he left under such acrimonious circumstances.

Poll

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  • 55%
    #6 Tomas Rosicky
    (127 votes)
  • 44%
    #11 Laurent Koscielny
    (103 votes)
230 votes total Vote Now


#3 Martin Keown vs. #14 Nicklas Bendtner

Martin Keown has the 4th most Premier League appearances (310) in club history. His centerback partnership with Tony Adams anchored both Arsenal and England for nearly a decade. Those 90’s Arsenal defenses were really, really good. He’s a three-time league and FA Cup winner and an Invincible (if only barely — he made the minimum number of required appearances). Nicklas Bendtner will tell you he’s definitely the greatest striker in Arsenal history, perhaps the greatest in the history of world football if you ask him. He’s got all the bombast of Zlatan with maybe a quarter of the talent. But he’s not a complete slouch; he scored 45 goals in 171 appearances over 7 seasons at Arsenal. Lord Bendtner has had his fair share of off-field incidents as well, several of which involve his pants not being pulled up and/or cinched up where they should be. Personal note: I saw Bendtner net a hat trick against Porto in the Champions League in-person, so I’ve always particularly enjoyed his antics.

Poll

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This poll is closed

  • 85%
    #3 Martin Keown
    (193 votes)
  • 14%
    #14 Nicklas Bendtner
    (34 votes)
227 votes total Vote Now


#7 Edu Gaspar vs. #10 Abou Diaby

Arsenal’s current technical director, Edu, was a two-time Premier League and FA Cup winner with Arsenal and an Invincible. He was a key, often underappreciated, midfield piece for the unbeaten squad, making 30 appearances that season. Abou Diaby was a brilliant footballer who couldn’t stay healthy; he suffered 42 documented injuries while playing for Arsenal. Over 9 seasons in North London, he averaged just 14 appearances a year. As PDB wrote when Diaby retired, Arsenal fans have been quick to name someone “the next Vieira” but Diaby actually looked the part on the pitch. He controlled the midfield and dictated the play. It’s a shame that a disgusting tackle from Sunderland’s Dan Smith in 2006 kicked off a cycle of injuries from which Diaby couldn’t escape.

Poll

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This poll is closed

  • 56%
    #7 Edu Gaspar
    (126 votes)
  • 43%
    #10 Abou Diaby
    (97 votes)
223 votes total Vote Now


#2 Lee Dixon vs. #15 Andy Linighan

Lee Dixon was the ever-present right back in those formidable Arsenal defenses of the 1990’s. He made a whopping 618 appearances over 15 seasons in North London, good for fourth-most all-time. He won four top-flight titles (2 PL, 2 First Division), three FA Cup’s, and a European Cup Winners’ Cup while at Arsenal. He now does color commentary for NBCSN’s U.S. coverage of the Premier League, and I think he’s one of the better football color guys out there. Andy Linighan was always fighting for his place at Arsenal; he was part of a stacked centerback core that included Steve Bould, Tony Adams, and Martin Keown. He scored the goal against Sheffield Wednesday that won the FA Cup for Arsenal and made the club the first in England to win a cup double (League and FA). He made 157 appearances in 7 seasons with the club.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    #2 Lee Dixon
    (217 votes)
  • 1%
    #15 Andy Linighan
    (4 votes)
221 votes total Vote Now

For reference, here is the overall bracket. Once again, make sure you vote in the Emirates Region, which was posted yesterday.