Arsenal’s first XI of the decade – where are they now?

Posted by

The 10s are nearly at an end for Arsenal, and it’s not always been a decade to remember for the Gunners.

Still, if fans think things are bad now, it’s worth remembering there were arguably some lower points for this club in the not-too-distant past.

MORE: Arsenal legend predicts Arteta to take Gunners to a top four finish this season

Going all the way back to Arsenal’s first game of this decade, the line up put out by Arsene Wenger contained a number of flops who stayed at the Emirates Stadium for far too long.

Here’s a look at the Arsenal team that played West Ham in the FA Cup on the 3rd of January 2010, and what some of them are up to now, as the north Londoners got this decade off to a winning start at Upton Park…

GK: Lukasz Fabianski

It took some time for Lukasz Fabianski to get going at Arsenal, but by the time he actually looked at all confident and reliable, he left the club in 2014.

Since then, the Polish shot-stopper had a good spell at Swansea City, and is now continuing to do the business for West Ham.

CB: Thomas Vermaelen

2009/10 was Thomas Vermaelen’s first season at Arsenal, and he arguably never had a better one despite going on to make 150 appearances for the Gunners and even become club captain.

The Belgian had a nightmare with injuries, however, though this somehow didn’t stop him moving to Barcelona in 2014. Remarkably, he was actually there as recently as last season, making nine appearances in total.

He’s now, however, playing his football with Japanese club Vissel Kobe, which is more along the lines of what you’d expect.

CB: William Gallas

What a strange career William Gallas had in the end. A star performer for Chelsea, a decent player for Arsenal but ultimately the wrong choice for club captain before having the armband removed, and then angering Gooners even further by moving on a free transfer to Tottenham.

The Frenchman is now retired as of 2014 and now seems to just do occasional punditry work in his native France.

RB: Bacary Sagna

One of the better players in this 2009/10 Arsenal squad, Bacary Sagna is now plying his trade with MLS club Montreal Impact, where he is managed by none other than Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. Surreal.

LB: Mikael Silvestre

See, Arsenal fans? You may complain about someone like Sead Kolasinac, but as you ushered in this decade, Mikael Silvestre was genuinely playing games at left-back.

The Frenchman may have been a solid performer for Manchester United but proved a total flop at Arsenal and didn’t last too long. He later played for Werder Bremen, Portland Timbers and Chennaiyin before retiring in 2014. He then had a brief stint as director of football at Rennes but left the role in 2016 and not much has been heard of him since.

CM: Alex Song

Alex Song in action for Arsenal

Oh what could’ve been. Alex Song was just starting to get into his stride with Arsenal in 2009/10 and was a genuinely top class all-rounder in midfield for the following two seasons.

Still, he perhaps got a little ahead of himself by accepting a move to Barcelona in 2012, where he was never likely to see much playing time with the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets all ahead of him in the pecking order.

This rather deflated Song’s career, with the Cameroonian going on to have an underwhelming loan spell at West Ham before moving to Rubin Kazan and now to Swiss minnows Sion.

CM: Aaron Ramsey

One of Arsenal’s scorers in this win over West Ham, Aaron Ramsey was just starting to show what an exciting young talent he was before getting badly injured in that incident with Ryan Shawcross later in the season.

Still, that didn’t stop the Welshman from having a fine career in north London, with two memorable winning goals in two FA Cup finals and numerous other moments of quality.

Sadly, Arsenal for some reason allowed Ramsey to run down his contract last season, leading to a free transfer to Juventus this summer.

RM: Jack Wilshere

Not yet a regular for Arsenal at this point, Jack Wilshere got himself a rare start in this FA Cup tie in an unfamiliar wide role, and it’s fair to say he didn’t do much to make an impression, even if a few months later he became more of a regular starter and nailed down central midfield as his favoured position.

Wilshere now plays for Arsenal’s opponents that day, having joined West Ham last year, though injuries have by now totally derailed his career and his impact for the east Londoners has been minimal.

LM: Fran Merida

This guy was meant to be the next Cesc Fabregas after being plucked from Barcelona’s youth team in similar style, but it never worked out for the Spanish playmaker.

Now 29 years of age, Merida is playing for La Liga club Osasuna after a rather nomadic career representing clubs like Atletico Madrid, Hercules, Huesca and Atletico Paranaense.

CF: Eduardo

A player whose promising Arsenal career was spoiled by another nasty injury, Eduardo never really fulfilled his enormous potential, though by the 2009/10 season he was back playing again and even scored the winner in this game.

Since leaving Arsenal, the Brazilian-born Croatian had two spells at Shakhtar Donetsk, plus stints with Flamengo and Atletico Paranaense, but is currently without a club having most recently played for Polish club Legia Warsaw.

Eduardo in action for Arsenal

CF: Carlos Vela

A real wonderkid during his time at Arsenal, it’s fair to say Carlos Vela has had a pretty strange career. The Mexican forward showed moments of brilliance during his time with the Gunners but never established himself as a regular before leaving for Real Sociedad.

In his time in La Liga, Vela started to show real quality again, though things tailed off for him once again as he ended up dropping down a level to join Los Angeles FC in the MLS.

Still, Vela has relished his time in the US, becoming a star performer with 53 goals in just 68 games for the club. It’s hard not to think he could’ve achieved so much more, but at least he’s now excelling at a level that seems to suit him.

More Stories Aaron Ramsey Alex Song Bacary Sagna Carlos Vela eduardo Fran Merida Jack Wilshere Lukasz Fabianski Mikael Silvestre Thomas Vermaelen William Gallas