In this the penultimate edition of the 300+ club, we will be focusing on two players within the club each of these players making over 300 appearances for the Gunners, one is a Dutch mastermind the other a Swedish superstar, while Arsenal is no stranger to having world class Dutch players at the club with the likes of Marc Overmars and Robin Van Persie but Bergkamp had that something extra that made him stand out from the rest that made him a true fans favorite and Sweden’s Fredrik or as we all called him Freddie Ljungberg who would go on to be one of the best wingers the Premier League has ever seen.
“He has intelligence and class. Class is, of course, most of the time linked to what you can do with the ball, but the intelligence makes you use the technique in an efficient way. It’s like somebody who has a big vocabulary so he can talk intelligently, and that’s what Dennis is all about. What he does, there’s always a head and always a brain. And his technique allows him to do what he sees.”
Those are the words of Arsene Wenger on the player who made 423 appearances, scoring 121 goals. Coming through the revered Ajax system taught the art of Total Football he would apply this art at Arsenal for over a decade. When Bergkamp joined the Gunners in June of ’95 he had one clause in his contract that he would no longer be traveling via plane for games, in the eleven seasons, Bergkamp spent at the club the first four of these would prove to be his most successful goal wise, reaching double figures. Let’s be honest he never was a goal scoring machine like Henry was but he could pick the perfect pass, his touch was sublime and some of the goals he did score would go down in Premier League History as some of the best goals ever scored. That goal against Newcastle or Leicester, take your pick or granted this wasn’t in an Arsenal shirt but this goal always deserves a mention the Ice Man scored the greatest ever goal seen at a World Cup (in my humble opinion) against Argentina back in 1998. His time at Arsenal saw him collect three Premier League titles as well as three F.A Cups, he was an unused sub for our Champions League Final loss to Barcelona back in 2006, if only he had have been 3 or 4 years younger with him and Henry up front it could have been a very different result. 2006 was also the year that saw Bergkamp’s career at Arsenal come to an end, while he never played a professional game at the Emirates Stadium he did have the honor of playing his testimonial there. Outside of Arsenal, he retuned back to Ajax where he has been involved in coaching at the club first as assistant then as a coach on the youth team.
This Swedish Superstar made an instant impact at Arsenal scoring on his debut against Man Utd. His nine years at Arsenal saw him gain 328 appearances for the club scoring an impressive 78 goals during his time there. After arriving from Halmstad in ’98, he like so many at the time would flourish under Wenger and with his red hair, he would provide the perfect crosses for Henry, Pires and anyone who got on the end of them. Some of Ljungberg’s finest moments in an Arsenal shirt one of them being that hat-trick he scored against Sunderland the other more importantly being that goal against Chelsea in the FA Cup final, towards the latter part of his career at Arsenal Ljungberg’s career was dogged by injuries he played for months with very painful injuries often getting fluid drained from his ankle at the start of a game and again, at half-time. His time at Arsenal saw him collect two premier league titles as well as three F.A Cups. After his time at Arsenal, he went on to play for various clubs in a variety of different leagues around the world. These days he can be seen on Wolfsburg bench as their assistant manager.
Coming up next week in the 300+ club we will be looking at England’s finest “Adams, Merson, Sansom, Winterburn, and Dixon” having a brief look at some of the other Individual Greats in Mc Lintock and Armstrong, until then you can keep up to date with all Arsenal news at ArsenalInsider.com; follow us on @ArsenalInsider and feel free to follow me at @Michael_Mac_39.