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"It was the winter holiday and I was back in Togo having a kickabout with friends when my phone rang.One of the boys answered it and said, 'Manu, it's Arsene for you'. 'Arsene who?' I said. 'Arsene Wenger', he said. 'Get out of it', I said, and grabbed the phone off him. But then I heard the voice. 'Allo'. F*****g hell. It is Arsene Wenger!"
-Emmanuel Adebayor

Wenger's 3rd Gen Has Wenger's 3rd Great Trio

Watching the Watford match at the weekend made me realise a few things about our club. For those who dont know, Wenger says that he has managed 3 generations or 3 versions of Arsenal since he joined the club 10 years ago with fluffy hair and Harry Potter-like glasses.

The Trio: Vieira/Petit/Anelka
The first generation consisted of mostly English players(97/98), most of which he inherited from George Graham and Bruce Rioch combined with his own creation- the partnership of Vieira and Petit, the latter having just joined the club and was switched to defensive midfielder from his position with Monaco which was centre-back. The partnership together with the youthful Nicolas Anelka, the trio helped Arsenal to their second ever Double(Premiership and FA Cup), beating Newcastle 2-0 in FA Cup finals after they overhauled Man Utd's lead in the dying weeks of the season.

The Trio: Vieira/Pires or Ljungberg/Henry
The second generation surprisingly isnt the 'Invinsible' side but the side that did the double 2 years earlier(01/02). The team that did this double was for me the best Arsenal team, even better than the 'Invinsibles', the trio Vieira/ Pires(or Ljungberg after Pires got injured)/ Henry helped Arsenal to the 3rd double and second under Wenger. Robert Pires was the star of that season, finally repaying his 6m pound signing fee by scoring 14 goals that season and led the assists charts. He then suffered a cruciate ligament injury that sidelined him for the final 2 months of the season. Many feared that Arsenal would lose their lead in the title race that season but then a certain pink haired, Swedish winger decided to step-up and take over Pires' scoring duties. Ljungberg scored in most of the remaining matches that season, almost all of which were through balls from Bergi. While Arsenal were showing great attacking football, scoring in every match that season, Vieira made sure that we didnt concede, with Tony Adams out with injury almost every few week, Vieira was indirectly already leading the team. Tony Adams retired at the end of that season and lifted the FA Cup trophy together with Vieira after beating Chelsea 2-0 at the Millennium Stadium.
And Thierry I really need to talk about him?

The Trio: Cesc/Theo/Henry
In the 3rd generation of Arsenal or as Arsene likes to call it Arsenal III, it looks unclear what the trio might be. If you look at the 05/06 season, which was really when the 3rd gen started, after Patty left, no 3 players stood out. Of course Thierry broke a few records but it was more of a team effort that got Arsenal to the CL finals, winning most our games with our heart. We saw the introduction of Cesc to consistent first team football but something was missing. A third man, someone to combine with Cesc and Henry to create another Wenger 'trio'. The past generation of the trio always contained 2 midfielders and a striker, so you would look to the midfield. Ljungberg is obviously past his prime, Hleb is a great player, one of my favourites but doesnt really have the eye for goal and his passing can sometimes let him down,Gilberto became more of a 5th defender after Vieira left as we saw last season and Tomas Rosicky was bought to help us add another dimension of football to our game, shooting from outside the box. So, unless people wanted to include Alex Song to that list there was really no midfielder that could fill the boots of Pires, until Theo. One start is all he took to impress me. He runs with the ball, while searching for players to pass to, something not many can do. In only one match he managed to play through ball with Cesc and Henry, easily drifting in and out of the Watford defence, which really were not that good anyway. He had 'that' fantastic ability to play through balls for strikers to chase, something none of us have seen since a certain non-flying Dutchman retired. And all it took was for Arsene to convert another player from a position he thought he was best at, to the position that Arsene KNOWS he is best at. Of course its only one game, i know that, you dont need to send me 200 emails to tell me that, but if he can do this in one match, what will happen when he becomes a consistent starter? I feel like an drug addict, once you get a taste of it, you just cant get enough. Post your theo-ughts through the little comments link below.

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posted by highbury1913 @ 12:10 pm | |

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