The Premier League era has been kind to the Arsenal Football Club, with two doubles, nine FA Cups, and, of course, the still unequalled ‘Invincibles’ campaign. Over the years, they’ve had some incredible teams with some truly world-class players.
Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Tony Adams, Alexis Sánchez, Patrick Vieira… the list goes on and on, but while they’ve had their fair share of good fortune, Arsenal have also had their fair share of bad luck and players who, let’s just say, weren’t up to the task. Let’s just mention Nicklas Bendtner, who was once regarded as one of Europe’s most exciting young forwards, but his potential was never realized at Arsenal.
The Dane was arrested after fracturing a taxi driver’s jaw, while another driver accused him of rubbing his genitals on his taxi after he left Arsenal. He got arrested for alcohol driving even while playing for Arsenal. Bendtner admitted two years ago that he used to be addicted to gambling in casinos, clearly not following the instructions that top Habanero casino sites and other high-rated sites in the niche stressed to avoid such behavior in gamblers.
In a similar vein, the ‘Gunners’ have had some very talented players who have been outshone by a superior player in the same position or have been forced to play during volatile periods.
Here, we look at a list of four people – one per position in the team – who, in our opinion, need another look in the history books.
Goalkeeper: Alex Manninger
For a long time, a goalkeeper has been a bit of a problem position at Arsenal, but there was a period when it wasn’t. For the better part of a decade and a half, David Seaman was unquestioned numero uno for both club and country, but would Arsène Wenger have won the league in 1997-98 without a certain Austrian?
Manninger spent his whole tenure with the ‘Gunners’ as Seaman’s ‘understudy’, although his abilities significantly outweighed his physical stats. When he stepped in to save the season, he set a club record for consecutive clean sheets: six in a row during that title-winning campaign. There was no way Arsenal could’ve done without him given he had been a great shot-stopper who never complained.
Defender: Steve Bould
When people think about the famed Arsenal old guard, names like Adams and Keown come to mind, but Steve Bould was just as excellent. He was the chosen pick during the memorable double in 1997-98, but he was a little more old school than the ball-playing Keown.
When Bould crossed the white line, he had won seven major trophies for the ‘Gunners’, including three league crowns. Bould, who was unfairly regarded as the fifth member of Arsenal’s legendary back four in the 1990s, was a model professional who, despite coming for Sunderland at the age of 36, managed to become the club’s most significant defender, despite the fact that he was routinely overlooked for Arsenal.
Denilson is recognized as an unfulfilled potential among other Brazilians at Arsenal during the Premier League period, but the same could be said about Arsenal as a whole throughout his five seasons with the first team. During 2008-09, Denilson was nearly always on the turf, and he had a worldie in his locker.
Denilson was a quiet force on the pitch for Arsenal, and if it hadn’t been for the emergence of Jack Wilshire in his place, he could’ve added more to his 96 Premier League games for the ‘Gunners’. Do you want to be reminded of his abilities? See for yourself by searching for “Denilson Arsenal goals” on YouTube.
Attacker: Anders Limpar
Anders Limpar, a talented Swedish winger with a good eye for goal, came before Freddie Ljungberg. He wowed the English League down the left-wing as Arsenal won the First Division title in his debut season, and despite missing the final, he continued to amaze right up to the 1994 Cup Winners Cup success.
Limpar, a popular player on and off the field, was an early success story of overseas imports making a significant difference to teams, paving the way for players like Ljungberg and Pires to follow his footsteps in the years that came. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t get more opportunities with the ‘Gunners’, but what do you expect when you had a falling out with George Graham…