Managed by Arsene Wenger with substitutes John Jensen, Pascal Cygan, and Steve Morrow.
Arsenal America's cure for the Summer doldrums between the end of the season and the opening of the transfer window was to stage an all-time Arsenal XI snake draft among twelve supporters groups. We were honored to participate; here's a rundown of how our team was assembled.
Having the 8th pick in round one meant that the likes of Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira, etc. were clearly going to be out of reach for Charsenal. As a result, our strategy consisted of building a solid foundation. History shows us that an essential element to every effective squad is leadership. Even if you have a great squad, ineffective leadership can severely limit a player’s full potential and morale. That’s why Charsenal’s first pick was manager Arsenal Wenger. He has a proven track record for bringing out the best in players, spotting a diamond in the rough, and identifying weaknesses in the opposition.
With a strong leader at the helm, ‘Mad’ Jens Lehmann in-between the posts was our next pick. One of the original ‘Invincibles,’ there are very few keepers who a team would rather have (in goal and covering their backs) than an in-form Lehmann. Charsenal continued the draft by focusing on the spine of our XI. Players like Steve Bould and Per Mertesacker were brought in to dominate the penalty area during set-pieces and corners, Michael Arteta would be our mid-field enforcer (with his cheeky toe pokes, sweet hair, and perfectly manicured eyebrows), while Santi Cazorla would be our maestro, free-kick specialist, and occasionally have a go at 30 yards.
Rounding out our mid-field is the pacey Theo Walcott and Brian Marwood, whose sublime crosses helped Arsenal to win their first Premier League title (88-89) since 1971. Down on the defensive left we went with Wilf Copping, who made 35 appearances in each of his first four seasons with the club and was voted man of the match during the ‘Battle at Highbury’ in 1934. On the right, Alf Baker, a 1930 FA Cup winner and member of the 300 club (351 Arsenal caps).
Up top, Charsenal went with 17-minute hat-trick hero at Stanford Bridge, Nwankwo Kanu. He’s tall, aggressive, and knows how to put a head on goal. Kanu’s more clinical partner is none other than Kelly Smith. It may be a men’s league in real life, but who wouldn’t want to see Kelly go at it with the likes of the rest of this squad? Sometimes you have to think outside the box. This is exactly what Charsenal did when we brought Kelly in during round 12. Kelly’s vitae includes: 1 UEFA Cup, 4 Premier League Titles, 3 FA Cups, 3 Premier League Cups, and 4 Community Shields with Arsenal. She is also England’s at time leading goal scorer.
All 12 starting XIs have been posted to Arsenal America at http://www.arsenalamerica.com/2013/06/29/arsenal-americas-solution-to-a-football-less-summer-an-all-time-arsenal-xi-draft/
Please take a minute to head over there and vote for our team!