clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Favorite Arsenal Player Bracket: Hale End Region First Round

New, comments

The third of four brackets gets things going.

FBL-ENG-PR-HEALTH-VIRUS Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images

Sixteen more of your favorite (and not-as-favorite) Arsenal players enter the fray. Will somebody make a Cinderella run or will the favorites steamroll their way through? You decide!

Make sure you vote in the other regions as well. In the Emirates Region, the Olivier Giroud-Per Mertesacker matchup could still go either way. In the Highbury Region, Emmanuel Petit and Jack Wilshere are neck-and-neck as are Tomas Rosicky and Laurent Koscielny, and Edu Gaspar and Abou Diaby.

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.

HALE END REGIONAL

FIRST ROUND


#1 Thierry Henry vs. #16 Alexis Sanchez

Thierry Henry is an Invincible, Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer (228 goals, all here), the Premier League’s Golden Boot winner a record four times, and one of three Arsenal players immortalized in statue outside the Emirates. He’s the only player to ever win the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year three times as well as the only one to score 20+ goals in five consecutive seasons. I could write an entire post describing him and his Arsenal accomplishments. He beat defenders on the dribble, beat them with pace, beat them with brilliant off-ball movement, and may have been the best on-the-run shooter ever. He was a complete attacker. It’s a bit of a shame that Alexis Sanchez gets thrown in-front of this buzz-saw, but I don’t make the rules (ok, I did make them). Sanchez was a great Arsenal player in his own right; he tallied 80 goals in 166 appearances. He never seemed to tire on the pitch; he just ran and ran and ran and was able to do it while rarely having to take a match off to rest. Toward the end of his time in North London, however, he reportedly became problematic in the locker room and forced a move to Manchester United, which left a really bad taste in my mouth.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    #1 Thierry Henry
    (218 votes)
  • 2%
    #16 Alexis Sanchez
    (5 votes)
223 votes total Vote Now


#8 Kolo Touré vs. #9 Lukas Podolski

Kolo Touré is an Invincible and made 326 Arsenal appearances over seven seasons with the Gunners. One of his strengths was his positional flexibility: he played mostly as a centerback, but could also play right back and step into the midfield if needed. He was also a tenacious tackler, a trait he exhibited from the moment he set foot onto the training ground at Arsenal as a trialist. As the story goes, Touré took out Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, and Arsene Wenger with card-worthy tackles in his first session, and Le Professeur decided to sign him that day. Lukas Podolski made himself an Arsenal fan-favorite in just 2.5 seasons in North London. His practical jokes on teammates, #aHA on all his tweets, his continued trolling of Spurs — he’s given us so many reasons to love him. He was also quite the footballer. 31 goals in 82 Arsenal appearances, almost all of them scored with his absolute missile-launcher of a left foot.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    #8 Kolo Touré
    (115 votes)
  • 47%
    #9 Lukas Podolski
    (105 votes)
220 votes total Vote Now


#5 Sol Campbell vs. #12 Francis Coquelin

Sol Campbell made one of the best decisions in the history of Premier League football: he chose Arsenal over Spurs. After nine seasons in white, he put on a much better color for five, making 197 appearances for the Gunners. He was named to the PFA team of the year three times, twice while at Arsenal. He’s also an Invincible. Francis Coquelin was one of the most frequently debated players in TSF commenting history. Mad Franky was solid defensively and added bite to the side, but his on-ball abilities were...lacking. Put it this way — while researching, I learned I share a birthday with him: I’m still the best passer born on May 13th.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 94%
    #5 Sol Campbell
    (205 votes)
  • 5%
    #12 Francis Coquelin
    (13 votes)
218 votes total Vote Now


#4 Gilberto Silva vs. #13 Alex Iwobi

Gilberto Silva is an Invincible. Although not as widely acclaimed as midfield partner Patrick Vieira, Silva was just as important to the unbeaten side. He provided the defensive cover, often shadowing the opposition’s star attacker, which allowed Vieira to shine as a box-to-box player. That side conceded just 26 times in 38 matches; he did his job very well. He also rarely picked up cards (an underappreciated trait for defensive players), twice going 45 matches without being booked. In total, he spent six seasons in North London, making 244 appearances for Arsenal. Hale End product Alex Iwobi never quite cemented a place in the Arsenal starting lineup in his four senior seasons at the club. He’s a strong passer and connector-of-play and was always willing to challenge defenders on the dribble. But his finishing leaves a bit to be desired, which has helped him fit in nicely at Everton (sorry, had to). While his sale helped fund the Nicolas Pépé buy, it also left Arsenal without a true left-sided attacker, a void that has been apparent and detrimental this season.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    #4 Gilberto Silva
    (185 votes)
  • 14%
    #13 Alex Iwobi
    (31 votes)
216 votes total Vote Now


#6 Nwankwo Kanu vs. #11 Nacho Monreal

In five and a half seasons in North London, Kanu did enough to be voted 13th on a 2008 “Gunners Greatest Players Poll” on Arsenal.com He scored 44 goals in 197 games for the club, was twice named African Footballer of the Year, and is an Invincible. He was Arsenal’s super-est super-sub, making 118 career Premier League substitute appearances, 3rd-most all time. He will forever be remembered by Gooners for his 17-minute hat trick against Chelsea that turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win. Everything about Nacho Monreal was quiet. His signing in 2013 was relatively unheralded and came in part because Arsenal needed cover for an injured Kieran Gibbs. He wasn’t a flashy player, just a solid defender that rarely made mistakes. He only scored 7 goals for the Gunners but tallied two critical ones: the opener in a 2-1 FA Cup Quarterfinal win at Manchester United in March 2015 and the equalizer in Arsenal’s 2-1 come-from-behind FA Cup Semifinal win over Manchester City in April 2017. The Gunners won the pot on both those runs.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    #6 Nwankwo Kanu
    (86 votes)
  • 59%
    #11 Nacho Monreal
    (127 votes)
213 votes total Vote Now


#3 Freddie Ljungberg vs. #14 Shkodran Mustafi

Freddie Ljungberg spent parts of nine seasons playing for Arsenal, scoring 72 goals in 325 appearances. He’s an Invincible and came 11th on Arsenal.com’s “Gunners Greatest Players Poll.” He won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups while at the club. He also headlined one of Calvin Klein’s most successful underwear advertising campaigns ever. He’s currently an assistant coach at the Emirates, taking up the role after six matches as interim manager. Shkodran Mustafi has been a consummate professional during his time at Arsenal. He has stayed positive and focused through more than his fair share of criticism and toxicity from the media and the fans, and he was in the midst of a renaissance under Mikel Arteta before the season was suspended. It’s tough to forecast whether he will be in North London for long, but I’d be more than happy for him to remain at the club.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    #3 Freddie Ljungberg
    (214 votes)
  • 2%
    #14 Shkodran Mustafi
    (6 votes)
220 votes total Vote Now


#7 Mikel Arteta vs. #10 Denilson

Mikel Arteta played five seasons in North London, including two as club captain. He made 150 appearances for the Gunners, scoring 35 goals and winning two FA Cups. He was one of those “midfield engine” players that maybe don’t get quite the recognition they deserve. He was always in the right position, won the ball back, linked up the play, and progressed the ball upfield. Arsenal just reported today that he is recovering well from COVID-19, which is fantastic news. Denilson made 153 appearances in five seasons at Arsenal. Despite his prodigious talent on the ball, he only managed 11 goals for the Gunners. He did score some absolute crackers, though. I think the combination of injuries, never really grabbing a starting role, and not feeling totally comfortable in England generally was his undoing. But he was fun to watch.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    #7 Mikel Arteta
    (212 votes)
  • 1%
    #10 Denilson
    (4 votes)
216 votes total Vote Now


#2 Santi Cazorla vs. #15 Petr Cech

I don’t need to write much about this matchup. Santi is an all-time fan-favorite Gunner and has said, outright, that he wants to come back to the Emirates at some point in some way. Big Pete is an all-time great Premier League keeper, but not for Arsenal. He seems a genuinely likeable guy who put in some good performances for the Gunners, but at the end of the day, he’s a Chelsea man. He may hold the PL record for clean sheets (202), but this is not one he’s going to keep.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    #2 Santi Cazorla
    (211 votes)
  • 2%
    #15 Petr Cech
    (6 votes)
217 votes total Vote Now

For reference, here is the overall bracket. Once again, make sure you vote in the Emirates Region and the Highbury Region.