Three years ago today, Arsenal 4 Aston Villa 0.
It was certainly not as stressful as what happened at Wembley 12 months previous – when Arsenal found themselves 2-0 down with Kieran Gibbs heading off the line – but it was equally as satisfying.
Arsenal were in complete control from the first minute against relegated Aston Villa – who did not have a shot on target.
What struck me was the goal scorers that day. Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud. Who would have thought all four would have departed just 3 years later.
That day Santi Cazorla was named Man of the Match. He joins the goal scorers by leaving Arsenal this summer.
These little snippets then made me look at the entire match day squad from 2015, and investigate “where are they now?”
For Wojciech Szczęsny, the FA Cup Final would be the last time he would be seen in an Arsenal shirt. what followed was a 2 year loan to Roma before he joined Juventus as the eventual replacement for Gianluigi Buffon.
Captaining Arsenal that day was Per Mertesacker. He retires this summer. Also leaving the club this summer on a free is Santi Cazorla.
In January, we saw a quadruple of exits. Francis Coquelin went to Valencia, where he joined Gabriel Paulista who returned to Spain in the summer of 2017.
Three of the goal scorers that day also left in January. Olivier Giroud joined Chelsea in a massive merry-go-round of players and Theo Walcott went to Everton. Alexis Sanchez joined Manchester United,
Kieran Gibbs, who saved the day with a goal line clearance the season before which would have seen Arsenal go 3-0 down, went to WBA where he got relegated.
Thinking the grass was greener, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went to Liverpool in a big money move in the summer of 2017. Inconsistent performances and injury showed that sometimes it is the player, not the manager.
Finally, Mathieu Flamini Went to Crystal Palace and became a billionaire.
With the futures of Hector Bellerin, Jack Wilshere, David Ospina and Aaron Ramsey in the balance this summer, Arsenal could be in a situation where just 3 players remain from that victorious team 3 years ago.