Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal - How it changed Arsenal football club forever
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Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal - How it changed Arsenal football club forever

04/03/24 05:21

On the 28th of August 2011, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal were embarrassed at Old Trafford as Manchester United won 8-2 thanks to goals from Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young, Park Ji-Sung, Nani and a hat trick from Wayne Rooney. In the 12 and a half years since that match so much in Football has changed, both managers on the day have since retired and the image of both clubs has been tainted over the years. However, the recent resurgence of Arsenal football club all traces back to that fateful day in Manchester.

Everyone associated with Arsenal was distraught after the match. One player was feeling especially hard done by that day. Robin Van Persie scored and also missed a penalty in the match and couldn’t help but feel that the rest of his team had let the forwards down. This performance was probably the first domino to fall in the Dutchman's head when it came to deciding to leave the Emirates and sign for Alex Ferguson’s United a year later. He was Arsenal’s captain during the 2011-12 season but little did he know, by losing that match, Arsenal would sign two future captains of the Gunners.

With only a few days left in the transfer window after the match, Wenger pulled out his wallet and looked to bring in players late in the window as Arsenal clearly lacked numbers. On deadline day of the 2011 summer transfer window Arsenal made four signings; Andre Santos, Yossi Benayoun, Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker. Two of these names stand out from the others and those are Arteta and Mertesacker. Arteta had been a top performer in the Premier League for Everton under Moyes. However, when Arsenal came calling he was desperate for the chance to play for a Footballing giant, even going as far as taking a pay-cut in the move. Mertesacker was already a German international and was well regarded in the Bundesliga before making the move to North London. Little did the two know that they would lead Arsenal to two trophies together as players, ending the club’s nine-year trophy drought, and one as part of the management team.

Mikel Arteta obviously went on to leave Arsenal for the chance to be Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City and later return to become the manager of Arsenal that we know him as today. Mertesacker made the immediate move after retirement to Arsenal’s backroom staff as he took on the role of Academy manager, responsible for the progression of players like Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and many players to come.

But is it fair to say that losing 8-2 all those years ago is what led to the competitive Arsenal we see today? To be sure of that we should ask the question, what would have happened if Arsenal won that day? The likelihood is Arsenal wouldn’t have made as many moves late on in the window and potentially wouldn’t have signed Arteta or Mertesacker. The level of embarrassment felt that day by every Arsenal fan may have been the extra motivation needed for Arsenal to bring in late reinforcements to their squad. We will never know for sure if it’s completely true or not, but I will say this...

Thank you Manchester United for giving Arsenal Mikel Arteta.

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