Thu 16 December 2021 | 8:30

Best Arsenal Captains of All Time

As one of the top clubs in the Premier League history, Arsenal has always had great coaches, players, and captains to help the team improve. But who these great Arsenal captains of all time are? Join us throughout this article to know more about these stars.

Arsenal as one of the most prominent football clubs is completely well-known in the football world and has a lot of fans who follow it seriously. Based in Islington, London, England, the Premier League club has a rich history in which it has earned many achievements, including 13 league titles, a record 14 FA Cups, two League Cups, 16 FA Community Shields.

As the first club in the South of England, they were relegated only one time in 1913. Amongst the long list of players, coaches, managers, and other staff, who affected Arsenal's future and success, Herbert Chapman is the one that could change the club's destiny forever.

In addition to achieving the club's first silverware, Chapman's heritage earned the club the opportunity of dominating the 1930s decade. Arsene Wenger is another well-known name related to Arsenal, whose longest-serving management and the long list of trophies have earned him much reputation.

In addition to these two men, the club has had many outstanding players, whose performance has made Arsenal much reputation. Arsenal, which Forbes has estimated its worth about US$2.68 billion and annual revenue about €388m in the 19–20 season, has experienced many notable moments with outstanding footballers during its history. To know some of them, we have focused on the list of best Arsenal captains of all time here.

Best Arsenal Captains of All Time

Without more ado, let's go through the list.

Tony Adams

  • Age: 55

  • Nationality: English

  • Position: Center-back

  • Team(s): Arsenal

Here is Tony Alexander Adams, the first name on our list of the most legendary Arsenal captains in football history. The former footballer spent his entire career, almost two-decade-long, in North London with the club.

The English footballer also presented his England national team in 75 competitions. As an inspirational leader, who could manage his team to earn various triumphs, Adams was qualified for being a successful captain from a young age.

When Adams was 21, he became the club's captain and afterward could gain the notable honor of being a title-winning leader for his team, which could do it for three decades.

At the time, Adams and three of his teammates, including Lee Dixon, Steve Bould, and Nigel Winterburn, had formed a well-known defensive line-up, and their playing alongside each other was so famous.

In addition to leading the team to two league titles, Adams led them to the league and FA Cup doubles in 1998 and 2002. Due to the wide range of the club's successes during Adams' captaincy, they unveiled a statue of Adams at Emirate Stadium in December 2011 to honor him.

Besides winning four top-flight division titles with


, Adams captained the side uniquely within three decades, which ended in three FA Cups, two Football League Cups, a UEFA Cup Winner's Cup, and two FA Community Shields. Based on the explanation, there is no wonder that his name is amongst the 

best Arsenal captains in football history

Patrick Vieira

  • Age: 45

  • Nationality: French-Senegalese

  • Position: Midfielder

  • Team(s): Cannes, Milan, Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan, Manchester City

Patrick Vieira is one of the other names amongst the best Arsenal captains of all time. The current professional manager of the Premier League club, 

Crystal Palace

 ended his playing era while he was one of the best of his generation.

Vieira's professional life began with Cannes, in which he played only one season, 1994-95. His brilliant performance paved the way for him to move to Serie A club 


the following year. However, his playing for the club did not last for a long time, and after making two appearances, Vieira joined Arsenal in 1996.

Patrick started his playing with the club by signing a contract for a fee of £3.5 million. His excellent performance made him a dominating box-to-box midfielder. Also, Patrick's aggressive playing style with a high-level competitive attitude qualified him to be Arsenal's captain from 2002 to the date he left the club in 2005.

During the six consecutive years between 1999 to 2004, he got the honor of being in the Premier League PFA Team of the Year. During his time at Arsenal, Patrick played an efficient role in his team success, and by lifting four FA Cups and three league titles, he experienced a sustained era of advance.

From 1996 to 2005,

Patrick Vieira

appeared in 279 competitions with Arsenal and scored 29 goals. If you are a big football fan, who has followed most events of the football world, you must have looked for his name amongst the list of 

best Arsenal captains ever

Frank McLintock

  • Age: 81

  • Nationality: Scottish

  • Position: Center half

  • Team(s): Leicester City, Arsenal, Queen Park Rangers

Amongst the greatest Arsenal captains in soccer history, the former Scotland international footballer, Francis McLintock, has allocated one place. In 1956, McLintock began his senior career with English First Division club 

Leicester City

, and after appearing in two FA Cup final defeats, he moved to Ars-enal for £80,000.

His start with the club was so poor, and he appeared in two League Cup final defeats. However, later, McLintock found his best by switching from right-half to center-half. After being appointed a captain, McLintock led his team to achieve the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1970, the club's first European award.

Also, during the era that he was Arsenal's captain, he captained them to the Double, and they won the FA Cup and the league in the 1970-71 season. He spent nine years of his senior career with the club, and during the years, he made 314 appearances and scored 26 goals. His brilliant performance as a captain for Arsenal has brought his name amongst the 

best Arsenal captains of all time


Thierry Henry

  • Age: 44

  • Nationality: French

  • Position: Striker

  • Team(s): Monaco B, Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona, New York Red Bulls

Thierry Daniel Henry is one of the other stars whose names are on the list of 

greatest Arsenal captains of all time

. The former professional footballer is currently the assistant coach for Belgium national team. As one of the greatest strikers of all time and the best footballers in the history of the Premier League, Henry made a rich career history for himself full of honors.

Henry began his professional career with Monaco in 1994, and after five years of playing, he signed a contract with Serie A champions


. However, disagreements with Juventus' hierarchy led Henry to move to Arsenal for £11 million in 1999. 

Arsene Wenger

, the club's long-time coach, led Henry to become a prolific striker, and through scoring 174 goals in 254 matches, he became the club's all-time leading scorer.

Winning the Premier League Golden Boot and two FA Cups,

Thierry Henry

was the club's captain during his last two seasons, and meanwhile, led them to the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final. The prominent French footballer made 600 appearances from 1994 to 2012 and netted 290 times during the 18 years.

David O'Leary

  • Age: 63

  • Nationality: English-Irish

  • Position: Center back

  • Team(s): Arsenal, Leeds United

The list of best Arsenal captains of all time contains the name of the 63-year-old footballer from England, David Anthony O'Leary. Following his retirement as a player, O'Leary became a football manager and spent his managerial career with Leeds United,

Aston Villa

, Al-Ahli. O'Leary spent his entire senior career as a player with Arsenal and

Leeds United

, which 18 of 20 years was in the former.

During the years, he broke many appearance records and reached 100 and 200-match milestones as the youngest person is one of them. By appearing in 558 competitions, O'Leary passed George Armstrong's record in 1989, which by 621 first-team games was the record-holder before that.

Although with the partnership of Tony Adams, Steve Bould, and George Graham, O'Leary had lost the opportunity of being automatic first choice, he turned in more than 20 appearances.

Later, during the era in which O'Leary mainly appeared on the pitch as a substitute, he achieved one other league title, an FA Cup, and League Cup double in 1993. That is why his name is one of the 

greatest Arsenal captains in soccer history

Pat Rice

  • Age: 72

  • Nationality: Northern Irish

  • Position: Right back

  • Team(s): Arsenal, Watford

The next name on the list of 

most legendary Arsenal captains in football history

 is the former Northern Irish footballer and coach, Patrick James Rice. His career history as a footballer lasted for 17 years, from 1967 to 1984, which Rice spent 13 of it with Arsenal.

Through making more than 500 appearances during these years, Rice made a rich career history with numerous honors he achieved with Arsenal, including winning the Double. The talented footballer began his first-team debut by appearing in the League Cup against


in 1967.

During his first years, Rice was mainly a reserve player. Afterward, by moving Peter Storey, Arsenal's first-choice right-back, into central midfield, Rice took his pace and became a near-ever present player.

Following his excellent playing with the club, Rice remained the first-choice right-back player of the club and participated in the 1972 FA Cup Final. in 1977, Rice took up the role as Arsenal's captain and achieved the honor of lifting the FA Cup, when Arsenal beat

Manchester United

in 1979.

The captain led his team to the 1980 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final. However, their opponent, Valencia, beat them on penalties. Pat Rice,

David Seaman

, and Ray Parlour are the only three Arsenal players who have appeared in FA Cup Finals five times, including 1970-71, 1971-72, 1977-78, 1978-79, and 1979-80.

Cesc Fabregas

  • Age: 34

  • Nationality: Spanish

  • Position: Midfielder

  • Team(s): Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea, Monaco

The current central midfielder of Ligue 1 club Monaco, Francesc "Csc" Fabregas Soler, is one of the other names on the list of 

best Arsenal captains of all time

. Fàbregas' first professional team was Arsenal, which he joined in 2003 and stayed there for the next eight years.

At the time of joining, the key midfielders of the team were suffering some injuries, which prepared Fabregas the opportunity of establishing himself in the club. Following breaking several club's records,


earned much reputation as one of the best midfielders of Arsenal and achieved the FA Cup in 2005.

During the 2008-09 season, the team appointed Fabregas as the successor to Williams Gallas as Arsenal's captain. After a short time, while Arsenal had passed a poor start and was getting back into the title, though some knee injuries that happened to him in a match against


, he missed four months of the season.

His honors with Arsenal include Premier League in 2003-04, FA Cup in 2004-05, FA Community Shield in 2004, Football League Cup runner-up in the 2006-07 season, and UEFA Champions League runner-up in 2005-06. 

Joe Mercer

  • Age: Died (Aged 76)

  • Nationality: English

  • Position: Left half

  • Team(s): Everton, Arsenal

One of the other names amongst the best Arsenal captains in football history is Joseph Mercer. As a football player, he spent his professional life in


and Arsenal as a defender, and after his retirement, Joe managed Aston Villa, Manchester City, and England.

He joined Arsenal in 1946 and played there for the following nine years. Meanwhile, he made 247 appearances and scored two goals. Mercer was great at tackling and predicting the opponent's moves.

The talented footballer moved from Everton to Arsenal in late 1946 by signing a contract for £9,000 and made his debut in a match against 

Bolton Wanderers

 on 30 November 1946.

It was not long before he joined Arsenal he became the team captain. From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, Mercer led his team to earn many successes and helped them win a League Championship title in 1947-48, while formerly they were in the lower end of the table.

Joe achieved several honors with Arsenal, including First Division in 1947-48 and 1952-53, FA Charity Shield in 1948 and 1953, FA Cup in 1950, and FA Cup runner-up in 1952. Performing brilliantly and playing efficient roles as a captain for the team has brought his name amongst the best Arsenal captains of all time. 

Per Mertesacker

  • Age: 37

  • Nationality: German

  • Position: Center back

  • Team(s): Hannover 96II, Hannover 96, Werder Bremen, Arsenal

One of the other best Arsenal captains ever is the former German footballer, who currently is the manager of Arsenal Academy. After spending eight years in Hannover 96 II, Hannover 96, and

Werder Bremen

, and earning much admiration due to his excellent performance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Mertesacker signed a contract for a fee of £8 million with Arsenal, and one year later moved to the Premier League club.

Mertesacker's brilliant playing style established him as the first choice center-back player while there were several other defensive partners in his first two seasons.


and his fellow defender, 

Laurent Koscielny

, built up a relationship, which led their team to win the 2014 FA Cup and ended the long era, nine years, in which they had not achieved trophies.

After being assigned as Arsenal's captain in 2016, Mertesacker's stunning performance led him to star again in the third success in 2017. Several injuries within the latter stages caused him not to appear on the pitch as much as he did in the past.

Finally, in 2018, because of his injuries, he announced his retirement. FA Cup, FA Community Shield, and EFA Cup runner-up are the achievements he gained with Arsenal, respectively, three, two, and one time. 

Alan Ball


  • Age: Died (Aged 61)

  • Nationality: American

  • Position: Midfielder

  • Team(s): Ashton United, Blackpool, Everton, Arsenal, Southampton, Vancouver Whitecaps, Eastern AA, Bristol Rovers

Another name, by which we have completed our list of best Arsenal captains of all time, is Alan James Ball, the English professional footballer who died in 2007. The talented American midfielder moved from Everton to Arsenal by signing a contract for a £220,000 fee at the end of 1971.

At the time, Ball was 26, and when he joined Arsenal, he was at his best fitness situation. His debut was in a match against Nottingham Forest in 1971, which ended in Arsenal's defeat.

His playing for Arsenal lasted five years, from 1971 to 1976, and meanwhile, he appeared in 177 games and scored 45 goals. In a period, the lack of enough excellent players in the team earned Ball the opportunity of establishing himself as one of the few brilliant players of Arsenal.

Formerly, his 50 appearances in the 1972-73 season had made him a new-constant player of the side. The following season, Alan Ball broke his leg, which caused him to miss the beginning of 1974-75, that his side finished 16th.

Through an injury that happened to Ball throughout the pre-season friendly match between Arsenal and

Crewe Alexandra

, Ball could not appear in the competitions at the beginning of the 1975-76 season. His team finished the season in 17th place. Amongst the long list of his achievements as a player, there is one honor, which refers to the era he played for Arsenal, FA Cup runner-up in the 1971-72 season. 

Lastly, we thank you for staying with us through today's article regarding the best Arsenal captains of all time. As you read, the presented list included the names of ten stars, whose biographies, achievements, and career histories, need a separate article.

Despite our efforts in preparing accurate info, there might be some data we have missed. If you have any points to complete the text, contact us and share your ideas in the comment section.

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