Jack Wilshere will make an emotional return to the Emirates on Saturday when face .
The 26-year-old’s 17-year association with Arsenal came to an end in June when his contract expired and he opted to make the short move across London to join his boyhood club, West Ham.
This weekend’s fixture is a big game for both clubs as neither Arsenal nor West Ham have any points on the board in the after two games.
After spending years trying to help Arsenal win matches, Wilshere will now be looking to put a dent in their chances of victory with his new side.
Ahead of Wilshere’s return, here are five players who came back to haunt Arsenal.
Robin Van Persie
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The Dutchman, who by that stage had become club captain, almost single-handedly dragged a rabble of a squad that included luminaries such as Andre Santos, Park Chu-Young and Gervinho to a fourth-place finish, thus securing a place in the Champions League the following season.
Why he left: With just a year remaining on his contract, Van Persie was adamant that he would not sign a new contract with Arsenal which forced the club into a difficult position whereby they could sell him for a fraction of his market value or lose him on a free the following summer.
Arsenal fans hoped that he would go the same way as Fabregas by moving abroad but instead he completed a move to Manchester United, joining in a deal worth £24m. To rub salt into a particularly grizzly wound, Van Persie claimed that the ‘little boy inside of him screamed for Manchester United’.
How he haunted them: It didn’t take long for Van Persie to offer Arsenal fans a painful reminder of what they were missing as he was on the scoresheet during a 2-1 victory for United against the Gunners a few short months after making his controversial move.
Worst was yet to come as in the corresponding fixture amidst a deafening chorus of boos from the Emirates stands, Van Persie and his teammates were given a guard of honour by the Arsenal players after clinching the Premier League title.
Van Persie then went and scored in that game too via the penalty spot on his way to winning a second successive golden boot.
Why they were loved: Patrick Vieira had been a colossus during the Arsene Wenger glory years and when he moved on to join Juventus a year after the Invincibles season, there appeared to be a huge void left in Arsenal’s midfield.
Stepping in to fill Vieira’s boots was a fresh faced teenager sporting a questionable mullet in the form of Cesc Fabregas, who instantly made Arsenal forget all about their former French idol.
Completely different in style to Vieira, Fabregas was no less influential, becoming Arsenal’s main man, captain and symbol of a new, youthful era.
Why they left: Arsenal had snatched Fabregas from Barcelona’s much-vaunted La Masia academy for peanuts in 2003 and there was always the worry that a return home would be on the cards, particularly as Arsenal entered a barren period in their history.
Over the course of a few summers, there was constant speculation that Fabregas would re-join his boyhood club, not helped by Barcelona’s players talking him up to the press at any opportunity. Eventually, in 2011, they got their man as Pep Guardiola signed him for just £35m.
How he haunted Arsenal: Unfortunately for Fabregas, his ‘dream’ move to Barcelona fell rather flat as he found himself in and out of the Barcelona side and utilised in a variety of positions, including, somewhat bizarrely, as a false 9.
Instead, he ended up in west rather than north London, joining Chelsea and playing his part in two Premier League title wins.
Why he was loved: Samir Nasri had the kind of sparkling flair that Arsenal fans lap up and his telepathic relationship with Fabregas on the pitch was a joy to watch for a couple of seasons.
In his third (and what proved to be final) season at the club, Nasri transformed from an occasionally frustrating player to a superstar in Arsenal’s midfield and his form resulted in nominations for the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year awards for the 2010-11 season.
Why he left: These quotes from Nasri immediately after joining Manchester City sum it all up quite nicely…
‘I am just a player, but when you are at a big club sometimes you have to bring in big players to win. Maybe Arsenal didn’t have this mentality…’
‘I am 24 and everyone says I am a good player but I haven’t won anything. I loved my time with Arsenal but I have never won anything with them…’
‘Arsenal have good fans but they are not that passionate since they moved from Highbury to the Emirates…’
Suffice to say, the quotes did not go down well with the Arsenal faithful.
How he haunted Arsenal: Nasri’s desire to leave Arsenal in search of silverware paid off as he was part of the City side that won the club’s first-ever Premier League title at the end of the 2011-12 season, courtesy of Sergio Aguero’s iconic, match-winning strike in stoppage time against QPR.
The Frenchman added a further Premier League title to his collection, alongside a League Cup and Community Shield, while Arsenal lifted a solitary FA Cup in that time.
Why he was loved: He wasn’t as technically gifted as Bergkamp nor as elegant and graceful as Henry, but Emmanuel Adebayor was a one-man wrecking machine for Arsenal during a two-season spell as their first-choice frontman.
In his first full season leading the line for Arsenal, Adebayor plundered 26 goals in 34 Premier League games, including a goal of the season contender against Spurs at White Hart Lane, which, of course, always goes down well.
Why he left: Arsenal supporters will tell you that Adebayor left for the £££ but the man himself claims he was seduced by Manchester City’s project. Upon joining the club in a £25m deal in 2009, Adebayor proclaimed that City would be the best team in the world within a year or two.
Things had also turned a bit sour for Adebayor at Arsenal with his final season disrupted by injury and a loss of form. Fans were quick to get on his back over a perceived lack of effort and that fractured relationship worsened very soon after he had left…
How he haunted Arsenal: It is without doubt one of the most iconic celebrations in Premier League history, although not necessarily for the right reasons. After being on the receiving end of abuse from Arsenal’s travelling supporters all game, Adebayor scored the final goal in a 4-2 win for City at the Etihad and then proceeded to goad the fans by sliding on his knees in front of them after a manic, pitch-long dash.
Some say it is the fastest that Adeabyor ever moved in a City shirt. To further wreck his reputation in the eye’s of Arsenal fans, Adebayor later joined their fiercest rivals Spurs.
Why he was loved: In the billion pound era of Premier League football, homegrown players are few and far between. During the Wenger years when Arsenal became an increasingly multi-national side, Cole was virtually the last link between local fans and the club while he was also a damned good footballer to boot.
During the Invincibles campaign, Cole established himself as one of the best left-back’s in world football and his relationship down Arsenal’s left flank with Robert Pires and Thierry Henry was outstanding, bordering on unplayable.
Why he left: For Cole, see Adebayor. The inference when Cole left Arsenal to join Chelsea in 2006 was that he did so in order to secure a better financial deal for himself. Cole didn’t exactly help himself either, saying in his autobiography that he almost ‘swerved off the road’ after hearing that Arsenal had only offered him £55k per week.
Cole reasoned that his decision to leave was based on footballing reasons which, in fairness, makes sense considering he joined Chelsea after they had just won back-to-back Premier League titles under Jose Mourinho. That didn’t stop Arsenal fans re-naming him ‘Cashley’ mind…
How he haunted Arsenal: Cole’s decision to move in search of silverware proved to be a good one in the end as he ended his Chelsea career having won the Premier League, the Champions League, the Europa League, four FA Cups and a League Cup.