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From Wright to Reyes: Meet Arsene Wenger’s team from hell

| 23.03.2014

In football, as in life, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs and for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, success hasn’t come without a few mistakes along the way for the Emirates club.

The Gunners are the current 4/9 favourites to win the FA Cup with Ladbrokes while they also remain in the hunt for a first Premier League title in 10 years, with the bookmakers pricing the north London club at 12/1 to take back their crown.

But this season’s success, and the many years of enjoyment under Wenger wouldn’t have been possible without a misstep or two. Or maybe even 11.


Richard Wright – Signed from Ipswich Town in the summer of 2001 with a view to succeeding David Seaman as Gunners no.1, Wright played only 12 error-strewn games with his highlight being a comedy own goal in a 4-2 defeat to Charlton. Left for Everton a year later.

Mikael Silvestre – Selling Van Persie to Manchester United was once thing, but some Arsenal fans still haven’t forgiven Wenger for the purchase of the clapped-out Frenchman from their hated rivals. Responsible for damaging goals against Barcelona and old foes Tottenham during his time.

Sebastien Squillaci – The former Monaco man may have irked Gooners with his lacklustre, error-strewn displays that came despite being on a bumper contract but he did at least make one positive impact – his poor form prompted Wenger to splash out on Per Mertesacker. Cheers Seb!

Igor Stepanovs – Remains something of a footballing war criminal around north London for the part he played in Arsenal’s 6-1 mauling at the hands of Manchester United in the 2000/2001 Premier League season.  Managed just 17 games in four years with the club.

Nelson Vivas – Ultimately a stop-gap for Arsenal before Lauren arrived on the scene, the Argentine’s most memorable contribution was a missed penalty in a shoot-out with Middlesbrough in the 1999/2000 League Cup. Recently sacked from a managing job for punching a fan in the face.

Jose Antonio Reyes – Signed for £10.75m in 2004, Reyes may have been the one to put Wenger off big money purchases. Scored a double against Chelsea but fell victim to a radio call-in prank where he revealed his true desire to move to Real Madrid – left after a year and a half.

Amaury Bischoff – The man who would have been king of the Emirates, were it not for his seeming inability to complete 90 minutes, Bischoff was a bargain gamble for Wenger that failed to pay off, with injuries contributing to the midfielder’s record of one game and no goals for the Gunners.

Kaba Diawara – Another Wenger budget buy who would have been better left on the shelf, for a man with a reputation for goals at previous club Bordeaux, the Frenchman was woefully inept going forward and despite spells with three clubs in England managed just one goal. Against Rochdale.

Andrei Arshavin – Arrived in north London with a big reputation only to depart four years later with a bigger waistline, it’s fair to say that the Russian – who harboured dreams of becoming a fashion designer – didn’t have his heart in it. At least there were those four goals against Liverpool.

Francis Jeffers – Signed in the wake of the Gunners’ painful 2-1 loss to Liverpool in the FA Cup for £8m the forward represented a bargain buy for the club. If you consider a return of £1m per goal scored for the side a bargain – which only Roman Abramovich would.

Park Chu-Young – Still on the books at Arsenal but unlikely to go down as anything other than a flop, big things were expected of the South Korean, who turned down a move to Lille in favour of Arsenal. Still, one man’s loss turned out to be Salomon Kalou’s gain




Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.