The Reverse of the other Number 9 curse – Finally Arsenal have a 1(+)8

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.

Nacho at Old Trafford March 2015

Nacho at Old Trafford March 2015

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.


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4 Responses to The Reverse of the other Number 9 curse – Finally Arsenal have a 1(+)8

  1. Geekaybee November 17, 2015 at 8:06 am #

    Wenger never has been defensively aware. He seemed to buy any CB just because they were called centre backs. It needed Steve to come in and start putting serious input in sorting out back four problems. Ideally it should have been Tony but I could never think that him and Wenger would be able to gel. Now though we seem to have 90 percent cured the problem and the future seems secure.

  2. adey November 17, 2015 at 10:34 am #


    Such revisionist nonsense. Wenger has bought duds in central defence fact but to say that it required Steve to get it right is an attempt to make the facts suit the narrative. Wenger bought Kolo, Campbell, Kos, Vermaelen and the purcahse of Mets was agreed a year before his actual arrival. You can stretch the CB argument by throwing Sagna into the mix.

    Look around and you will see there are no guarantees with central defenders. They can look good excellent in a team and/or league and turn out to be totally pants in another team and/or league.

    Finally i will concede that some of the purchases were bad without possibility of redemption except in Wenger’s eyes. Silvestre springs to mind here but you cannot have the resources to shop in Lidl and think you might stumble on something world class. You get what you pay for or in this case given to you for free.

  3. Victor Thompson November 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    Steve, in the midst of all the dismay and foreboding we are seeing in the media due to the barbarism that took place in Paris, it was good to read a well constructed and slightly humourous article. It was nice to refresh our memories of these calamities.

    May I say on a different note that I admire The English and French FA`s and the teams for playing tonight and whatever the result, humanity is the winner.

    Well done!

    Victor Thompson

    • Wellmington November 18, 2015 at 3:27 am #

      Hi Victor

      Cheers mate, trying to be different & light hearted

      Good show by fans at Eng/Fra game last night,

      Stand United

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