So, it’s less than two months till the end of the 2010’s, so recently websites and some papers have started running articles summarising the last decade. Let’s start with Arsenal’s team of the decade, based purely on their form for us in that spell…
You only had to be above average to be considered for this position. It took too long for Arsene Wenger to realise that Almunia and Fabianski were mentally not strong enough to play for a club our size. Szczesny had the self-confidence I wish more of our dressing room had, but there’s a fine line between self-belief and arrogance and his attitude was the reason he eventually lost his place. His form at Juventus though has led some to believe the club were premature in letting him go, it’s believed he angered management by being caught smoking in the shower after playing an extremely bad game. He would have been a better option then a Cech past his best.
While most of our full backs could be described as good going forward but not great defensively, Sagna was reliable going both ways. His last game for us ended our trophy drought before he became the latest name to jump to Man City. Injuries have meant no one since has had the body of work to rival him for this role with some gooners even targeting Bellerin at away games.
Mertesacker – CB
His injury plagued last couple of years made us maybe not appreciate the German defender like we should have, and he would perhaps not be in Arsenal’s team of the decade in some fans eyes. It was concerning to read how he mentally reached the point where he no longer wanted to be picked in the squad, such was the stress of match days. If that was the case, he should have retired sooner instead of taking a salary from the club.
At his best, he made up for his lack of pace with great positional sense, meaning he was rarely exploited. His best game for us was in the FA Cup Final, where having been injured all year he led a makeshift centre back pairing of Monreal and Holding to victory against Chelsea which is now known as the BFG Final.
Koscielny – CB
Gooners don’t like how he left, but if they’re honest this has been our best partnership in the last 10 years, with Koscielny making up for BFG’s lack of pace. In his prime he was one of the best defenders in the Premier League, but an Achilles injury robbed him of fitness, missing the World Cup in 2018.
No longer able to play 2 games a week it had got to the stage where his game time had to be managed. He clearly feels someone higher up went back on their word, but he still should have handled his exit better.
Was brought in as a squad player but eventually replaced Gibbs when it was clear he could be trusted more defensively as well as being able to stay fit. Over the years he got more confident going forward as he grew into a proper leader, adding goals to his game.
Even at the most difficult times you could never accuse the Spaniard of not giving any more than 100 percent. The decision to sell him and not Kolasinac was one of many mistakes Emery has made this year.
Still the closest we had in a decade of perfecting that role as DM. After the departure of Fabregas and Nasri, Song stepped up in terms of leadership qualities. He struck up great understanding with Vanpersie, adding assists to his game. His form earnt a move to Barcelona. Arsene Wenger made a mistake in not re-signing him when he was being loaned out to the likes of West Ham.
Ramsey – CM
I had to pick him. Not just did he win the three FA cups which ended our long trophy drought, but scored the winner in 2 of those finals, giving him a place in Arsenal’s team of the decade for his legendary status.
A horrific broken leg at Stoke meant fans had to be patient to see him replace the likes of Fabregas and Nasri, and like lots of our British talent could never get through a campaign without time spent on the side-lines.
One of many who owe so much for Arsene Wenger’s patience as there were gooners who turned on the Welshmen. He was ready to sign a new contract before Emery told the board to end negotiations, not wanting to pay over the odds for a man he deemed not good enough for his first team but then proceeded to play 3 DM’s instead, a sackable offence in my opinion.
Cazorla – CM
So good you could often take him for granted. It was only when he was out of the team you realised how good he was, and how no one could do what he did; the ability to dictate the ball from deep and control the tempo of our game. I truly believe we would have won the title instead of Leicester had he not got injured that year.
It’s ironic that Arsenal gave him so many years to recover from injury but the moment they failed to renew his contract is when he started playing weekly again. He would walk into our current XI and is a shoo-in for Arsenal’s team of the decade.
Sanchez – RF
Another gunner who scored in two of the FA Cups he won. Talent was obvious but work rate set him apart, often dropping deep to get the ball and make things happen.
A pattern would develop though, as soon as it was clear we were out of any title race, his body language would turn poor and he failed to be the leader his younger teammates needed when they lost their confidence. Stories are that the dressing room accused him of thinking he was better than them because in truth … he was.
Giroud – CF
Selection will divide opinion, which is fitting as he did throughout his career, with Deschamps viewing him as his first choice for France even when he wasn’t picked by his club. The fact is that he is one of the few to score over 100 goals for the club and gave us a plan B we haven’t had since.
It wasn’t his fault Mr Wenger never chose to buy a world class striker to partner him up with, and he only left because he wanted first team football in time for the World Cup. He came back to haunt us in the Europa League where he was the best player in Baku.
Van Persie – LF
He deserves to be in this team for what he did for us in his final season, as captain of one of the worst squads in our history. Never before have a team owed so much to one man, who single handedly got us back into the Champions League. That’s why we were so angry that he forced a move to Man United. Yet in reality has he not been proven right about our lack of ambition?
Do you agree with my choices for Arsenal’s team of the decade?