The night of the 20th of March was a watershed moment in European football, as it became clear for all to see that Xavi has managed to return Barcelona to the form that once saw them dominate the game for years under Pep Guardiola. The Catalans, of course, hammered run away La Liga leaders Real Madrid by a score of 4-0.
This result defied all the betting tipsters and media pundit predictions, which had foreseen a Real Madrid victory, despite the team’s talismanic striker, Karim Benzema, being absent through injury. What particularly had Arsenal fans sit up and take notice was the electric performance of one-time Emirates hero Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored a brace and created goals for his teammates. The Gabon international’s sudden uptick in form is a shocker for the Gunners fans, who for long periods towards the end of his tenure in North London, wondered if he would ever be the same player they remembered tearing Premier League teams apart on a weekly basis. Both Barcelona and Arsenal look like being good candidates for fans to back with free bets to reach the Champions League – a likelihood that prior to Christmas seemed doubtful. With Aubameyang’s rejuvenation in full flow, it is time to look at other players, who once they left Arsenal had a bump in their fortunes, and delivered for those who’d wagered on them to succeed.
Sometimes it can be tough to know when to hold onto a legendary player and when to let them go, with the odd one always likely to come back and haunt their old club
For much of his career this French striker was seen as a cut below his fellow French hitmen, such as Karim Benzema, Antoine Griezmann, and Kylian Mbappé. However, no one can deny that the big man has scored goals wherever he has played, and often in some of Europe’s biggest competitions.
Since leaving the Gunners he has enjoyed a fruitful few years with Chelsea and is now hoping to power AC Milan’s Serie A title charge. At the time of writing, he has a not-too-shabby record of 11 goals from 29 appearances in all competitions, meaning that at the ripe old age of 35 he continues to be a major problem for any defence he comes up against.
Some players just do not agree with the cut and thrust of English football, and that seemed to be the case with former Arsenal player Serge Gnabry, who having been sent out on loan to West Brom was ridiculed in some quarters for his sub-par performances.
He then took it upon himself to move to the German Bundesliga, where Bayern Munich quickly recognised his abilities while he was strutting his stuff for Werder Bremen. The rest is history, with Gnabry helping Bayern dominate the German topflight. Aged 26, he is now one of the most sought-after talents in world football. Who knows, he might fancy coming back to North London to test his mettle in the near future.
Arsenal are typically a team who excel at bringing through great young talent, but there are frustrations among the fanbase that sometimes English talent has not been allowed to shine
It’s said that top English talent is too often side-lined by foreign managers, who prefer to trust in charges who hail from places such as France or Spain, and it was that attitude that saw the eminently talented Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain leave the Emirates.
To be fair, he remains something of a bit part player for Liverpool, but that has not stopped him pitching in with crucial goals and assists that have led to their Premier League and Champions League title wins.
A goalkeeper’s confidence and reputation can be dashed in a matter of seconds, and that was the fate that befell Szczesny at Arsenal, as costly mistakes tarnished an otherwise promising career.
Like Gnabry, it was a move abroad that breathed new life into his career, as he rose in stature to replace the great Gianluigi Buffon at Juventus. Not bad for a lad who was once loaned out to Brentford.