What happened to the Arsenal side that produced ‘perfect football’ against Slavia Prague


Arsenal’s quest for European glory will see them come up against Slavia Prague in the Europa League quarter finals.

The two clubs don’t have much of a storied history with one another having only previously met in the Champions League in the 2007/08 season.

Their first meeting at the Emirates however, provided one of the all-time most memorable European nights for the Gunners as Arsene Wenger’s side ran out 7-0 winners against their hapless opponents.

The emphatic scoreline matched Arsenal’s biggest ever European win on a night where everything fell into place.

Cesc Fabregas opened the scoring before Alexander Hleb doubled the advantage and Theo Walcott added a third before the break.

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Hleb and Walcott made it five in the second half before a sensational flowing move fell to feet of Fabregas to make it six, prompting the ITV commentator to describe Arsenal as playing ‘perfect football’.

Substitute Nicklas Bendtner added a seventh in stoppage time to complete the rout.

The fortunes of the two clubs have changed since that October evening in 2007 and here at football.london we take a look at what happened to the Arsenal team that put in such a glittering display.

Manuel Almunia

The Spanish goalkeeper had won the battle for the number one spot with Jens Lehmann that year but inconsistent performances over the next two seasons saw him lose his place to Wojciech Szczesny in 2010 before eventually leaving the club in 2012.

Following two years at Watford, Almunia was forced to retire in 2014 following the discovery of a rare heart condition.

Bacary Sagna

The Frenchman remained at the club as first choice right back until 2014 when he moved to Manchester City on a free transfer.

After three years at the Etihad, Sagna went on to have spells at Italian side Benevento and Montreal Impact of the MLS.

Kolo Toure

The popular centre back also joined City years earlier in 2009 following a reported falling out with William Gallas and joined an exclusive club of players to win the Premier League with two different clubs following to Manchester side’s dramatic 2012 success.

Toure almost won it for a third time after joining Liverpool in 2013 but missed out to his former club. He was able to add a Scottish title to his CV following a season at Celtic in 2016.

Currently on the coaching staff at Leicester City.

A young Kolo Toure playing for Arsenal
Kolo Toure playing for Arsenal

William Gallas

The tempestuous former Chelsea man’s famous meltdown later in the season has been labelled by many as the catalyst for Arsenal’s failure to win the Premier League.

Despite being stripped of the captaincy in 2008, Gallas remained at the club til 2010 when he crossed the north London divide to pitch up at Tottenham for three years, before spending a season with Perth Glory in Australia before retiring.

Gael Clichy

Another player who ended up at City, Clichy played a part in two title wins in his six years at the club between 2011 and 2017 before joining Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir for three seasons and adding the Turkish Super Lig to his collection.

Currently playing for Swiss side Servette.

Emmanuel Eboue

Joined Galatasaray after leaving Arsenal in 2011 and spent four relatively successful years in Turkey before his eventual release in 2015.

Sadly, Eboue unfortunately fell on hard times and confessed to being homeless in 2017.

Thankfully, the former right-back appears to be back on his feet and has opened his own football academy back in the Ivory Coast.

Cesc Fabregas

Eventually left Arsenal for boyhood club Barcelona in 2011 before returning to London in 2014.

Much to the dismay of Gunners fans however, the Spanish midfielder joined rivals Chelsea where he would win two league titles before moving to Monaco in 2019.

Mathieu Flamini

Left Arsenal for Milan in 2008 but was back at the Emirates in 2013 before spells at Crystal Palace and Getafe.

Following retirement, Flamini became an environmental entrepreneur as co-owner of GF Biochemicals sparking rumours that he was worth an incredible $30bn – a claim he denied.

Alexander Hleb during his Arsenal days.

Alexander Hleb

The star of the show against Slavia, Hleb moved to Barcelona at the end of the season but after failing to settle at the Nou Camp, had something of a nomadic career that took him to former clubs Stuttgart and BATE Borisov, as well as Birmingham City, Wolfsburg, and a host of clubs in Russia and Turkey.

Hleb later admitted he regretted leaving the Emirates.

Emmanuel Adebayor

Famously joined Manchester City in 2009 and permanently burned his bridges with Arsenal supporters following a controversial goal celebration against the Gunners at the Etihad.

After a loan spell with Real Madrid, the Togolese striker further infuriated Arsenal fans by joining Tottenham in 2011. After a brief spell at Crystal Palace in 2016, Adebayor moved to Istanbul Basaksehir and also played for Kayserispor in Turkey before moving to Olimpia in Paraguay.

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Theo Walcott

After twelve years, Walcott finally left the Arsenal for Everton in 2018 before a return to his first club Southampton on loan this season.

Came back to haunt Arsenal with a goal at the Emirates for the Saints in a 1-1 draw.

Subs:

Lehmann, Diaby, Diarra, Eduardo, Bendtner, Gilberto, Rosicky





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