There weren’t as many candidates as last week for this week’s edition of squad numbers but I think the two players I’ve picked fit the bill. I think for the first time we aren’t starting with a player from the 1970’s, this time we’re going forward just one decade into the 80’s. Although he’s recently been in the spotlight for less the impressive reasons such as his stint in Spain and comments about Arsene Wenger, this guy is without a doubt an Arsenal legend.
Introducing Mr. Arsenal, Tony Adams. One of few to be cast in bronze outside The Emirates. An Arsenal career which started at schoolboy level in 1980, to getting his first team debut in 1983 as a 17-year-old, to captaining the side for 14 years, overseeing 3 decades and 669 games of Arsenal football, Tony Adams is a true Arsenal man.
After making his debut at 17, Adams then became Arsenal’s youngest ever captain at the age of 21. This came as him and his defensive colleagues in Lee Dixon, Steve Bould, and Nigel Winterburn began their reign as England’s best-known back four, builing his reputation as a very composed ball winning centre-back.
Just a couple of years into his captaincy, Adams helped lead the team to that iconic First Division title in 1989, which looked to be the catalyst for more success under George Graham, winning another league title, F.A. Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners Cup. But as we know, Adams wasn’t a stranger to trouble off the pitch as he battled alcohol addiction during the early 90’s but somehow, his career would lengthen over another decade.
Now under a new style of management with Arsene Wenger focusing more on the physical well-being of his players, Adams reaped the benefits. Of his 49 goals, his most iconic came in the Wenger era as he calmly volleyed home against Everton and spread his arms out wide as he secured his third league title as captain and first in seven years. With Wenger’s help, Adams went on to captain the side for another four years after the ’98 double win and helped another generation of Arsenal greats to a double in 2002.
His service to the club has been immortalised with his statue and so it should be, Adams had the career that most Arsenal fans would dream of and hopefully, we see another player come through the ranks like him in the near future.
The second number 6 comes from the era of The Emirates, no not Philippe Senderos, it’s Laurent Koscielny. Maybe not on the level of Tony Adams, but in his seven years at the club, Koscielny has proved to be one of our better players in recent times, despite getting off to a dodgy start getting sent off at Anfield. Since then Kos has racked up 291 appearances for Arsenal and is basically our captain at the moment depending on whether Per Mertesacker can somehow work himself into the team.
Considering he was playing in Ligue 2 only a few years before joining Arsenal I think it’s fair to say Koscielny has been one Wenger’s best finds since moving to The Emirates. As we know in his time at the club Koscielny’s medal collection isn’t as glamourous as we’d like it to be with 3 F.A. Cups and 2 Community Shields but he hasn’t been a bad player for us.
Koscielny brought back that athleticism to our defence, which alongside his defensive capabilities have come into effect very well. In some ways, he’s quite similar to Adams with his ability to read the game and anticipate what is about to happen but of course, you can’t expect him to be getting a statue anytime soon. Also, in his time at the club, the Frenchman has scored 22 times including the equaliser in the F.A. Cup final against Hull City.
Now that he’s gone north of 30 it seems we’re coming to the end of Koscielny’s time in North London but hopefully, like Adams, his career can be extended a few years as for me he’s our best centre-back at the moment.
Hope you enjoyed, I’ll be back next week with another number to go through.