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Remembering the Arsenal Champions League starting XI that should have ended football

Why did we keep going after this?

We’ve dragged this football lark out long enough.

Sure, there have been some enjoyable moments in the last six years (Milad Mohammadi’s forward roll throw-in at the World Cup) but we really should have closed the doors for good in 2012.

Arsene Wenger, legendary manager and accidental banter merchant, named a scarcely believable Arsenal starting XI.

Better yet, it was a Champions League fixture…

This should be hanging in the Tate Modern

This should be hanging in the Tate Modern

There’s a lot to unpack here but we’ll start by reminding you just how terrible Sebastien Squillaci was for the Gunners.

A key player for Lyon during their title gorge in the mid-noughties, he impressed for Sevilla before rocking up in North London with near-on 20 France caps to his name.

But he was proper merde.

Sacre bleu

Sacre bleu

Andre Santos is best remembered for asking Man United’s Robin van Persie to swap shirts at half-time.

He was also arrested after being caught driving 130mph by police.

Nothing much needs to be said about Emmanuel Frimpong.

And Marouane Chamakh impressively managed to play worse than his hair looked.

All things considered, a shambles from back to front.

Appropriate expression

Times Newspapers Ltd
Appropriate expression

Who were the lucky opponents?

This bunch of merry men trekked to Greece to play Olympiakos.

Umm, why?

Arsenal had already secured top spot in the group and so Wenger decided to celebrate his 200th European game by giving the kids and/or reserves a run out.

We miss you, Arsene

Times Newspapers Ltd
We miss you, Arsene

If that was the starting line-up, what did the bench look like?

  • Vito Mannone
  • Tomas Rosicky
  • Chu-Young Park
  • Craig Eastmond
  • Ignasi Miquel
  • Oguzhan Ozyakup
  • Nico Yennaris

How did they get on?

How do you think? They lost.

Olef Mellberg, Jose Holebas, Kevin Mirallas and co were gifted possession by Arsenal’s B Team time and time again.

Lukasz Fabianski was stretchered off halfway through a disastrous first half for the visitors in which they conceded twice.

That’s not gone well

Action Images - Reuters
That’s not gone well

Substitute Vito Mannone dropped a clanger for the second, making a spectacular mess of a clearance.

Yossi Benayoun pulled one back just before the hour mark, but the hosts secured the three points with a late third.

Where are they now?

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was just 18-years-old at the time — he was one of few players to come away from the tie with his reputation somewhat enhanced.

Thomas Vermaelen is still a Barcelona player and occasionally deputises for Gerard Pique or Samuel Umtiti.

A *unique* player

A *unique* player

As for the rest…

Johan Djourou recently transferred from Antalyaspor to SPAL.

Valencia fans are slowly realising Franis Coquelin probably does more harm than good.

Frimpong is getting dench as a free agent after Cypriot club Ermis Aradippou released him last year.

Andre Santos is back in Brazil with Figueirense.

Incredibly, Benayoun is still plugging away in Israel for Maccabi Petah Tikva at the age of 38.

And Chamakh… we honestly have no idea what he’s up to.

The last time anyone saw his over-gelled barnet he turned out for Cardiff in the Championship.

Good times.