You may have noticed that it is now twenty years since Arsène Wenger took the hot seat at Arsenal.

Here, at DCHQ, we thought it was time to have a look at his top five captures since his arrival in north London.

Here’s #4

(#5 here)

Robert Pires, 2000-06

A common theme of those I will mention is that they arrived and represented an improvement on what had gone before.

Robert Pires arrived in north London in 2000, having turned down Real Madrid first. He arrived to replace one of the fastest men I’ve ever seen on a football pitch, Marc Overmars. Overmars was quick, but perhaps something of a one trick pony; accelerate, cut inside, shoot. Pires, once his acclimatisation was over, would prove to have a bit more about him.

I suppose the greatest compliment anyone can pay Robert Pires is the one the entire first team squad; Henry, Vieira, Bergkamp et al paid him at the conclusion of the 2002 season as he recovered from a knee ligament injury.

The Arsenal first team squad acclaim Robert Pires at the end of the 2002 season. Photo by Stuart MacFarlane
The Arsenal first team squad acclaim the 2001-02 player of the season, Robert Pires at the end of the 2002 season. Photo by Stuart MacFarlane

He was that good.

I suppose Bobby’s success in England should counsel us against judging players too quickly. Nobody, least of all the player himself, thought that the willowy Frenchman would have what it took to succeed in England, but succeed he did.

The scourge of Steven Gerrard,

Pires would form an almost unplayable combination on our left side with Thierry Henry and Ashley Cole. Like any good number 7 should, he always, always scored against Spurs. In fact, it was Bobby’s nonchalant finish at the Lane which guaranteed our 2004 Premier League title.

I suppose to call Super Robert Pires” a pure winger is to do him a slight disservice. For the havoc he wreaked down the left, he was just adept as Freddie Ljungberg and popping up in the six yard box and tucking the ball home. Outside the box, though, what imagination. I suppose the one goal he will always be remembered for is, well.. just watch and enjoy.

Feel free to hit me up on Twitter and tell me if you agree.