Top five youngest players to make 200 appearances for Arsenal
Young guns legacy: Journey through the remarkable rise of Arsenal’s youthful icons
In the illustrious history of Arsenal Football Club, the emergence of young talents has been a constant source of excitement for fans. As we delve into the archives, we unearth the stories of five exceptional players who not only made a significant impact but also reached the coveted milestone of 200 appearances at a remarkably young age. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and celebrate the accomplishments of these prodigious talents.
Youngest players to make 200 appearances for Arsenal
1. Cesc Fàbregas
The year was 2007, and a 21-year-old Spanish midfielder named Cesc Fàbregas etched his name into Arsenal history. On a seemingly uneventful Monday at St James’ Park, Fàbregas made his 100th Premier League appearance, narrowly missing the record as the youngest to achieve this feat. Nevertheless, he secured his place as the youngest non-English player to reach a century in the Premier League.
Fàbregas’s legacy at Arsenal is that of a creative genius, with only Ryan Giggs boasting more assists in the competition. Since his debut in the 2004-05 season, Fàbregas created an astounding 846 chances and provided 111 assists, unparalleled by any other player in the league during that period. His quest for a league title led him to Barcelona, where he clinched the La Liga title in the 2012-13 season, before adding two Premier League titles with Chelsea in 2014-15 and 2016-17.
2. David O’Leary
David O’Leary, a stalwart Irish centre-back, earns his place among the top five youngest Arsenal players to 200 appearances not solely based on talent but on sheer longevity. O’Leary’s 18-year playing career at Arsenal saw him play under five different managers, solidifying his status as a legend of the Highbury turf.
Despite not being the most decorated player, O’Leary’s loyalty and dedication were unwavering, enduring the challenging periods of the late ’70s and early ’80s. His record 722 games in an Arsenal shirt speak volumes about his commitment to the club. O’Leary’s influence was particularly felt during the George Graham era, where his experience and leadership qualities played a crucial role in securing league titles and FA Cup triumphs.
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3. Cliff Bastin
In the 1930s, Cliff Bastin graced the Highbury turf, leaving an indelible mark on Arsenal’s history. Even nearly 80 years later, his name evokes affection and respect. Bastin’s No. 18 ranking in Arsenal.com’s Gunners’ Greatest Players poll in 2008 is a testament to his enduring legacy.
Bastin’s heyday saw him win a League title, the FA Cup, and earn his first England cap by the age of 19 – a remarkable hat-trick of achievements. His elegance on the ball and goal-scoring prowess contributed to five League titles and a second FA Cup triumph in 1936. Although surpassed by Ian Wright and Thierry Henry in the goalscoring charts, Bastin remains a revered figure among Arsenal fans.
4. Bukayo Saka
Fast forward to the present, and Arsenal boasts another prodigious talent in the form of Bukayo Saka. Debuting just over five years ago, Saka has become a key figure, amassing 199 appearances and showcasing versatility with 46 goals and 47 assists.
Saka’s imminent 200th appearance at the age of 22 years and 91 days cements his status as the second-youngest English player to reach this milestone for Arsenal. The comparison with Cliff Bastin and Cesc Fàbregas underscores the extraordinary talent that Saka possesses. His impact across various competitions, including the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup, and more, highlights the breadth of his contributions.
5. Ray Kennedy
Ray Kennedy’s stint at Arsenal as a striker in the ’70s saw him score 71 goals in 212 games over five years. Despite being overshadowed by the managerial upheaval at Anfield upon his move to Liverpool, Kennedy’s contributions to Arsenal’s League and FA Cup double in 1970/71 should not be overlooked.
Kennedy’s physical strength and scoring prowess caught the eye of Bill Shankly, who predicted that he would “cause plenty of trouble to defences.” His transition to Liverpool marked the end of an era at Arsenal, but Kennedy’s impact lingered, showcasing his goal-scoring abilities and resilience on the pitch.
As we celebrate the achievements of these five exceptional players, we are reminded of Arsenal’s rich history and its commitment to nurturing young talent. From the elegance of Cliff Bastin to the modern-day versatility of Bukayo Saka, each player has left an indelible mark on the club’s legacy. As Arsenal fans, we eagerly anticipate the next generation of young guns who will continue to grace the Emirates Stadium and carry the torch of excellence forward.
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