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Five players who came back and haunted Arsenal

| 05.02.2016

Arsenal fans always seem to get a little uneasy when they come up against former players, and that looks set to be the case once again this weekend.

The Gunners head to Bournemouth on Sunday having failed to win any of their last four matches, while the Cherries are enjoying a tidy run of their own.

What’s more, at the forefront of that spell for Eddie Howe’s men has been January signing Benik Afobe, who spent five years with Arsene Wenger’s team without making a first-team appearance.

The striker left north London to join Wolves 12 months ago, and a stunning turn in front of goal quickly saw Bournemouth come calling a year later.

The striker has fired a warning shot to his old club ahead of the match, saying: “I’ve got a job to do and there will be no friends out there.”

Afobe wouldn’t be the first ex-Gunner to come back and haunt Wenger and co, here are a few others…

Emmanuel Adebayor

The Togo striker hit 62 goals in 142 appearances under Wenger, before leaving for Man City in a £25m deal in 2009.

Adebayor has only scored 69 goals since leaving the Gunners – two in the north London derby for Spurs – but it’s another in particular that he’s infamously known for.

After netting for City in his first match versus his old club, the forward ran the entire pitch to celebrate in-front of the Arsenal supporters.

He also kicked/stamped on the next man on this list and received a three-match ban…

Robin van Persie

RvP left north London having scored 132 times in 277 games, including a stunning 37 in just 48 appearances during his final season with Arsenal.

Leaving for Man United in 2012, it took just three minutes for the Dutchman to open his account in his first reunion with Wenger’s side.

Another goal – the only one – in the reverse meeting of the season, plus a repeat performance a year later ensured Van Persie scored in each of his first three games against Arsenal, costing his old side up to eight points.

Andy Cole

The Londoner made just two appearances for Arsenal in the late 1980s and early 90s, before heading elsewhere.

Cole would face Arsenal on a regular basis during his career, and got off the blocks with a goal against the Gunners for Newcastle in 1994.

And though he only netted twice more against his first employers while at Manchester United, one was a crucial equaliser at Old Trafford in the 1998/99 Premier League title fight. His goal that day could be pointed to costing Arsenal the title.


Croatian striker Eduardo saw his Arsenal career curtailed by an horrific leg break against Birmingham City, and he left for Shakhtar Donetsk after three seasons in the capital.

Eduardo’s first year in Ukraine saw his new side drawn against the Gunners in the Champions League – obviously – and he grabbed a consolation goal at the Emirates in a 5-1 loss.

However when the sides met on the continent two weeks later, Eduardo netted what proved to be the match-winner and indeed the group-winner in a 2-1 victory.

The result consigned Arsenal to second place in the group and a date with Barcelona instead of Roma. They lost and Shakhtar hammered the Italian side 6-2.

Nicolas Anelka

If you play for five Premier League clubs other than Arsenal, the chances are you’ll score against them.

Anelka managed that seven times, and though his three strikes with Man City came as consolations, his brace for Bolton at home to the Gunners in the 2006/07 season – the first an absolute beauty – helped to further derail the Londoners title hopes.

He netted the opener in the reverse tie too at the Emirates, but Arsenal fought back that day in a 2-1 win.

The Frenchman also netted one against them for Chelsea too, in a 4-1 win at Arsenal in May 2009.

All in all, this fivesome scored 18 times after being sold or released by Arsenal, playing a role in costing the Gunners a huge amount of points over the years.

Will Afobe see history repeat itself once more this weekend?

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.