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Favorite Arsenal Player Bracket: Emirates and Highbury Region Third Round

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It’s the Sweet Sixteen, y’all!

Club Badge - Arsenal Football Club Photo by Visionhaus

In the Emirates and Highbury regions, our competition said goodbye to Olivier Giroud, Nigel Winterburn, David Seaman, Mesut Özil, Jack Wilshere, Jens Lehmann, Tomas Rosicky, and Edu last round. This round, we really get into the nitty-gritty; the pairings are tough ones with favorites on both sides.

Editors Note: as you can see, I decided to combine regions for this round to give the posts a bit more meat. The next two regions will come on Friday, and next week will be Wednesday-Friday as well. I’m still figuring out how I want to do the Final Four and Championship.

Voting is still open in the Hale End and London Colney regions, so make sure you get in under the gun. Although the matchups look more or less settled, someone could always make a late run — that’s the beauty of tournament time. 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.

EMIRATES REGIONAL

THIRD ROUND


#1 Ian Wright vs. #5 Hector Bellerin

There are so many great stories and things about Ian Wright, but my personal favorite comes from this video and the follow-up interviews where he speaks openly and emotionally about the effect Mr. Syd Pigden, his primary school teacher, had on his life. It’s so real and human, a side of our heroes we don’t often get to see. The same can be said about Hector Bellerin — there are just so many things to like about him. From his advocacy and willingness to use his platform to speak on topics important to him to just unapologetically being himself in seemingly everything he does, he strikes me as a great guy. My favorite bit comes from his interview at the Oxford Union (the first footballer to give an interview there) where he basically says, “yeah I like fashion, it’s a hobby, we’ve all got hobbies, so leave me alone about it.” Wright and Bellerin shared the screen in my favorite Arsenal promotional video, perhaps of all time. Granted, Wrighty was the star while Hector made a cameo, but still.

Poll

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  • 80%
    #1 Ian Wright
    (401 votes)
  • 19%
    #5 Hector Bellerin
    (98 votes)
499 votes total Vote Now


#2 Tony Adams vs. #6 Cesc Fabregas

Tony Adams is Mr. Arsenal. Of course, when you play all 22 seasons of your career at the same club, there are going to be endless stories about you. But what has always stuck out most to me about Adams is how honest he has been about overcoming alcoholism. When celebrities open up about their battles with addiction, it helps destigmatize the disease and saves lives. He will always have my respect for that. My favorite thing about Cesc Fabregas is significantly more lighthearted (and you know what’s coming). The Battle of the Buffet, The Pizza Incident. Things got heated in the tunnel at Old Trafford after a 2004 match. Words were exchanged between managers, the players got into a kerfuffle, and Sir Alex Ferguson was hit with a flying piece of pizza. Cesc threw it. And while he didn’t come clean about it until more than a decade later, it’s a moment that will live in football history. For what it’s worth, in the last round, Fabregas downed David Seaman by one single vote, the thinnest slice, if you will.

Poll

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  • 63%
    #2 Tony Adams
    (314 votes)
  • 36%
    #6 Cesc Fabregas
    (184 votes)
498 votes total Vote Now


HIGHBURY REGIONAL

THIRD ROUND


#1 Dennis Bergkamp vs. #5 Aaron Ramsey

When I think of Dennis Bergkamp, no off-pitch stories jump to mind. Sure, there is his well-documented fear of flying, but that’s neither here nor there — we all have our phobias and eccentricities. What comes to mind is his on-field wizardry. I didn’t watch much of him at Arsenal, but I remember him as a Dutch international, and I’ve seen the highlight videos of his time in North London. He was an artist. When he got on the ball, your focus would sharpen and your breath would catch — something magnificent could (and often would) happen. As I’ve admitted before, I have a particular soft spot for Aaron Ramsey because we share a name. We also share a love of animals. Ramsey has always been outspoken about conservation issues and protecting wildlife. He has worked closely with the World Wildlife Fund on a number of different projects. Athletes who use their platform to give voice to good causes that are important to them will always get high marks in my book.

Poll

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  • 81%
    #1 Dennis Bergkamp
    (408 votes)
  • 18%
    #5 Aaron Ramsey
    (93 votes)
501 votes total Vote Now


#2 Lee Dixon vs. #3 Martin Keown

This is the marquee matchup of the round, at least for this side of the bracket: a battle of teammates (defense-mates to be more specific) turned footballing pundits. Lee Dixon is great because he gives us an on-going, behind-the-scenes picture of the Premier League, at least for U.S.-based football fans. His little anecdotes about players and his playing days are fantastic, and he’s refreshingly self-effacing when telling stories about himself. He’s a very good color guy, in my humble opinion. Last round, I gave y’all a great story about Martin Keown — he kicked Everton teammate Kevin Sheedy in the head for continuously making fun of him. I’ve got another one — Keown threatened to knock Freddie Ljungberg out if he continued to park in a disabled space at the training ground so that he wouldn’t have to walk as far from his car. Keown was a curmudgeon on and off the pitch, and I love that about him. He was the kind of player you love to have on your team, but you’d hate if he played for another one. Not all legends have to be heroes. Keown edged out Tomas Rosicky by one vote in the last round, by the way.

Poll

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This poll is closed

  • 57%
    #2 Lee Dixon
    (283 votes)
  • 42%
    #3 Martin Keown
    (210 votes)
493 votes total Vote Now



Here is the full bracket, for reference. Happy voting!