Arsenal are well represented in the media, befitting their status as one of England’s biggest clubs, but which of their former players makes the biggest impression on our television screens?
As the Gunners chase their first Premier League title since 2004, it’s common for a pundit with strong links to the club to appear on our television screens on a match-by-match basis.
We’ve identified the eight former Arsenal players that regularly feature on Sky, BT, ITV and the BBC and ranked them from worst to best.
8. Martin Keown
The role of a football pundit is to your insight and experience from your playing days to tell the viewer something they cannot see for themselves.
Keown rarely delivers on this metric; the former Arsenal defender delivers safe not-quite-on-the-mark observations in an extremely intense tone.
But, in the balance of fairness, we were cheering him on when it looked like he was about to lay hands on Jake Humphrey…
I swear Martin Keown was about to throw hands on Jake Humphrey 😳😂 pic.twitter.com/DIQPJc512n
— Gilles 🇳🇬🏴 (@_Grimanditweets) February 4, 2023
7. Lee Dixon
His partnership with Sam Matterface does neither party any favours, but Dixon does possess the energy of a man on a three-day comedown when on co-comms.
Admittedly, his performance during the latter stages of the World Cup was elevated by the presence of Ally McCoist; the two former internationals nattering away leaving Matterface to play the role of Victorian chaperone.
Dixon does provide solid analysis, but his demeanour isn’t the most engaging and does put a significant proportion of people off.
6. John Hartson
The early rounds of Qatar 2022 were marked by shocks, goalless draws and John Hartson telling anecdotes that meandered along like the River Severn.
Whilst many found his off-beat asides extremely annoying, we were fully paid-up fans of the TMS-style approach that Hartson bought to ITV’s coverage of the tournament.
The former striker doesn’t cover many Arsenal games, although he has appeared on BT’s Europa League coverage in the past, but we’ve found a little Hartson goes a long way.
5. Alan Smith
The voice of the 2pm non-glamour half of Super Sunday for a generation, Smith’s Birmingham twang can sometimes disguise his illustrious association with Arsenal.
But, having scored 115 in 347 appearances for the Gunners, the former striker is one of Arsenal’s biggest cheerleaders in the media. It’d be weird if he wasn’t around.
4. Paul Merson
Endearingly earnest and fabulously carefree with the pronunciation of player names, Merson is a good egg and enrichens our viewing experience with his presence.
Paul Merson, on Sky Sports, commentating on Reiss Nelson’s winning goal against Bournemouth. 😭❤️ pic.twitter.com/16BwiZQs9y
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) March 4, 2023
3. Karen Carney
As we said during our FA Cup pundit ranking in January: ‘Carney gets more hate than she deserves; while the former England midfielder’s punditry doesn’t represent the invention of the wheel, she offers good analysis and has the ability to get her point across in a down-to-earth manner.’
Considering your average viewer doesn’t have a forensic understanding of the game, being able to explain yourself concisely is an underrated skill.
2. Alex Scott
The usual suspects loudly shat themselves on Twitter when Scott became a regular presence on our screens, but Scott’s enthusiasm and meticulous research puts a number of her colleagues to shame.
And she went further up in our estimation by joining the BBC picket line in protest over the suspension of Gary Lineker. No wonder she features on their coverage of the biggest games.
1. Ian Wright
Upbeat, comrade and a national treasure; we doubt there’s a single person in the country that doesn’t adore Wrighty.
It’s hard to recall his early days in the studio – raw, lacking insight and powered by cheap supermarket batteries – when presented with the current mature version.