Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been stripped of the captaincy at Arsenal, becoming the latest to fall victim to the demon armband.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the Mind Series match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Copyright: Mark Pain
Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the Mind Series match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Copyright: Mark Pain

It started to go wrong at Arsenal with the armband hen Patrick Vieira left for Italy in 2005.

First, it was given to Thierry Henry.

Sure, he is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer but by the time he got the captaincy he’d reached levels of arrogance that made him harder to like.

We also knew it was the club trying to convince him to stay, a ploy they would go on to deploy several more times.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - AUGUST 31: Thierry Henry assistant manager of Belgium looks on prior to the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Belgium and Gibraltar at Stade Maurice Dufrasne on August 31, 2017 in Liege, Belgium. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Alas, Henry left two seasons later anyway after captaining us to a Champions League final defeat.

For reasons we will never understand, William Gallas, already causing a sacrilege by wearing the number 10 shirt, showed us just what a bad captain really looked like.

He was at the club for three years before he left for Spurs on a free having been stripped of the captaincy after only one season and his one-man sit-down protest at Birmingham.

Jens Lehmann even admitted they couldn’t believe that Wenger had made him captain.

Nobody could.

Arsenal's French defender William Gallas during a training session at the club's complex in London Colney, on March 30, 2010. Arsenal are to play Barcelona in the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League Wednesday. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Arsenal’s French defender William Gallas during a training session at the club’s complex in London Colney, on March 30, 2010. Arsenal are to play Barcelona in the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League Wednesday. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsenal captain’s curse continues…

Cesc Fabregas was next up and it could be argued this was a decent call but, of course, he ended up leaving too but not before going on strike.

At least he managed three years with the armband, even if its powers did turn his legs to silly string the longer he wore it.

Arsenal's Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas celebrates scoring the second goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates stadium, north London on March 20, 2010. AFP PHOTO/GLYN KIRK
Arsenal’s Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas celebrates scoring the second goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates stadium, north London on March 20, 2010. AFP PHOTO/GLYN KIRK

The Arsenal captain’s armband was then handed to Robin van Persie, a player who had been cursed by injuries without the pressure of the captaincy.

Miraculously, it seemed to infuse him with some sort of heavenly power.

He finally found fitness and form before screwing the club, trying to turn the fans against it, and buggering off to Manchester United where he won them the league a year later.

van persie busacca
BARCELONA, SPAIN – MARCH 08: Robin van Persie of Arsenal reacts as referee Massimo Busacca shows his a red card during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Barcelona and Arsenal on March 8, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

Thomas Vermaelen has perhaps paid the heaviest price of all Arsenal captains.

He wore the Arsenal captain’s armband for two seasons before leaving for Barcelona.

A great player until he was handed that small bit of cloth, Vermaelen made only 60 appearances as captain.

He also played just 65 times, averaging 55 minutes per game, after he left the club for Spain, until he moved to Japan.

Belgium's defender Thomas Vermaelen gestures during a press conference at Le Haillan, south-western France, on June 14, 2016, during the Euro 2016 football tournament. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Belgium’s defender Thomas Vermaelen gestures during a press conference at Le Haillan, south-western France, on June 14, 2016, during the Euro 2016 football tournament. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

It then found its way to Mikel Arteta, who was a superb choice in theory but, again, showed himself to be more of a non-playing captain.

He held the position for two seasons before he was forced to retire because of his injury problems.

Arteta played just 416 minutes in his final season as Arsenal captain.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Captain Mikel Arteta of Arsenal lifts the trophy after their 1-0 win in the FA Community Shield match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on August 2, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 02: Captain Mikel Arteta of Arsenal lifts the trophy after their 1-0 win in the FA Community Shield match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on August 2, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Laurent Koscielny was certainly a choice all Arsenal fans could get behind and the Frenchman really looked like he had found a way to end the curse.

Of course, as we now know, he hadn’t.

He had the armband for three years and, in that time, suffered thigh problems and a facial smash plus his Achilles exploded causing him to miss France winning the World Cup.

Then, he went on strike to force an exit from the club.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal celebrates his team's victory after the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on January 19, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 19: Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal celebrates his team’s victory after the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on January 19, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

If Unai Emery thought he could side-step the problem by naming five captains when he first arrived then he was wrong.

He just made things worse.

By the end of the summer, only Xhaka and Mesut Ozil remained from the five he named at the start of his first season in charge.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal leaves the pitch after being substituted off during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on October 27, 2019, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 27: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal leaves the pitch after being substituted off during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on October 27, 2019, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

And we all know what happened with Granit Xhaka

Of course, despite all this, there is no such thing as a ‘curse’ even if it seems like there is.

The Arsenal captaincy is a microcosm of the club as a whole.

With three captains going on strike in the last 14 years and two already stripped of the honour, before the announcement about Auba, asking the forward to turn it around given the reputation he had when we signed him was always going to be a massive ask.