The 1990’s were one of the most successful periods in Arsenal’s illustrious history. Arsenal won several domestic honors during the ’90s and was home to two top-class managers, George Graham and Arsene Wenger. In this article, we will take a look at Arsenal’s greatest XI of the ’90s.
Honorable mentions:- Paul Merson, Alan Smith, Martin Keown
Goalkeeper: David Seaman
Seaman arrived at Highbury in 1990 and instantly became a hit. In his first season, he conceded just 18 goals as Arsenal won the league. A tall goalkeeper who had quick reflexes, Seaman was a master when it came to saving penalties. In 1997, Seaman was awarded an MBE for services to football while still representing Arsenal.
Defenders: Lee Dixon, Steve Bould, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn
In the 1990s, Arsenal’s defensive backline was by far the best in England. Dixon, Bould, Adams and Winterburn were all household names in North London. Steve Bould had tough competition from Keown for a brief period in the 90’s, but he regained his hunger when Wenger took over in 1996. Bould was an integral member of the Arsenal side that won the league in 1991 and 1998.
Lee Dixon was Arsenal’s first-choice right-back throughout the 90’s. An old-fashioned full-back, Dixon was defensively solid as a rock. Nigel Winterburn is the less-heralded one of the “famous four” that dominated English football. Winterburn started his Arsenal career as a right-back, but soon settled into the role of a left-back. Like Bould, Winterburn too revived himself under Wenger and left Arsenal in 2000 after 13 years of service.
At the heart of the defense in Arsenal’s greatest XI of the 90’s is Tony Adams. For much of his playing career, Adams was regarded as the best defender in Europe. He was known for his excellent game awareness and for his man-marking ability. An Arsenal youth product, Adams spent his entire career at Arsenal, making over 600 appearances for the club.
Midfielders: Ray Parlour, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira, Marc Overmars
The defensive midfield pairing of Petit and Vieira were the primary reason for Arsenal’s domestic double in 97-98. Petit played as a wide midfielder under Wenger at Monaco, but was given a more defensive role at Arsenal. He thrived in his new role, albeit only for a short amount of time, before moving to Barcelona in 2000.
Accompanying Petit in Arsenal’s greatest XI of the 90’s is Vieira, one of the Premier League’s all-time great midfielders. Like Wenger, Vieira arrived in 1996 and helped transform Arsenal into a ruthless outfit. Vieira was equally adept at playing a holding midfield role and a box-to-box role.
Ray Parlour was beloved by the Highbury faithful for his work ethic and the ability to play anywhere along the midfield. Parlour made over 400 appearances for Arsenal in a career spanning 12 seasons. In the left flank is Marc Overmars, a traditional winger who could score and assist with aplomb. Overmars was Arsenal’s best player in the second half of the double-winning 97-98 campaign, scoring several important goals.
Forwards: Dennis Bergkamp and Ian Wright
When it comes to sheer technicality, very few in the history of football can claim that they were as good as Bergkamp. Bergkamp made football look so simple and scored goals that makes viewers gasp in rapturous delight even in 2021. He was at the peak of his powers during the 1997-98 season, scoring 16 goals and providing 12 assists as Arsenal won the Premier League by one point.
Ian Wright is Arsenal’s second-highest goalscorer of all time, and that record alone warrants a place in the list. Wright has 185 goals in 288 appearances for Arsenal. He was at his best in the 94-95 season, scoring 35 goals in all competitions.