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Favorite Arsenal Player Bracket: London Colney Region First Round

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The first round is in full swing now.

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

The last set of first round matchups are a go. You should know the drill by now. Happy voting!

Don’t forget the other three regions: the Emirates Region, the Highbury Region, and the Hale End Region. There are still some extremely tight contests in each of them, and we may have a few upsets brewing! If there is a tie, I think the best tiebreaker is a coin-flip, although I’m open to suggestions in the comments. FYI: the Round of 32 will be split like the first rounds, one each day Tuesday through Friday of next week.

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.

LONDON COLNEY REGIONAL

FIRST ROUND


#1 Patrick Vieira vs. #16 Robin van Persie

Patrick Vieira, the captain of the Invincibles, is going to make a deep run in this tournament. When you are the stick against which all midfielders at the club are measured and the supporters are desperate to christen a new midfield signing “the next [you],” you’ve made your mark. In nine seasons with Arsenal, he won the Premier League and the FA Cup three times each, including two doubles. He was named to the PFA Team of the Year for six consecutive seasons from 1998-2004, Player of the Season in ‘00-’01, to the Premier League Team of the Decade ‘92-’02, to the FIFA 100, and is a member of the English Football Hall of Fame. He is not just an Arsenal legend; he’s a world football all-time great. Robin van Persie is a top-five striker in club history. He scored 132 goals in 278 appearances over eight seasons in all competitions for the Gunners, including 96 in the Premier League. He won the Golden Boot twice (and is the only player to ever win it with two different clubs) and hit 30 PL goals for Arsenal in 2011-12, a season in which he unsurprisingly racked up individual honors. I’ll admit: I think he’d probably win a round or two if he didn’t fall into my “wantaways get a #16 seed” category, but his leaving Arsenal to chase trophies at Manchester United really stung, so hopefully you’ll allow my indulgence.

Poll

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This poll is closed

  • 88%
    #1 Patrick Vieira
    (205 votes)
  • 11%
    #16 Robin van Persie
    (26 votes)
231 votes total Vote Now


#8 Theo Walcott vs. #9 Paul Merson

Theo Walcott scored 108 goals in 397 appearances over 12 seasons for Arsenal. He joined the Gunners a few months before his 17th birthday in January 2006 and marked his Premier League debut with an assist on opening day of the 2006-07 season. Despite his impressive career numbers at the club, I think he may be underrated by many because it seems as if he could have been better than he was. With his blistering pace, he probably would have scored more goals if his finishing was a bit more clinical, but you don’t score more than a century of goals by accident — he was a very good player. He’s also the subject of an iconic Arsenal image. As he was being stretchered off with an ACL tear and pelted with debris from Tottenham supporters in a FA Cup third rounder, he gleefully held up “2-0” with his fingers to remind them of the scoreline. Absolute top-class banter. Paul Merson spent 11 seasons with the Gunners, scoring 99 goals in 423 appearances. He won the Football League twice, an FA Cup, a League Cup, and the European Cup Winners’ Cup while at the club. I think because he only overlapped with Arsene Wenger for one year, he’s less well-known than he should be among younger Gooners; he came in 26th in the 2008 Arsenal.com fan poll of “Greatest Arsenal Players” of all-time.

Poll

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This poll is closed

  • 62%
    #8 Theo Walcott
    (143 votes)
  • 37%
    #9 Paul Merson
    (86 votes)
229 votes total Vote Now


#5 Steve Bould vs. #12 William Gallas

Steve Bould spent 11 seasons as a player for Arsenal, made 372 appearances in all competitions, and won three league titles (2 First Division, 1 Premier League). He was part of the formidable Arsenal 90’s backline alongside Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, and Lee Dixon, but eventually became second-choice behind Martin Keown. Bould returned to Arsenal as a youth coach and joined Arsene Wenger on the Premier League bench in 2012. He’s currently the U23 coach at the club, having swapped places with Freddie Ljungberg when the Swede became interim manager. William Gallas had the good sense to move from Chelsea to Arsenal but then did the reverse-Sol Campbell and went to the wrong side of North London. He was a bit of a lightning rod for controversy with the Gunners. He was named captain over the longer-tenured and heir-apparent to the armband Gilberto Silva in 2007, which reportedly made waves in the dressing room. He had a confrontation with fans after a 2-2 draw with Birmingham City in February 2008. He was stripped of the captaincy after a November 2008 interview in which he discussed the tensions among the players creating rifts in the room and called out the younger members of the squad for lacking courage.

Poll

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  • 93%
    #5 Steve Bould
    (203 votes)
  • 6%
    #12 William Gallas
    (14 votes)
217 votes total Vote Now


#4 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs. #13 Marc Overmars

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has made himself a fan favorite in less than three full seasons at Arsenal; his combination of bagging a bunch of goals and his fun-loving, joyful demeanor both on and off the pitch is a potent one. He’s scored 49 goals in 74 Premier League appearances and 61 in 96 overall. His individual brilliance has propped up the club during a mediocre to poor period; I shudder to think where Arsenal would be without him. Marc Overmars was difficult to seed, probably could have been one or two notches higher, and this matchup isn’t doing him any favors. He was only at Arsenal for three seasons, but he scored 41 goals in 141 appearances in that short period and won a double in 1997-98. He was a magnificent player, dangerous as both a creator and a scorer.

Poll

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This poll is closed

  • 77%
    #4 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
    (176 votes)
  • 22%
    #13 Marc Overmars
    (52 votes)
228 votes total Vote Now


#6 Emmanuel Eboué vs. #11 Mathieu Flamini

Emmanuel Eboué made 214 appearances in all competitions over seven seasons at Arsenal. The sometimes right back, sometimes right winger is a cult-figure among Gooners; some love him for his effervescent attacking forays and brilliant dribbling, others found him maddeningly inconsistent. Since his retirement, Eboue has opened up to the media about his struggles with depression and the stigmas attached to mental health issues. Some of the things he shared are heartbreaking, and it took remarkable courage to tell his story. He seems to have a handle on things, which is very good news. Mathieu Flamini had two spells in North London and made 246 appearances for the club over seven seasons. He’s another guy that I’d deem a cult hero among fans. He was proper hard on the pitch and never shied away from a challenge, often to his own detriment. His sometimes-erratic play saw him give away a lot of fouls and rack up the bookings. For whatever it’s worth, he’s one of the richest former footballers in the world. According to Forbes, he’s worth $14 billion, making his fortune as the co-founder of a biochemical company that produces levulinic acid, a precursor to, among other things, a biodegradable herbicide used widely in South Asia.

Poll

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This poll is closed

  • 39%
    #6 Emmanuel Eboué
    (86 votes)
  • 60%
    #11 Mathieu Flamini
    (131 votes)
217 votes total Vote Now


#3 Robert Pires vs. #14 Wojciech Szczesny

Robert Pires is an Invincible and was voted 6th in the 2008 Greatest Arsenal Player poll. In that unbeaten season, he combined with Thierry Henry for a whopping 57 goals. Overall, he scored 62 Premier League goals in 189 PL appearances across six seasons. He was named the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2001-02 (he was the top assist-man in the PL that season), to the PWA Team of the Year for three consecutive seasons, and to the FIFA 100. It’s not clear exactly what he does or if he even has an official role, but he’s often pictured helping out at Arsenal training these days. Maybe he just likes to chill at London Colney. I can’t blame him. And the squad could do a lot worse than having some of Pires’ wisdom and skill rub-off on them. Wojciech Szczesny is “one that got away” from Arsenal football club; he has been outstanding since his move to Juventus. Although there is probably more behind-the-scenes stuff we don’t know about, the catalyst for his departure seems to have been his being caught smoking in the showers after his errors led to a 2-0 loss at Southampton in 2015. All told, he was with Arsenal for eight seasons — with the first team from 2010-2015 and out on loan for the first and last two seasons of his time with the club. He won two FA Cups: one as a “backup” to Lukasz Fabianski’s cup-keeper status and as the starter in the 2015, 4-0 win over Aston Villa.

Poll

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This poll is closed

  • 93%
    #3 Robert Pires
    (209 votes)
  • 6%
    #14 Wojciech Szczesny
    (14 votes)
223 votes total Vote Now


#7 Lauren Etame-Mayer vs. #10 Andrey Arshavin

Lauren is an Invincible, a two-time Premier League winner, and a three-time FA Cup winner at Arsenal. He was named to the PFA Team of the Year in 2003-04. He also won an Olympic Gold Medal and two African Cup of Nations titles with Cameroon. He doesn’t get nearly the acclaim of most of his Invincible teammates, but he was a solid, steadying influence in his six years at the club. He currently serves as Arsenal’s club ambassador to Africa. Andrey Arshavin scored 31 goals in 144 appearances across five seasons in North London. Although he never quite lived up to the expectation generated by his fantastic performances in Euro 2008, his on-ball skill was incredibly fun to watch. He’s part of one of my personal favorite Arsenal songs: “He’s five foot four...” that ends up, uh, telling off Adebayor. And always remember to ask him how many he scored at Liverpool on that incredible night — we’ll breeze right past the fact that Arsenal blew a lead post-90th minute to split the points. The answer is four. He scored four.

Poll

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This poll is closed

  • 48%
    #7 Lauren Etame-Mayer
    (107 votes)
  • 51%
    #10 Andrey Arshavin
    (113 votes)
220 votes total Vote Now


#2 Ray Parlour vs. #15 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Ray Parlour, the Romford Pele, holds the club record for most Premier League appearances (333) and made 466 overall appearances in 14 seasons in North London. He’s an Invincible and won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, a League Cup, and a European Cup Winners’ Cup with the club. He was never a superstar, but his industry, tackling, and the passing he developed under Arsene Wenger kept the Arsenal midfield ticking for years. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain spent six full seasons at Arsenal, making 198 appearances, tallying 20 goals, and winning three FA Cups. The Ox is another one of those guys who didn’t quite live up to the hype, but that’s probably in part because the hype was overblown. He was a solid player who didn’t get enough credit for his defensive workrate that just couldn’t find/cement a regular place at the club.

Poll

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This poll is closed

  • 86%
    #2 Ray Parlour
    (132 votes)
  • 13%
    #15 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    (21 votes)
153 votes total Vote Now

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