Alexandre Lacazette’s exit from Arsenal after just four months as club captain may seem like a strange tenure, but there have been plenty of outsiders at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners have confirmed the Frenchman is leaving the club as a free agent after five years, ending a short but sweet spell in the armband.
The striker was confirmed as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s replacement in the role in February, and some have questioned that wisdom with his contract expiring – but when it comes to Arsenal captains, no rules apply. ‘applied.
Arteta called Aubameyang to the ax after his second disciplinary offense of the year, ending his two-year tenure as Gunners captain without ceremony.
A late return from a trip home followed an earlier incident ahead of the North London derby, leaving Arteta with a difficult decision to make.
The Spaniard grabbed the headlines, but as a former Arsenal captain himself, Arteta knows what a curse the armband can be.
Club greats such as Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry ruled the club back and forth through the millennium in legendary fashion but, following Henry’s departure to Barcelona in 2007, the armband found no biceps worthy of its honor ever since.
William Gallas took over from Henry but only lasted a year after a dodgy interview in which he criticized team-mates and sulked on the pitch after a game against Birmingham.
He was dropped by manager Arsene Wenger and then replaced as leader of his team, with Gallas eventually joining rivals Tottenham.
Cesc Fabregas was the natural replacement and the one everyone wanted after coming out of the club’s academy as a world-class talent.
But, despite two years as a benchmark at the helm, things came to a sad end in 2011.
He forced a move to boyhood club Barcelona after painful encouragement from his Spanish teammates, and further tainted his reputation as a Gunners legend by later joining rivals Chelsea.
The leadership role was then handed to Robin van Persie, who led the club’s trophy charge with unstoppable goals, but things turned out to be even worse than with his predecessor.
Van Persie gave his best as captain with 37 goals in 48 games, but with the club trailing in all competitions, the Dutchman forced a move to Manchester United, which he propelled to Premier glory League in his first season at Old Trafford.
As van Persie lifted his first league title, Thomas Vermaelen took on his role in the dressing room between 2012 and 2014.
But he quickly became another star tempted by Barcelona and later moved to Spain and won the Champions League in 2015.
Then came Arteta’s two-year stint, followed by Per Mertesacker’s from 2016 to 2018, but both spent more time without the armband than with it, as the former only started 8% of games in championship, and the second only 6%. , according to WhoScored.
Slightly less injury-prone, Laurent Koscielny was then given the gig but became another player to work his way out of the club when he ended a nine-year spell with Arsenal by joining Bordeaux after refusing to participate in the upcoming pre-season. of the 2019/20 campaign.
A brief stint for Granit Xhaka under Unai Emery ended in embarrassment when he hit back at Arsenal fans who mocked him as he was substituted against Crystal Palace in 2019, removing his shirt and abusing the fans.
Emery then named Aubameyang as a natural successor as he led the team with his goals much like Van Persie. He also got off to a good start in life under Arteta, almost single-handedly winning his new boss an FA Cup and a Community Shield.
But what followed was a miserable descent for a man who has been one of Europe’s top marksmen for the past decade, with his chances of regaining that status at Barcelona in serious doubt.
For Arteta though, things look just as complicated, with no standout candidate in line to replace Lacazette, the curse of the Emirates armband may prove impossible to avoid.
List of Arsenal captains during the Emirates era
2005/2007: Thierry Henry
2007/2008: Guillaume Gallas
2008/2011: Cesc Fabregas
2011/2012: Robin van Persie
2012/2014: Thomas Vermaelen
2014/2016: Mikel Arteta
2016/2018: By Mertesacker
2018/2019: Laurent Koscielny
2019: Granite Xhaka
2019/2021: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
2022: Alexandre Lacazette
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