It is a joy to behold when two players combine so effectively on the field.
Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira were one such partnership. For the former's sterling work in the Double triumph of 1998, the fans have voted Petit as No 22 on the list of Gunners' Greatest Players.
Arsène Wenger originally recruited his compatriot while at Monaco, handing Petit his debut while he was still a teenager. For the most part he served the French outfit at the back but, now in London, Wenger saw a different path. In the early stages of his Highbury sojourn some felt Petit's transformation into a midfielder wasn't working. Those who showed patience were right to do so.
The left-footed Petit operated from a deep-lying position, equally adept at breaking up play as he was in conducting the style of Arsenal's attack. The back-to-front floater was his trademark, unlocking opposing defences with razor-sharp accuracy.
But the bedrock of Petit's game was his intellect and strength. His days as a defender ensured his positioning was impeccable and covering team-mates who had ventured forward came as second nature. He was abrasive in the tackle, fearsome in the air and a staunch worker on and off the ball.
By the time the title race entered the home straight in Petit's first season, the pony-tailed player was at the peak of his powers. Arsenal surged towards glory with the Frenchman's impact and improvement celebrated with the Player of the Month award for April. The title and FA Cup duly followed.
His influence reached beyond the club, too. In the summer of 1998 Petit played a significant role for the French national team in the World Cup. A superb tournament came to climax with two assists and a goal in the competition's showpiece in Paris.
Fans marvelled at the Arsenal No 17, confident that, at 28, he was in his prime. With the younger Vieira thriving alongside him the future looked bright at Highbury. It was, but Petit wasn't part of it. He left in 2000 for sunnier climbs in Barcelona before returning to London, this time with Chelsea.
This list of 50 Gunners Greatest Players was determined by tens of thousands of Arsenal fans from across the world. The vote took place on the club’s official website in 2008. To help prevent multiple voting by a single person, only registered members of Arsenal.com could take part.
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