Recently I composed a piece regarding the ongoing curse of the number 9 and Arsenal’s continuing failure to fill the void left by Alan Smith.
But there is another shirt that has suffered the same fate over the past few years, but it looks like that the curse on the 1(+)8 shirt may have finally lifted.
Since squad numbers were allocated in ’93, a number of incumbents have graced the shirt.
The first 3 players to take to the field as the number 18 were Hillier, Morrow & Grimandi, not world beaters but steady squad players who upset no one.
Then in 2002 it all started to go Pete Tong;
Pascal Cygan was brought in, heralded as Big Tone’s long term replacement and well that didn’t work out, did it.
Somehow Cygan lasted 4 seasons, was basically shite and somehow we convinced Villareal to pay £2m for him. Sadly by default he will be classed and Invincible.
In an attempt to rid the shirt of Pascal’s stench, it was laid to rest for 2 seasons and then in 2008, the poor wannabe number 9 took a massive turn for the worse by being adorned by Mikael Silvestre.
Well past his best, not wanted by the fans and generally pants. Oh and recently said that Arsene wasted money buying Alexis! Mmmmmm enough said really,
If it were at all possible, the number 18 then dropped stooped to the seventh level of hell and was handed to Sebastien Squillaci.
Arsene’s panic buy in the summer of 2010, somehow (OK due to Vermaelen’s injuries) played 32 times in the 10/11 season and was basically the route of all failings at the back. Luckily the BFG turned up in 2011 and Toto was out of the picture.
Then in 2014, following the arrival of Alexis, poor Monreal got reallocated to 18 (from 17) and it looked like curtains for the Spaniard. He lost his first team slot to Gibbs and his place in the Spanish squad to some guy with an unpronounceable name at Chelsea.
Then out of the blue, over Christmas 2014, the team started to find its Zen, Le Coq took over the DCM berth, Hector stared taking control on the right of defence and Nacho & Alexis formed one of the league’s best left sided partnerships.
And with Nacho being one of the first names on the team sheet and one of the top left backs in the country, it looks like the demons of the 1(+)8 shirt have finally been released.
With one curse banished, here’s to exorcising the real number 9 curse in January.