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Arsenal: Seaman’s Ultimate XI vs Post-War XI

Arsenal’s history has been littered with some truly exceptional players, particularly when legendary manager Arsene Wenger was with the club.

One of the standout performers under Wenger was goalkeeper David Seaman, who played a crucial role in the Gunners’ success during that period.

He was part of a team which became the scourge of sports betting platforms by winning numerous major trophies in a memorable era for the club.

The depth of talent Arsenal possessed was recently highlighted by Betway, who asked Seaman to name his Ultimate XI from the players he played alongside.

He veered away from Wenger’s 4-4-2 formation with a 4-3-3 system containing players who have undoubtedly etched their names into the club’s folklore:

  • GK: David Seaman
  • RB: Lee Dixon
  • CB: Tony Adams
  • CB: Steve Bould
  • LB: Nigel Winterburn
  • CM: Patrick Vieira
  • CM: Emmanuel Petit
  • CM: Robert Pires
  • FW: Thierry Henry
  • FW: Dennis Bergkamp
  • FW: Ian Wright

It is difficult to argue with the bulk of Seaman’s team, although the switch of formation and presence of Pires in a central role are questionable.

With the line-up focusing on just a small snapshot of Arsenal’s history, we decided to expand the timeframe by assessing how many of those players would feature in a post-World War II team.

Although that could be argued to do a disservice to the club’s all-conquering 1930s side, it is impossible to deliver an accurate assessment of how they compare to modern-era players.

Having gone through Seaman’s team, we think a case can be made for seven players to retain their places in an Arsenal post-war XI.

Seaman would remain as goalkeeper, although Bob Wilson and Pat Jennings both have strong cases to oust him given their performances for the club.

Adams and Bould keep their places at centre-back, but Dixon and Winterburn are omitted in favour of Pat Rice and Ashley Cole.

Rice was a consistent performer at right-back for the Gunners and subsequently went on to become a loyal servant to the club as part of the coaching staff.

Cole is an easy selection ahead of Winterburn given he was rated as one of the best left-backs in the world in his pomp, although his exit from the club did leave a sour taste.

Heading into midfield and it is impossible to drop Patrick Vieira, but changes need to be made to the two players who partner him in the engine room.

Pires is an unlikely choice in a three-man midfield given he was better known as a wide player, while Petit only spent three seasons with the club.

On that basis, dropping the pair in favour of Liam Brady and David Rocastle is a simple decision and offers the midfield much greater balance.

Seaman’s front three of Henry, Bergkamp and Wright remains intact as it is impossible to leave any of them on the sidelines.

Those four changes leave us with a post-war Arsenal XI that we believe would wipe the floor with any team from any era:

  • GK: David Seaman
  • RB: Pat Rice
  • CB: Tony Adams
  • CB: Steve Bould
  • LB: Ashley Cole
  • CM: Patrick Vieira
  • CM: Liam Brady
  • CM: David Rocastle
  • FW: Thierry Henry
  • FW: Dennis Bergkamp
  • FW: Ian Wright

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