Emmanuel Petit

Some players are made for a club and same are made for partnerships, Emmanuel Petit was made for both. Who would of thought that when Arsene Wenger signed the Frenchman in June 1997 that his impact alongside fellow compatriot Patrick Vieira would be so significant.
Signed from Monaco for a bargain £2.5m, Wenger deployed Petit as a defensive midfielder with the idea that he would break up play and use his devastating left foot to start attacks from deep. It was a masterstroke, although some would question the decision at the start of the 1997 season as Petit took a few games to get into his stride.
But it was a decision that paid off. Petit was incredible next to Vieira in his first season at the club. He would stop the opposition at one end, only to turn and start an Arsenal attack usually to devastating effect.
It was an idea position for Petit. His reading of the game was excellent. He knew when to go forward, when to stay back and more importantly when to cover teammates who had pushed forward.
That first season Arsenal won the double, which was a fantastic achievement for the club, largely helped by the midfield partnership of the French pair.
There was nothing more graceful that Petit in full flow, his blond ponytail bobbing up and down as he flowed forward. He had deceptive pace with so much strength and power from midfield.
His passing accuracy was superb and his left foot would find teammates time and again with long sweeping passes. His ability to start attacks from deep was a joy to behold and gave Arsenal the ability to attack quickly and decisively with breathtaking speed.
The Frenchman was so strong in the centre of the park alongside Vieira, the pair forming a formidable team. Petit was a perfect foil for the young Vieira as teams buckled under their power and play in the centre of the park.
His contribution in his three years at the club was a joy for all Arsenal fans, who were extremely disappointed when Petit left the club for Barcelona in 2000.
Petit made 118 appearances for the gunners, scoring 11 goals in his three seasons while playing in the red and white for three seasons. It seems strange that a player who was there for such a short space of time would be an Arsenal Legend, but that is the impact Petit had on the Arsenal faithful.
A fantastic player and alongside Vieira, two players we have never replaced.

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