Arsenal’s Greatest Ever Right Back: picking your all time greatest Arsenal 11
Next up in our series of articles where you can decide your greatest ever Arsenal 11, it’s time to pick our greatest ever right back. The right back position has historically never been the most glamorous in world football, but there have certainly been some mightily impressive ones in Arsenal’s history. Let’s take a look at some of the contenders and decide who goes down as our best ever…
I don’t think there are many other players who can boast such a palpable affiliation to Arsenal Football Club as Pat Rice. After taking a few seasons to find his feet at Arsenal, he eventually became an ever-present at right back for 10 more years at Arsenal, making 528 appearances across all competitions for the Gunners. His most significant triumph during his time at Arsenal was the part he played in our league and FA Cup double in 1971. He was tidy enough going forward, but as reliable as a right back can hope to be in terms of how he defended
Lauren was brought to Arsenal in 2000, initially as back up for an ageing Lee Dixon. Well, before long he replaced Dixon and leapfrogged Oleh Luhzny who was also ahead of him in the pecking order. He was an integral part of our squad to win the 2001-02 double and was showing some really impressive signs that he would kick on and become a world class right back. Unfortunately, he suffered a calf injury which interrupted his 02/03 season, but still recovered in time to help Arsenal beat Southampton in the FA Cup final. Though perhaps his most notable achievement was his 2003-04 performances which helped Arsenal go invincible. A horrendous knee injury in 2006 meant that Lauren didn’t get the fairytale ending to his illustrious Arsenal career, but on the whole he was undoubtedly one of the Premier League’s most successful ever right back. Physically imposing, extremely dynamic, defensively solid and could carry the ball forward well too.
This is the first ‘modern’ full back on the list. A guy who could contribute that little bit extra going forward. Unfortunately, Sagna joined Arsenal in 2007, at one of our lowest points in the club’s history. His first 6 years with Arsenal were trophyless, however take nothing away from his quality at right back. He never seemed to make a mistake at the back, and he had one of the best crosses on him in the league. He produced some brilliant moments in his Arsenal career, particularly his form during the 08/09 season. Unfortunately, he too didn’t have the best of luck with injuries; if he had 7 injury-free years at Arsenal and a better team around him, he would have gone down as one of the better modern right backs. Nevertheless, he got the ending he deserved, playing a part in Arsenal’s drought-ending FA Cup win against Hull in 2014
I still think of this guy as a guy who revolutionised the right back position. Historically, it hadn’t been the most glamorous position on the pitch, but Lee Dixon began to change people’s minds about that. He made 619 appearances for Arsenal across all competitions, winning 4 league titles, 3 FA Cups and a European trophy too. But beyond what he achieved at Arsenal, he was still one of our best ever players. He hardly put a foot wrong defensively, and was a right back ahead of his time in terms of how he could get up and down the pitch and deliver brilliant crosses. His stamina and work ethic were beyond description, and he had a technical ability to match it. I don’t just regard him as Arsenal’s greatest right backs, but perhaps the greatest right back the Premier League has seen.
Well there are the contenders. For sure there are some other contenders, but those are the stand out ones for us. Have your say then? Who do you think is Arsenal’s greatest right back of all time?
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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