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Favorite Arsenal Player Bracket: Hale End and London Colney Region Third Round

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The Sweet Sixteen continues.

Arsenal FC ‘Iconic’ Archive Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

The Hale End and London Colney regions said farewell to Kolo Toure, Gilberto Silva, Nacho Monreal, Mikel Arteta, Theo Walcott, Steve Bould, Mathieu Flamini, and Andrey Arshavin last round. Other than Sol Campbell edging out Gilberto Silva, these two brackets are chalk at this stage. Will the favorites keep winning or will we see an upset?

The other half of the third round voting is open, and it looks as if the Lee Dixon-Martin Keown battle will live up to the billing. 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

THIRD ROUND


#1 Thierry Henry vs. #5 Sol Campbell

There’s so much to love about Thierry Henry, and for my money, he is a top five striker all-time. My favorite Henry “story” is more the underlying theme of most the stories about him. They’re all about how intense and utterly committed to his craft he was. Everybody who has given an interview about him has a tale of when he chewed them out for being late to training, or did a drill wrong, or did something, anything, that Henry saw as not totally focused on improving as a footballer and winning matches. It’s that Jordan-like intensity that made him so great. My favorite Sol Campbell story is easy. Remember the time he ditched Tottenham and came to Arsenal? That was pretty cool. I also have a great deal of respect for Campbell’s willingness to call out the football establishment for what he felt (“felt” not intended to diminish or controvert his feelings) was discrimination in not hiring him to be a manager for so long.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    #1 Thierry Henry
    (350 votes)
  • 2%
    #5 Sol Campbell
    (8 votes)
358 votes total Vote Now


#2 Santi Cazorla vs. #3 Freddie Ljungberg

OHHHH Santi Cazorla. Little did we know that when Arsene Wenger signed the diminutive midfielder from a cash-strapped Malaga club in 2012, Arsenal had picked up a player who would become an all-time fan-favorite. My “favorite” Santi Cazorla story has to be his recovery from his horrendous Achilles injury/surgical complications. The man almost lost his foot and was staring down the barrel of never playing football again. But he battled back and somehow, through all those hardships, didn’t lose his positive attitude and joy. It’s a testament to who he is as a person. His continuing love for Arsenal is the cherry on top. Freddie Ljungberg is the quintessential “bad boy” without the worst parts of the stereotype. He was a model, he drove fast cars, he went to clubs and partied; he was good-looking, famous, and reveled in all that without getting himself into the kind of trouble that usually goes hand-in-hand with that lifestyle. Freddie Ljungberg was (and is) cool. And he managed all that while still being a top-class footballer. An absolute legend.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    #2 Santi Cazorla
    (236 votes)
  • 33%
    #3 Freddie Ljungberg
    (121 votes)
357 votes total Vote Now


LONDON COLNEY REGIONAL

THIRD ROUND


#1 Patrick Vieira vs. #4 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

As I wrote for the first round description of Patrick Vieira, when you’ve become the stick that other players at your position are measured by, you’ve done something right. Vieira was one of the first modern box-to-box midfielders, and he was darn good at it. He was part of Arsene Wenger’s transformation of the legendary Arsenal drinking and party culture into a more fitness-focused approach, best exemplified by a Ray Parlour story. At the end of Wenger’s first pre-season camp, he told the lads they could go celebrate. The Brits went to a pub where Steve Bould apparently ordered 35 pints for 5 guys. When they left, Parlour said they walked past all the French players at the coffee-shop, Vieira included, sitting around chatting instead of getting sloshed (they were smoking, but we’ll glide past that). Vieira had his good times too. According to Lee Dixon, Vieira drove himself to a club Christmas party one year. Shocked, the other guys took his keys from him, and as Dixon puts it, Vieira was eventually dancing on tables and having a grand old time. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang exudes happiness. It’s tough to find stories about current players that people might not know because of how much coverage we get and how much of their lives they reveal on social media. Aubameyang definitely lets us into his life on Instagram. It seems as if every day there’s a video of him, Alexandre Lacazette, and other players (often Shkodran Mustafi), dancing in the locker room and having fun. From what we see, Aubameyang enjoys life, and that zest for living is contagious and endearing. It’s how he’s become beloved among Gooners in such a short period of time. Banging in bags of goals probably helps too.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    #1 Patrick Vieira
    (262 votes)
  • 26%
    #4 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
    (95 votes)
357 votes total Vote Now


#2 Ray Parlour vs. #3 Robert Pires

The Romford Pele is still kicking about! I’ll admit, Parlour came well before my time as an Arsenal fan, but I’ve really enjoyed watching clips and learning about him for this series. He was part of the wild, party-culture Arsenal squads and has the stories to prove it. Some of them are a bit, uh, more than I’d like to reprint, but if you do some Googling of your own, you’ll find them. I enjoyed one about a flight to South Africa for preseason training. As Parlour tells it, manager George Graham had a few too many glasses of wine and fell asleep in first class on the plane. The players took that as an opportunity to have a few of their own. They drank for most of the flight, and after checking into their hotel, went down to the beach bar to have a few more. Unfortunately, they forgot they had training at 6 pm and didn’t remember until it was far too late, as Parlour tells it, around 5 pm or so. They all went to training drunk, and you can guess how that turned out. Robert Pires is synonymous with Wengerball. He was a joy to watch — excellent control, a slick passer, and marvelous hair. I wasn’t able to turn up much in the way of interesting or funny stories about him, so I’ll say this. I like that he was one of “those” foreign players initially deemed not tough enough and too dainty to make it in the Premier League who proved all the idiots wrong and became Invincible. It’s not easy to be the subject of harsh treatment from the media (which often spills over into abuse from fans, too). Blocking that out and rising above takes commitment and strength. Pires has that in spades.

Poll

Pick a winner

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    #2 Ray Parlour
    (71 votes)
  • 80%
    #3 Robert Pires
    (285 votes)
356 votes total Vote Now



Here is the current bracket, for reference.