Part five of a six-part series chronicling the list of 222 players who have played under Arsene Wenger’s 22 years at Arsenal.
In the 10/11 season, Arsenal finished in the fourth spot again. Before getting knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and losing to Barcelona in the Champions League, the team’s hope of winning a trophy came crashing down in the League Cup final loss against Birmingham City.
Banter of the season: Too many to mention, but we’ll go with this: Arsenal go 1-0 up in the 98th minute against Liverpool, only to concede a penalty in the 112th minute.
After a horrendous start to the season, the team claws their way back to third place in the 11/12 league campaign. Wenger said, “The first trophy is to finish in the top four”. He was duly mocked at that time.
There were early exits in the domestic cup competitions. In Europe, a 0-4 deficit in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals was nearly overturned as Arsenal scored 3 in the first half of the second leg. It was a glorious failure.
Banter of the season: Easy. The 8-2 loss at Old Trafford, which prompted a host of signings on deadline day.
Another season, another fourth place. It wasn’t easy as Tottenham fans kept saying ‘Mind the Gap’. Well, Arsenal plugged away to pip their north London rivals to the fourth place trophy of the 12/13 season by a point. A loss to League Two side Bradford City in the League Cup and yet another glorious failure in Europe, this time against Bayern Munich.
Banter of the season: After 90 minutes in that incredible 5-7 match in the League Cup at Reading, Giroud and Coquelin throw their shirts into the crowd before extra time and had to ask for them back.
Finally! A trophy! The nine-year trophy drought is over as Aaron Ramsey scored in extra time to beat Hull City 3-2 in the 2014 FA Cup Finals. Forget conceding four goals in the opening 20 minutes at Anfield to lose the top spot. Forget conceding six to Chelsea on Wenger’s 1,000th match (and Kieran Gibbs getting sent off instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain). Forget losing to Bayern Munich again in the Champions League. It was a trophy at long last!
Banter of the season: The £40m+£1 bid for Luis Suarez at the start of the season. That was Arsenal FC with the banter in an official capacity.
PART FIVE: More banter and the end of trophy drought
152. Thomas Cruise
Reserve team player who could not become a Top Gunner. The left-back made only one appearance for the club – a Champions League match against Olympiacos in 2009.
Cruise joined Carlisle on loan in 2010. He might not have enjoyed his time in the club, especially when the club supporters taunted him with an announcement declaring his taxi was waiting while he was on the pitch.
After four years at the club, Cruise was released by the club in 2011 and he underwent several trials before signing with Torquay United in 2012. After three seasons, it was back to square one after he was released by the club. Cruise liked The Color of Money and was reported that he was training to become an accountant.
Good on him.
153. Marouane Chamakh
Signed from Bordeaux in the summer of 2010, the Moroccan had made a decent start to his Arsenal career with six goals before Christmas. The target man notched up impressive stats like scoring in six consecutive Champions League matches and scoring the fastest Premier League goal in Arsenal history.
However, the return of Robin Van Persie, the Moroccan’s playing time diminished. A loan season at West Ham was followed by a signing with Crystal Palace and ultimately Cardiff City. He retired from professional football in 2019.
Chamakh has a baccalauréat in accounting. First Cruise and now Chamakh. Who’s behind these accountants in the Arsenal squad?
154. Laurent Koscielny
Plucked from Lorient in 2010, Koscielny spent nine seasons with Arsenal. The first couple of seasons featured a few low points like the 2011 League Cup final and the 8-2 loss at Old Trafford. Then came the partnership with Per Mertesacker, the FA Cup wins, and wearing the captain’s armband.
He has also chipped in with goals in every season with the club. Then injuries took a toll on his body and the Frenchman missed out on World Cup 2018. He grew increasingly discontent over the management of his playing schedule. Feeling under-appreciated, he refused to travel with the club in the pre-season tour in 2019.
Koscielny moved to Bordeaux in 2019 as it offered him and his family the chance to live close to his hometown of Tulle.
155. Sebastien Squillaci
The veteran defender was signed from Sevilla in 2010. Squillaci wore the #18 jersey, previously held by stalwarts like Pascal Cygan and Mikael Silvestre.
After a decent-ish first season, the Frenchman ended up warming the bench after the arrival of Per Mertesacker. He played only one match across all competitions in his final season before signing for Bastia in the summer of 2013. He announced his retirement in 2017.
Squillaci represented France at the senior level, but more impressively he also played for the Corsican national team.
156. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
An Arsenal academy product, ‘JET’ was part of the 08/09 FA Youth Cup team, in which he scored in every round.
A versatile player, JET played up front, in the wings, or as a full back. However, the lack of game time for a player who was too good to be in the reserves meant a move to another club – in his case, it was Ipswich Town in 2011.
JET’s career did not take the path expected from him and after playing for clubs in the Championship and League One, the once-promising player last played for PTT Rayong in Thailand. A free agent, JET nearly signed for North East United in the ISL but failed the fitness test.
157. Ignasi Miquel
Signed for the youth team in 2008 at the age of 16. The defender made a total of nine appearances in the 11/12 season.
The defender was sent on loan to Leicester City for the 13/14 season in the Championship. Miquel signed a permanent deal with Norwich City in the summer of 2014.
A decent player whenever he was called up, Miquel is now onto his fifth Spanish team in five years by spending the season on loan at Girona from Getafe.
158. Conor Henderson
An academy product, the midfielder won multiple trophies at the youth level, including the 08/09 FA Youth Cup. However, at the senior level, he played one FA Cup match against Leyton Orient in 2011.
In 2013, Henderson was released from Arsenal, a club he’d been at since the age of eight.
After a permanent deal with Hull City in 2013, Henderson went on to play for seven different clubs. At present, the former Ireland U21 is playing in the Bulgarian league with Pirin Blagoevgrad.
“I’ll be honest: my Bulgarian isn’t very good. My swearing is quite good. And my ‘left’ and ‘right’”, said Henderson in an interview.
159. Emmanuel Frimpong
A Hale End Academy product, Frimpong was a Gooner through and through. Signed at the age of nine, the midfielder was part of the 08/09 FA Youth Cup squad. After making his debut against Newcastle in August 2011, Frimpong was sent off against Liverpool the following weekend. Arsenal lost the match and Samir Nasri blamed the midfielder for the loss in the dressing room.
This started the Frimpong-Nasri feud that spilled over in November 2011 League Cup tie. Frimpong’s 13-year tenure at the club ended when he was sold to Barnsley in January 2014. He did not seem too thrilled. Unsurprisingly, he was released after four months.
Stints at FC Ufa and Arsenal Tula in Russia, Eskilstuna in Sweden, and Ermis Aradippou in Cyprus.
Frimpong retired from football in March 2019 and has become something of a cult hero mostly due to his social media presence. After all, he did contribute to the footballing world with the word ‘Dench’.
A dribbler who blew hot and cold, while donning a hairstyle that depicted the Biblical parting of the Red Sea.
Signed from Lille in 2011, the Ivorian spent two seasons and had 11 goals to his name. In 2013, he rejoined with his former manager, Rudi Garcia at Roma. Garcia stated that Gervinho needed more confidence to perform and the real Gervinho tore through Serie A defenses. After a stint in China, Gervinho is back in Serie A with Parma.
An odd player who could run through teams with his pace and dribbling on his day, while missing sitters the other. Let’s take a look at that miss from three yards against Bradford in the League Cup – a game which Arsenal would go on to lose against their League Two opponents.
161. Carl Jenkinson
101% Gooner. Jenkinson went from attending Arsenal matches to playing for the senior team. Signed from Charlton Athletic in 2011, the right-back served as a deputy to Bacary Sagna. The injury to the Frenchman opened the doors for young Carl.
He spent the next three years on loan at West Ham and Birmingham City, before finding himself in the fringes of Unai Emery’s squad.
Jenkinson signed for Nottingham Forest in 2019. He left a heartfelt message to Arsenal fans.
Known as the Archbishop of Banterbury, Jenkinson is a cult figure among the fans. He scored one goal for Arsenal and boy did he enjoy that!
162. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
A prodigy from the Southampton Academy, “The Ox” signed with the club in 2011. His Arsenal debut was in the 8-2 loss at Old Trafford. A month later he became the youngest Englishman to score in the Champions League, surpassing Theo Walcott’s record.
Often played in the wings, although his preferred position was in the middle of the pitch. Injuries played a role in his time at the Emirates, but The Ox continued to remain a fan favorite at the Emirates, particularly off-field antics with Carl Jenkinson.
At the start of the 17/18 season, the imminent signing with Liverpool was on the horizon, yet Wenger opted to start him at the 4-0 drubbing at Anfield.
163. Mikel Arteta
One of the deadline day signings following the 8-2 loss at Old Trafford, Arteta’s leadership qualities earned the respect in the dressing room.
The man with the perfect Lego hair captained the side to their first trophy in nine years in the 13/14 FA Cup final.
With injuries plaguing his game time, Arteta worked towards attaining a coaching license. Upon retirement, he joined his idol Pep Guardiola in a coaching capacity at Manchester City in 2016.
Three years later he was back at the helm as Arsenal manager. Now, let’s take a look at that perfect hair.
164. Yossi Benayoun
Signed on loan from Chelsea for the 11/12 season, the Israeli midfielder offered the much-needed experience to the young Arsenal team.
A utility man, he made 19 appearances while scoring four goals in the league. Two of the goals were scored in the last two matches which helped the team gain four points and secure a third spot – one point above Tottenham.
Having spent time with the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, QPR, and West Ham in England, Benayoun headed back to the Israeli league where he retired in 2019. Benayoun endeared himself to fans virtually everywhere he went.
165. Per Mertesacker
Mertesacker was another experienced player signed on the deadline day of August 2011. The German international had a shaky start to the Premier League before establishing himself as a mainstay in the team.
Then there is that FA Cup final of 2017. Injuries had ruled him the entirety of the 16/17 season, but Mertesacker surprisingly started the FA Cup final against Chelsea.
His performance in his lone start of the season was dubbed as ‘The Mertesacker Final’ as the Gunners won 2-1.
The BFG retired at the end of the 17/18 season and took up the managerial position at the Arsenal Academy. With three FA Cups and a World Cup to his name, the ‘Big Fucking German’ is a much-loved figure among the Gooners.
166. Andre Santos
Signed in August 2011 from Fenerbahce, the left-back was better off playing upfront. Frustrating to watch, the Brazilian did not fit into Wenger’s system.
He did score one of the three goals at West Bromwich to help Arsenal attain the third spot in May 2012.
In November 2012, he drew a lot of anger after he swapped jerseys with former Arsenal captain, Robin van Persie, at Old Trafford during the halftime whistle – while his team was two goals down.
With the lack of game time, he went on loan to Gremio before signing a deal with Flamengo in 2013. He featured in the Indian Super League with FC Goa in 2014. After his exploits in India, he played at FC Wil in Switzerland, Boluspor in Turkey, before returning to his childhood club, Figueirense.
Of course, his Twitter handle kept the world entertained. This one is my favorite.
167. Chuks Aneke
A youth player who joined the academy at the age of seven. In his 13-year association with the club, Aneke made one appearance for the senior team. A 90th-minute substitute in the League Cup against Shrewsbury in 2011.
Having spent most of his time on loan to lower league clubs, the midfielder signed with Belgian club Zulte Waregem in 2014. Injuries hampered his time in Belgium and he returned to England and plays for Charlton Athletic. Aneke was subject to a racist post on social media in 2019.
168. Ryo Miyaichi
From playing high school football in Japan to Arsenal, Ryo Miyaichi got tongues wagging in January 2011. The winger was sent on loan to Feyenoord where he earned the nickname “Ryodinho”. The following season, the Miyachi played in the League Cup and was loaned out to Bolton was complete where he had a taste of the Premier League.
The 12/13 season was spent at Wigan on loan, however, an injury saw him miss out on an FA Cup medal. More loan spells followed at Twente (Belgium) and Jong Twente (Japan).
In 2015, the Japanese signed with the cult German club, St. Pauli where he has found a home.
169. Oguzhan Ozyakup
The Dutch-Turkish signed as a youth player in 2008 and spent four years with the Arsenal Academy. He made two appearances in the 11/12 League Cup campaign and was an unused sub in the 8-2 defeat to Manchester United.
The midfielder signed for Besiktas at the end of the season and has been a mainstay in the Turkish club and the Turkish national team.
Ozyakup’s Arsenal connection did not end there. The midfielder ended his friendship with Robin van Persie after a fierce Besiktas-Fenerbahce match in the Turkish Cup. No, he actually said that.
170. Park Chu-Young
The transfer window madness of August 2011 was completed with the South Korean abandoned his hotel room and the second part of his medical with OSC Lille to sign for the Gunners.
The signing raised many eyebrows and it got even stranger as the forward played only one league match. He went out on loan to Celta Vigo and Watford for the next two seasons. He was ultimately released in 2014.
The forward joined Al-Shabab in Saudi Arabia and ultimately went back to Korea to play for FC Seoul.
171. Daniel Boateng
The lesser-known Boateng came through the ranks since joining the club in 2003. The defender played one match, a League Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers in 2011. Boateng spent most of his time on loan.
In 2015 he signed with the Swedish side, Södertälje before moving on to Airdrieonians (Scotland), Raków Częstochowa, Olimpia Grudziądz (Poland), and Aerostar Bacău (Romania). Boateng has been a free agent since leaving the Romanian club.
172. Nico Yennaris
From being a mascot in an Arsenal-Coventry City match in 2000 to a first-team debut in the League Cup in 2011. The Academy product made one league appearance against Manchester United before going on loan spells to Notts County and Bournemouth.
After a 13-year association with the club, Yennaris joined Brentford in 2014. In 2018, he captained his team against his former club in the League Cup.
In January 2019, he moved to the Chinese club, Beijing Guoan, where he is known as Li Ke, as he is of half-Chinese descent from his mother’s side.
173. Santi Cazorla
Some players are worth the entry fee alone – the ambidextrous midfielder is an inside-forward, winger, or a deep-lying pivot. No matter what position in the field, he is a magician, a chaperone of the football, and a cheat code for the team.
Signed from Malaga in 2012, Cazorla was declared the man of the match on his debut and he continued his brilliant display throughout his first season. The next two seasons saw him win back-to-back FA Cups.
Then disaster struck in 2016. He sustained an injury that nearly led to foot amputation.
He was out of the game for 18 months and left the club when his contract ended in 2018. He returned for his third stint at Villareal and made an appearance after 636 days in a friendly. The club signed him up the next month.
Cazorla bought shares in former club Oviedo to help raise €2 million to stay afloat in the Spanish third division.
174. Olivier Giroud
Signed from Montpellier in 2012, Giroud was a total team player and he scored some bangers too. One of which earned him the FIFA Puskas Award. Much maligned by a section of the Arsenal support, Giroud went on to score 105 goals.
The #9 joined for Chelsea in the winter of 2018 as Arsenal signed Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Giroud went on to top score in the 18/19 Europa League campaign as Chelsea beat Arsenal in the finals.
Outside of football, Giroud was cast to voice the Green Goblin in French-dubbed version of Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse.
Years down the line, he will be remembered as the player who was better than Pele.
175. Lukas Podolski
After a string of standout performances for FC Koln, Podolski moved abroad for the first time in his career when Wenger came calling in 2012. Within a few months, he became a firm favorite with the fans.
With a howitzer of a left foot, Podolski finished his first season in England with double figures for both goals and assists. Injuries kept him off the lineup in the second season and the lack of game time, Podolski was loaned to Inter Milan in 2014, before signing for Galatasaray in 2016.
With 49 goals in 130 matches for Germany, Podolski spent the twilight years of his career in Japan with Vissel Kobe before returning to Turkey with Antalyaspor in 2019.
In between the football, Podolski opened an ice cream parlor and a kebab shop in Koln. #aha
176. Martin Angha
Born to Swiss-Congolese parents, Angha joined the Reserves team in 2010, but his senior team experience was limited to a solitary League Cup appearance and a Champions League match in 2012.
The defender signed with FC Nuremberg in 2013. Since then he has played for 1860 Munich, St Gallen, FC Sion before signing up for Fortuna Sittard in 2019.
177. Serge Gnabry
The talent that got away. Signed in 2010, Gnabry The German impressed in the 2013/14 campaign but injuries hampered his progress the following season. A loan spell at West Bromwich Albion under Tony Pulis was ended prematurely.
Serge Gnabry, at 17 years and 98 days is the second-youngest player to play in the Premier League for Arsenal after Jack Wilshere. Amidst interest from Bayern Munich, Gnabry joined Werder Bremen in August 2016 before finally joining the German giants the following season.
A mainstay with Bayern, Gnabry has represented the German national team and is touted to be one for the future.
178. Damien Emiliano Martínez
If a club ever wants a goalie on loan, Martinez is your man. Signed in 2010, the Argentinian has had loan spells at Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Getafe, and Reading FC.
His first-team debut came in 2012 against Coventry City in the League Cup which was followed by that mad 7-5 match against Reading.
In 2014, Martinez stepped in for injured goalies, Wojciech Szczęsny and David Ospina. He made four league appearances. Two years later, he stepped in place of an injured Petr Cech.
Martinez is the longest-serving member of the current Arsenal squad.
179. Thomas Eisfeld
Snapped up from Borussia Dortmund in January 2012, the attacking midfielder made only a couple of appearances in the League Cup. His debut was the 7-5 match against Reading in 2012, his second was against West Bromwich Albion in 2013 where he scored his only goal for Arsenal.
In pursuit of first-team football, Eisfeld joined Fulham in the Championship in 2014. First team football continued to elude him paving a way for a loan deal to Vfl Bochum in Germany.
Eisfeld signed a permanent deal in 2016 as the German felt more at home at Bochum.
180. Jernade Meade
An academy product who spent nine years in the youth and reserve teams.
The left-back made two appearances for the senior team. His debut was 7-5 League Cup win over Reading in 2012 and his first start was in a Champions League game against Olympiacos later that year.
Meade left the club at the end of the 12/13 season to join Swansea where he did not play a match. His career has since taken him to Luton Town, Hadley FC, St Albans before he headed to Sweden’s AFC Eskilstuna followed by Aalesund in Norway.
An injury took its toll on Meade and he is a free agent at present.
181. Nacho Monreal
Signed from Malaga in 2013, the Spain defender established himself as the first-choice left-back under Wenger.
The no-fuss footballer has been a wing-back and an emergency central defender but has been a calming influence on the young Arsenal team.
After 251 appearances and three FA Cups, Monreal joined Real Sociedad in 2019.
182. Yaya Sanogo
An uber-Wenger signing. The Frenchman joined the club in 2013 from Auxerre and confused defenders with his unique presence in the box.
The agent of chaos saw limited game-time, but he did score a Champions League goal in the second minute of the match against Borussia Dortmund.
The following seasons were spent on loan to Crystal Palace, Ajax, and Charlton Athletic. After 20 matches and one goal, Sanogo penned a long-term deal with Toulouse in 2017.
183. Mesut Ozil
An intensely vexing figure in an Arsenal shirt, Mesut Ozil is capable of blending aesthetic brilliance and casual excellence. Fans went wild when Wenger splashed the cash on the final day of the 2013 summer transfer window, on Arsenal’s record signing at £42.5million.
The first three seasons had the fans purring, then came the criticism: lazy, disinterested, missing in big games. All this despite him (statistically) creating more chances than most players in the league. A fractured relationship with new manager Unai Emery led the German to be relegated to the bench (or left out of the match squad). He has had more joy under new manager Mikel Arteta.
Ozil’s regression may be unforgiving for many, but every now and then we see glimpses of what he is all about. Elegant, audacious, daring, and always unapologetic.
For now, let’s take a look at that goal against Ludogerets.
184. Chuba Akpom
The youth product was associated with the club for 16 years, since the age of six. Used mainly as a substitute, the forward made a total of 12 appearances for the senior team.
Akpom was sent on loan to various clubs, his spell at Hull City was the most impressive as he scored seven goals across all competitions in the 2015/16 season.
Akpom joined PAOK FC in August 2018 and helped the Greek club to end their 34-year wait to win the Super League title. He also scored the only goal in the 18/19 Greek Football Cup final as the club secured a historic double.
185. Kristoffer Olsson
Joined the youth system in 2011, the midfielder made one appearance in the League Cup clash against West Brom in 2013.
Technically sound but did not make the cut for the senior team. Olsson was sent on loan to FC Midtjylland before he signed a permanent deal with the Danish club in 2015.
A spell with Swedish club, AIK was followed by another deal with the Russian club, FC Krasnodar, in January 2019. Industrious in the middle of the park, Olsson went on to represent the Sweden national team.
186. Hector Bellerin
Signed from Barcelona’s academy in 2013, Bellerin broke into Arsenal’s first team in the 14/15 season after an injury to Mathieu Debuchy. He hasn’t looked back since.
Originally a winger, Wenger moved Bellerín into defense and he has been a regular feature in the Arsenal lineup.
Off the pitch, the Spaniard donated £19,000 for the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster, walked the catwalk for Louis Vuitton at Paris Fashion Week – despite his questionable sense of style. He is also a vegan and has been a spokesperson for social responsibility.
187. Isaac Hayden
A defensive midfielder who can also play at center back, Isaac Hayden has made two appearances for Arsenal in the League Cup.
Signed as a youth player, Hayden spent eight years with the Gunners. Hayden spent the 15/16 season on loan with Hull City in the Championship.
He was snapped up by Newcastle the following summer. Hayden expressed his desire to leave Newcastle in order to be with his family, especially his young daughter.
188. Gedion Zelalem
The German-born American of Ethiopian descent was discovered by former-Gunner Danny Karbassiyoon in the U.S.A. The midfielder trained with the Academy before signing a deal.
He featured in a League Cup match and a Champions League match before going out on loan to Scottish giants, Rangers in 2015/16. The following year he was loaned out to VVV-Venlo in the Eredivisie.
Zelalem joined Sporting Kansas City in the MLS in March 2019. While he featured for the German U-15, U-16, and U-17 teams, Zelalem switched allegiance to play for the USA U-20 team.
189. Kim Kallstrom
The Swedish veteran signed for Arsenal on loan in January 2014. Curiously, a back injury was discovered during his medical and yet the midfielder was signed by the club. He spent the next three months injured.
Kallstrom came in as a substitute in the FA Cup semi-final against Wigan and slotted in his spot-kick with aplomb in the penalty shootout. “Although my contribution was small in the 120-year history of the club, it was a highlight for me. The greatest 15 minutes of my life,” said the Swede.
He returned to Spartak Moscow and went on to play for Grasshopper Zurich and retired after a spell at Swedish club Djurgårdens IF.
In an era when a long ball was scoffed at by the manager, a true Gooner will always remember this pass by the Swedish maestro.
190. Joel Campbell
Signed for Arsenal in 2011, the Costa Rican failed to obtain a work permit to play in England. This started a series of loan moves that saw him play for Lorient and Real Betis for two seasons. When the work permit was granted in 2013, Campbell joined Olympiacos on loan.
The 14/15 season saw him feature in a handful of matches. In December 2014, after a 3-2 loss at Stoke City, a supporter shouted: “Get out while you can, Joel”. He responded with a loan move to Villareal in the winter.
The 15/16 season saw him feature regularly for the club – a total of 30 matches with four goals as returns. However, it was back to loan spells the following seasons with Sporting CP and Real Betis (again), before signing for Frosinone in August 2018.
Campbell spent two seasons with Club Leon in Liga MX, where he was (cough) on loan.
After 22 years, 1235 matches, three league titles, and seven FA Cup trophies, the Arsene Wenger era was over in 2018.
Newspaper headlines asked “Arsene Who?”, as the Frenchman began his journey to transform Arsenal FC – and English football forever.
Wenger’s team finished in second place for three consecutive seasons before winning his second double in 01/02.
Wenger creates history with the Invincibles while Arsenal say goodbye to Highbury.
The move from Highbury to the Emirates stadium saw the start of a trophyless drought for Arsenal and Wenger.