Arsenal is one of the most successful and historic teams in all of English football. Since its founding in 1886, the club has won 13 league titles, 14 FA Cups, two League Cups, 16 FA Community Shields, and the 1994 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
The Premier League era began in the 1992/1993 season and has gone on to become one of the most popular leagues in the world. Proving true the saying that class is permanent, Arsenal is just one of six teams that have never suffered relegation from the league. In fact, with Arsene Wenger as manager, the Gunners qualified for the Champions League a record 19 straight times between 1998/99 and 2016/17.
In the 28 seasons since the league debuted fans of the club have seen many excellent Arsenal players and outstanding individual accomplishments. With three title-winning sides, including two doubles, nine FA Cups, and a Champions League final, there have been many extraordinary performances.
It’s therefore hard to pick out just ten individual player performances that stand out from the rest. In fact, you might feel that some deserving players have been overlooked. In the meantime, here is a look at Arsenal’s Top Ten Best Individual Player Seasons in the Premier League era.
Nicolas Anelka is Arsenal’s Top Scorer -1998/1999
Nicolas Anelka was just 17 when he signed for Arsenal from PSG in 1997. He broke into the first team following an injury to star striker Ian Wright in the fall of 1997, going on to score six goals in 26 league appearances.
He truly won over supporters with an important contribution in the 1998 FA Cup final. With Arsenal holding a slender one-goal lead midway through the second half, Anelka gave the Gunners breathing room with a goal in the 69th minute. Arsenal defeated Newcastle 2-0 to lift the trophy.
Anelka’s standout season in north London was the 1998/99 campaign. In 35 appearances he scored 17 goals which tied him for second in the race for the Golden Boot one behind leaders Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Michael Owen, and Dwight Yorke.
At the end of the season, he received two additional honors, being named the PFA Young Player of the Year and being included in the PFA Team of the Year alongside Manchester United’s Yorke.
Anelka had established himself as one of the top young players in the league. He appeared to have it all. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to enjoy his success and the accolades that came with it. He earned the nickname “Le Sulk” due to his seeming lack of interest and aloof behavior.
Despite his exploits, the Frenchman expressed his disdain for London along with his desire to leave England. With his brothers acting as his agent, he pushed through a move to Real Madrid in the summer of 1999.
Anelka went on to play for 11 different clubs following his Arsenal departure.