It has been well documented that the famous number 9 shirt at Arsenal has some sort of curse surrounding it, with the majority of the Arsenal number 9s sitting on the Arsenal injury table or bench while other number 9s such as Andy Cole, Alan Shearer, Fernando Torres, Radamel Falcao et al made the coveted shirt their own by banging in goal after goal.
The most recent number 9s at Arsenal have been; Jeffers, Reyes, Baptista, Eduardo and Park Chu-Young. None of these players really made a huge impact at the club, with Eduardo being affected worst by the curse after a horrific challenge by Birmingham’s Martin Taylor, leaving him with a broken leg.
Francis Jeffers had a dismal time at Arsenal, scoring four goals in a three year period, not quite living up to his huge (at the time) £8m price tag. Jose Antonio Reyes scored 16 goals in a two year spell, before being loaned out to Real Madrid then sold to Real’s neighbours Atlético.
Eduardo had the most prominent spell atArsenal out of most recent number 9s, but the huge injury stuttered his progress which followed to a move to Ukraine to play for Shakhtar Donetsk.
Park Chu-Young obtained the number 9 shirt after a bizarre deadline day transfer from A.S Monaco. He scored one goal in a League Cup match and only managed one Premier League appearance from the bench. He has since been loaned out to La Liga side Celta Vigo after a truly lacklustre time in England where he spent nearly all his time on the substitutes bench.
Earlier this summer, Arsenal signed the Polish-born German international Lukas Podolski from F.C Koln. Podolski came with a fantastic record at both club and international level, and aged 27 years and 13 days, Lukas Podolski is the youngest European ever to reach the milestones of 100 international caps. He was handed the number 9 shirt when Arsenal stated that current number 9 Park Chu-Young’s squad number had changed to 30.
Podolski has taken to life in England like a duck to water, with three goals and an assist in his first six games, including a stunning free kick in a 6-1 win against Southampton. He has shown signs of wonderful composed finishing, as well as great movementand team work, partnering brilliantly with fellow new signing Santi Cazorla who is also blossoming in an Arsenal shirt.
Lukas has even hinted at getting an Arsenal tattoo (to go along with his F.C Koln tattoo), talking about tattoos, Podolski said ‘Cologne meant so much to me because I was there for a long time, maybe I will do the same with Arsenal because I like this club’.
This surely means that he plans to stay at Arsenal long term, and if his current form continues, trophies and legendary status are on the horizon, which would most certainly vanquish the curse of the number 9 shirt at Arsenal.
Written by Elliott Heath
Follow him on Twitter @elliottafc
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