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The Invisibles: Arsenal’s 5 Most Underrated Players

There are many players who have graced the hallowed turf at both the Emirates and Highbury, who have never truly received the praise that they deserve. Industrious, tireless and with a never-say-die attitude; these players would rarely make the headlin…

There are many players who have graced the hallowed turf at both the Emirates and Highbury, who have never truly received the praise that they deserve. Industrious, tireless and with a never-say-die attitude; these players would rarely make the headlines but would always be one of the integral members of the squad. The likes of Kevin Richardson, Alex Song, Alan Smith, Edu and even Oleg Luzhny have produced high class performances on a consistent basis.

And whilst I am sure that many Arsenal fans will have their own personal preferences, and I encourage them to voice your thoughts. This is a list of my top five underrated players to wear the Arsenal shirt.

Gilles Grimandi

A current Arsenal scout, Grimandi arrived at Highbury following Arsene Wenger from Monaco in 1997. Despite being venerated as one of Arsenal worst defenders, it was his versatility and work rate transformed him into and energetic and underrated midfielder capable of slotting in when injuries and suspensions took their toll on the team. I’d even venture as far to say that if he were in the Arsenal squad now he’d be a valuable member of a somewhat transitional midfield.

Kevin Campbell

It’s hard to label a striker as underrated. In today’s media it seems that they are either a natural scorer or a flop. Yet the same cannot be said for Kevin Campbell. Prolific in the youth and reserve teams he was given his debut against Everton in 1988. However, with the likes of Merson, Smith and later Ian Wright in the team, Campbell often found chances hard to come by. In the 1991-92 campaign Campbell formed a solid striking partnership with Wright but despite some brilliant performances, including hat-tricks against Ipswich and Swindon in which he was overshadowed by a stunning 40 yard lob by Wright. Boasting a ratio of a goal every five games may not be prolific, but his work rate and endeavour certainly aided Wright’s goalscoring records.

Steve Bould

Who remembers the “famous four” of Arsenal? Dixon, Winterburn and Adams are all household names and legends in their own right. But despite being named Player of the Year by the fans for the ‘91/92 season, Steve Bould’s performances usually didn’t get the praise they should have from the media and managers alike. The emergences of Linighan and Keown often put his place under threat. And with age against him, he left for Sunderland in 1999 a hero amongst the terraces but overshadowed on the pitch.

Gilberto Silva

The thing about these players is that you don’t really notice them until they’re gone. No more so the case than the £4.5m signing from Atlético Mineiro. After establishing himself as an important member of the Arsenal midfield in his first season, Gilberto was a lynchpin in the famous unbeaten season appearing in 32 of the 38 games. However, half way through the next season it was revealed that he had a fracture in his back. It was during his absence that Arsenal’s form, coincidence or not, dropped as they lost their unbeaten run and failed to retain their Premier League crown.

Paul Davis

Davis is most famously known for that left hook on Southampton’s Glenn Cockerill, which resulted in the first ever disciplinary action through television evidence and a nine game ban. Yet with that incident aside, Davis was an instrumental player for Arsenal, and arguably the greatest player to never by capped by the England senior team. He made his debut in the 2-1 victory over fierce rivals Tottenham in 1980. This promising performance was the catalyst for the other 446 games that followed. A regular for Arsenal and a star amongst the league, it baffles me how the midfielder failed to receive a single England cap.

Submitted by Football Friends




  1. XX

    September 18, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Why do we have these types of blogs. The club is in the bottom 4 and we are busy discussing underrated players? Are you kidding me.

    • weinger

      September 19, 2011 at 5:48 am

      arsenal blog.
      defence shaky, can’t defend set pieces, alright going forward, quality of squad goes down by the year, fans want wenger sacked, eden hazard and gary cahill linked but they’ll never come, ex-player says fans aren’t passionate, ex-player says manager’s lost it, “how’s the view at the bottom?”, “8-2 for 4-3 weeks”, fighting for survival not the title, we won’t win s##t for another decade, same old same old. happy mate?
      god i love being a gooner…

  2. sam

    September 19, 2011 at 5:42 am

    @XX. Spot on. Why should we address the past which was better and forget the present which is a diarrohea in itself. People are commiting mental suicide just being arsenal fans at the moment. Why cant wenger loan out all the kids to premier league clubs and they come back better like furgeson did with welbeck and cleverly? instead of forking out money to buy Mata who was better yesterday than most of the players who played for us on sartuday he loans benayoun. he had the chance to buy scott dann or cahill and yet he bought per whose speed cant work in the premier league. that why blackburn beat us on counter attacks. we should hope that teams have not noticed the pace at the back or they will finish us with counter attacks for sure. As frimpong said the best we can hope is top 4.

  3. theo

    September 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    i agree with them all except gilberto silva he had his chance and all he did was miss penalty after penalty after penalty

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