It’s fair to say Serge Gnabry is doing alright these days, but back in 2012, he was just another young Arsenal prospect waiting for his breakthrough.
The German made his debut for Arsenal in a League Cup game against Coventry. A team consisting of some well-known names and some, er, not so well-known ones, stormed to a 6-1 victory, with Gnabry joining the fun with 20 minutes left.
We’ve gone through the side, and it’s fair to say some have enjoyed a better seven years since than others.
Back in 2012, Martinez was a promising 21-year-old goalkeeper waiting to be given a chance in the first team. Seven years on, the Argentine is a promising 27-year-old goalkeeper waiting to be given a chance in the first team.
That’s not to say that he hasn’t done anything of note since. After this game, his debut, he went on to make his Premier League bow and get some Champions League games under his belt, including a Man of the Match performance against Borussia Dortmund in 2014.
Most of his time has been spent out on loan though, hugely impressing in his most recent spell away from London, becoming a key player for Reading in the second half of the 2018-19 season.
These performances led to Unai Emery placing him above David Ospina in the pecking order for the current season, with the Colombian subsequently leaving the club to join Napoli on a permanent deal. Whether Martinez can displace Bernd Leno is another matter.
Kudos if you remember this guy. Arsenal snapped up Angha when he was just 16 and awarded him his debut in this match.
However, Monsieur Wenger clearly wasn’t too impressed with the Swiss youngster, as just seven months later he was allowed to leave on a free transfer to Germany, signing for Bundesliga side FC Nurnberg, where he stayed for a season before moving to 1860 Munich.
These days he’s plying his trade for Eredivisie side Fortuna Sittard, who he joined this season after playing in his home country for five years.
Another Swiss player, Djourou spent 10 years at Arsenal, becoming a well-known figure among fans, often for the wrong reasons.
In his decade at the club, Djourou was generally backup for the club’s first-choice defenders such as Kolo Toure and William Gallas but did get the odd start. These include the 8-2 defeat to Manchester United, the 4-4 draw to Newcastle and 2-1 League Cup final loss to Birmingham. We’re sure they weren’t all his fault, but still, doesn’t look great, does it?
Still, he has to go down as a cult hero at the club for the below piece of extraordinary skill alone.
This match would prove to be a memorable one for the man Arsenal signed from La Masia, as Miquel scored his first-ever career goal.
Sadly, the Spaniard went on to be one of the less successful signings Arsenal made from Barcelona, making just five league appearances before leaving for Norwich in 2014.
Since then, he’s enjoyed a solid career back in the second division of his home country, playing for the likes of Lugo, Malaga and Girona, where he’s currently out on loan from Getafe.
The Brazilian full-back spent two years in north London, struggling to ever really win over the fans.
Despite scoring a handful of goals, including crucial ones against Chelsea and West Brom, Santos often frustrated fans with his defensive errors and endured their wrath when he swapped shirts with Robin van Persie following a poor first-half showing against Manchester United.
He’s had spells in India, Switzerland and Turkey since leaving Arsenal in 2013, and is currently playing in his home country for Figueirense.
Yennaris, a product of Arsenal’s youth academy, only ever made one league appearance for the Gunners before leaving for Brentford in 2014.
He’d go on to become a bit of legend for the Championship side, making a whopping 157 appearances in the five years he spent at the club.
Since leaving Brentford, his career has taken a rather unexpected turn, to say the least. Yennaris signed for Chinese club Beijing Guoan earlier this year and has now become a naturalised citizen, becoming the first of the sort to be called up by the Chinese national team. He’s also changed his name to Li Ke. No, really.
Francis Coquelin (Emmanuel Frimpong, 72)
The Frenchman looked set to be another forgotten man at Arsenal when he was sent out on loan to Charlton in 2014.
However, an injury crisis led to Coquelin being recalled in December, and he took his chance with both hands, hugely impressing alongside Santi Cazorla in defensive midfield for the remainder of the season.
Despite some injury problems, he’d remain in the first team picture until 2018 when Valencia signed him for a fee of €14million. Since then, he’s become a stalwart of the Spanish side.
Frimpong, on the other hand, has been *slightly* less successful. After spending time in Russia, Sweden and Cyprus, he retired in 2017 due to injury problems, but his personal antics mean he’ll certainly be remembered at the Emirates.
Walcott needs no introduction. The winger spent 12 years at Arsenal, scoring over 100 goals and putting in some stunning performances, but he never quite fulfilled his huge potential, due to a combination of injuries and sheer inconsistency.
He’s since moved to Everton, where he continues to never quite fulfil his potential. The only difference now is, he’s 30.
A cult here if ever there was one. Arsenal broke their transfer record when they signed Arshavin for £15million following his stunning performances at Euro 2008.
The Russian got off to a strong start at the club, unforgettably scoring four goals against Liverpool in an incredible performance. By 2012 though, Arshavin had fallen out of favour and was loaned out to Zenit before joining permanently.
He then spent the rest of his career in Russia and Kazakhstan before retiring in 2018.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Serge Gnabry, 72)
After signing from Southampton for a fee of around £15million, Oxlade-Chamberlain made his Arsenal debut off the bench in the 8-2 defeat to Manchester United and scored his first goal for the club just a month later.
He’d go on to become a regular for the side but struggled to ever nail down a starting spot, despite a number of impressive performances, such as against AC Milan in the Champions League.
The England international eventually ran out of patience and moved to Liverpool in 2017 for £35million with the promise of first-team football. He initially got his wish, becoming a key part of the midfield, but a knee injury in April 2018 ruled him out for over a year, and he’s now beginning to make his return to the team.
Gnabry, on the other hand, has had no such issues, going from strength to strength at Bayern Munich these days, as shown by his four goals against Spurs in their recent Champions League clash.
You can take the boy out of Arsenal, but you can’t take Arsenal out of the boy.
North London is RED!!! pic.twitter.com/1Te5YjqpWo
— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) October 1, 2019
Olivier Giroud (Marouane Chamakh, 72)
Giroud was signed by Arsene Wenger in 2012 to fill the huge void left by Robin Van Persie. Despite never quite reaching the heights of the Dutchman, he enjoyed a successful spell at the club, scoring 105 goals.
When Arsenal’s squad became a little top-heavy, Giroud was allowed to leave in January 2018 and joined London rivals Chelsea, where he’s been ever since.
Chamakh didn’t quite reach the 100 mark in his time at the club, bagging himself a slightly less impressive 14 goals. He then left for Crystal Palace in 2013 before retiring at Cardiff three years later.