Vieira’s Return – 10 ex-Arsenal stars that came back to haunt us

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?


10- Eduardo

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.


7- Fabregas

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.


6- Anelka

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.


4- Giroud

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.


1- Adebayor

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?

Be Kind in The Comments

Dan Smith


  1. I hope Viera doesn’t but I’m afraid that it will be written in the stars.

    Another big game for Arteta. At the end of the day Arteta has until the end of the season and then we should judge him. If he loses the palace games and others. They will come back to bite him at the end of the season

  2. The only thing I’m afraid of is that those wrestlers might break the legs of our players and go unpunished properly. Apart from that, I’m quite confident Arteta (an ex-gunner himself) will be the one hurt Viera badly. That’s how I feel after seing encouraging progress from our last few games

  3. I think the Robin Van Persie’s belief, denigrating Arsenal’s lack of ambition says it all. Whether we look at our absent owners, naïve rookie manager, or Vinai, or the Board, there seems to be a lack of any inspired ambition, coherence and a lack of any true vision. The club is in a self made hole. Although life is cyclical, there has never been a reason we should wallow in the mediocrity that we do now. Promises for future glory are a cover up, that are a smokescreen to abdicate guilt and responsibility from any accusations against the Kroenke’s, Edu, Arteta, Vinai, and the impotent board’s present incompetence. The Kroenke’s went cheap on a manager and now even with the latest cash injection we do not look inspired at all. Just 45 minutes of good creative football against the Spuds in over a couple of seasons, shows the real truth.

  4. My response to this interesting article disappeared. Seems there is a Distiopian, Trumpian, force at work here.

    1. Hmm yes it was in the bin…. with this message….
      21 mins ago – Comment was caught by wp_blacklist_check.
      21 mins ago – Akismet

  5. Vieira will try his best to impress Kroenke, since he knows Arteta is on thin ice. Hopefully our supporters will be as excited as they did in NLD, to boost our players’ efforts

    1. I’d have thought Vieria was on thin ice and far more so than Arteta is, at least if PALACE FANS ARE AS PREMATURE AS YOU CLEARLY ARE , AS THEY HAVE SEVERAL POINTS FEWER THAN US !

      A manager on so called “thin ice”(which is plainly nonsense anyway), would NEVER have been allowed to spend around £150mill in the last few weeks . Would he!

      Not much thought in your post therefore, GAI!

      1. I believe Crystal Palace’s target this season is lower than Arsenal’s and Vieira just joined them

        On the other hand, Arteta has spent 150+ M and been managing Arsenal for two seasons

        Lampard also spent more than 200 M last summer and got sacked after a few months, so it could also happen to Arteta

        1. Lampard waas employed by the regular sacking owner, AKA Abramovitch!
          Kroenke is not known as a sacking manager. That ought to be plain to all.

  6. I believe the Palace game will be a physical affair and our players are not up for that.
    We get a draw with no injury issues , then it will be fine , better than 3 points with broken legs

  7. The article is nonsense, as the manager does not actually play, whilst all those listed above DID play against us, save only O’Leary and he retired from playing MANY years earlier too, as has Vieira too.

    Ex-players coming back to haunt us are one thing, but managers are quite differerent and irrelevant.

    A tenuous and ineffective link to put it mildly, I suggest!

  8. any “haunt” list that doesn’t put RVP squarely on top fails to fully comprehend the magnitude of his move to Manchester

    even to this day some still fail to grasp the import of his departing message and instead focus too much on the fact that he “chose” to ply his trade with one of our most-hated rivals

    for those with even an ounce of common sense and perspective, especially considering what has transpired since his departure, his words were a real wake up call about what was really going on behind the scenes in those formative years of the great stadium ruse

    unfortunately, at that time, most Arsene first and Arsenal second fans not only totally ignored his warnings, they went out of their way to constantly slag our former talisman, thereby ensuring that the tenor of his message was largely lost

    of course, it’s not totally unreasonable that some might find it difficult to side with a former player over their beloved club, but the fact that some still point the finger of blame at RVP, speaks volumes about the systemic “blinders” problems that both existed and continues to exist within our fanbase

    to further bolster the above claim, just think about the overwhelming negativity RVP faced when he spoke about the fact that Gazidis went out of his way to prove that we were flush with cash, which clearly suggests that it wasn’t Kroenke who was the stumbling block, when it came to our spending practices, but Wenger himself

    1. TRVL, I will firmly agree with ONE part of your post. “Most Arsene first and Arsenal second fans.”

      I could not have put it better myself.

      My own view, which I have consistently held ever since first attending in 1958, is that the club ALWAYS COMES FIRST and in front of any single employee, no matter how great or how useless.

    2. Let’s be honest TRVL your posts are way above any normal posters pay grade as I’ve said before .
      Your 4th paragraph speaks volume and one that I understand ,I just wish I could put that pillow over your head buddy .

      1. Cheers DK…talk about your inside jokes that might not translate too favourably for those on the outside looking in

    3. There are some of us who love both the great Arsene and RVP, one of the best strikers I have seen when fit and a joy to watch. Personally I think RVP move was justified but still at the same time I think when he left he took our only slim chance of having a shot at the title.

  9. Arsenal fans are always quick to condemn a player, no matter how we desire him and herald his coming to us from other clubs. After a little mistake, we start tagging them as not good and wish they were sold immediately. It’s high time fans became more patient to our players because when they leave, many of them would eventually become first team players and oftentimes in bigger clubs and eventually win silverware that we are struggling to win. Emery, Van Persie, Giroud, Scecezny, e.t.c.

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