So, Patrick Vieira makes an emotional return to Arsenal on Monday.
It’s actually been rare how many players who played for us in the Premier League would face us as managers. There have been several gunners though who would come back and haunt us in other ways. Some did it while showing us respect, others clearly enjoyed getting one over their ex-club.
Here are 10 gunners who came back to haunt us. Will Vieira join that list on Monday?
Thought I would start off with a happy one. One of the few times the Emirates would applaud an opponent scoring against them in the Champions League was when Eduardo got a consolation goal for Shakhtar Donetsk.
Sentimental because it seemed that breaking his leg at Birmingham robbed him of all his powers, so this proved he could still perform at this level.
Gooners were less sentimental two weeks later when he got the winner in the Ukraine.
9- Van Bronkhorst
Despite winning a title and 2 FA Cups in England, a ligament injury meant Gio could never establish himself in our first 11. Therefore, we were happy to loan him to Barcelona with the obligation they purchase him for two million.
Little did we know he would reinvent himself as a left back, with it deemed that his best ever form came in Spain.
The cruel irony is we had given Barca an asset who would play in every round of their Champions League success, including the Final …. against us!
We had given our opponents a full back in top form for only 2 million! For a player viewed as a squad player at Highbury, this was some turn around.
8- David O’Leary
No one has played for the Gunners more than the Irishman, so before and after his spell as manager of Leeds his status as an Arsenal legend would always be safe.
At Elland Road though it was like he did his best to distance himself from us.
Perhaps focusing on his own coaching career or trying to impress his current employers, O’Leary was very vocal towards us.
With Leeds trying to replace us as Man United’s main challengers, the fixtures between us and them would become very physical and volatile both on and off the pitch.
Both clubs would accuse the others approach being the problem, with the FA asking both clubs directors to meet and discuss the issues between the two clubs.
Instead, O Leary would make out we were play acting and just insecure about them overtaking us.
2-0 down to Chelsea you would think a day couldn’t get worse?
Then Cech passes the ball to our former captain to give him an open goal to aim at.
I still think the Spaniard hesitates before chipping the ball in, realising what the moment symbolised.
The midfielder couldn’t have done more post-match to stress his love and appreciation for Arsenal.
While he won everything there was to win in club football, Anelka never became the striker many predicted when he was a teenager at Highbury.
That’s largely thanks to his brothers who advised him to move around the world to the highest bidder.
The Frenchman has since admitted regretting leaving Arsenal and wanted to return in 2006 before he ended up at Bolton.
Between three clubs he would find the net 7 times against us.
5- David Bentley
I can understand the buzz you must have scoring from 40 yards out, but is it me or did Bentley seem to enjoy scoring for Tottenham against us a bit too much?
Based on his post-match interview you would have though he scored the winner in a cup final, not opened the scoring in a 4-4 draw!
Maybe he felt bitter of not getting more chances at the Emirates after graduating from our academy, but there was no disgrace not to be able to break into the Invincibles midfield.
Sadly, the midfielder tried to make a whole reputation based on this one moment.
Given that he scored against us in a Europa League Final you would think I would rank him higher?
Yet, take the emotion out of it and some Gooners deserved Giroud to get the last laugh over us. Often mocked as a lampost (amongst other things), many in our fanbase didn’t seem to mind him moving to Chelsea because it cleared the path for Aubameyang’s arrival.
Yet in Baku while Auba and Laca didn’t have a kick, Giroud’s header broke the deadlock in an evening where he bullied us.
He’s a plan B we never replaced.
3- Van Persie
Perhaps no moment highlighted the gap that now existed between us and Man United more than when Van Persie moved to Old Trafford after writing a letter telling Gooners Arsenal lacked ambition.
I never was angry with his words with him being proven correct since.
Him scoring against us though was the equivalent of kicking us while we were down, rubbing our face in the mud.
The first time he scored against us, he seemed to not want to celebrate.
The two occasions that followed his stance had changed, no doubt after hearing certain chanting.
2- Ashley Cole
In January 2005 Ashley Cole was caught in a secret meeting with Jose Mourinho and Mr Kenyon who were representing Chelsea.
The left back would be fined weeks before our only ever Champions League Final.
To this day, the full back denies any wrongdoing and it’s often forgotten that he did extend his contract after this scandal.
He eventually got his transfer the following summer having (his words) ‘almost crashed my car‘ when he read Arsenal’s new deal was worth only 55-000 pound a week.
To be fair to the player he never did anything unprofessional against us, never rising to the taunts he was subjected too.
To be honest what hurt was how well he did at the Bridge, winning every club honour available, while we haven’t lifted the title since he left.
When our ex-striker scored against us at the Etihad, he responded by running the length of the pitch so he could slide in front of the Arsenal Fans.
This prompted a section of the away end to throw missiles at him including their chairs.
The forward went into detail about the nature of the abuse he was receiving, so gooners were not innocent.
The Togo captain has also stressed Arsenal misled the public about him forcing a move to Man City when in fact it was, they who wanted the transfer.
He also found the net in a NLD at the Emirates, but smartly let the celebrations come to him.
Will Vieira come back to haunt us on Monday?
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