Martin Odegaard has been announced as the new Arsenal captain and looks like he could be the player to finally lift the curse.
After playing half the season without an official captain, and the ‘five captains’ nonsense under Unai Emery, Arsenal have finally handed the armband to a player who is likely to remain at the club and show it some respect.
🥁 Introducing our new captain…
𝗠𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻 𝗢𝗱𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗮𝗿𝗱! 😍
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 30, 2022
Although still only 23, Odegaard has been captain of Norway since he was just 22.
All 9 victims of Arsenal’s captains’ curse
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy at Arsenal just weeks before his contract was terminated as he became the latest to fall victim to the demon armband.
It started to go wrong at Arsenal with the armband when 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 has been 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.
Martin Odegaard, however, could be the very captain Arsenal need to herald in a new, more stable era.