The English Premier League finally makes a return following a 100-day Coronavirus enforced break and it promises to provide the long overdue excitement the fans have craved, albeit away from the stadium due to social distancing rules and preventive measures being adopted to curb the spread of the virus.
Ahead of the first big game of ‘Project Restart’, Manchester City taking on Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium, we take a look at five players to have previously played for both teams in the Premier League.
Nicolas Anelka: Le Sulk is the number one name on our selection. French striker Nicolas Anelka joined Arsenal as a teenager during the second-half of the 1996/97 campaign, Arsene Wenger’s first season in-charge of the Gunners.
Anelka made 26 appearances, scoring six times as the Gunners clinched a first-ever Premier League title in 1998 and spent the following season at the club, returning his best league goal tally at the club, 17 goals.
Having made a brief return abroad, Anelka returned to England, first joining Liverpool before a highly successful two-and-a-half year spell with Manchester City, which coincided with their Premier League return in 2002.
Emmanuel Adebayor: Talented but highly controversial Togo international forward Emmanuel Adebayor makes the exclusive list. Adebayor, who is more famous for his time at Arsenal –winning the 2008 African Footballer of the Year award at the time, signed for the Gunners in January, 2006 largely due to his outstanding exploits in the French Ligue 1 and been likened to Nigerian legend Nwankwo Kanu.
After a slow start to life in north London, Adebayor picked up during his last two seasons with Arsenal, registering double digits goals in both campaigns.
He did enough to secure a massive £25 million transfer to the league’s Nouvelle Riche Manchester City in the summer of 2009. After a terrific start to life in the Blue colours, netting in his first four league games for the club, things took a drastic downturn notably with the arrival of Roberto Mancini at the club which unsurprisingly led to him leaving Manchester City.
Kolo Toure is the second African on the list and coincidentally made the switch together with Emmanuel Adebayor in the same transfer window.
Toure played a significant role in Arsenal’s historic Invincibles team of 2004, the crowning moment of a highly memorable seven-year career with the Gunners which saw him appear in 30+ league games in all but two campaigns.
The Ivorian defender reportedly had a burst-up with teammate William Gallas and this largely led to him forcing through a £14 million transfer to Manchester City after handing in a request. Toure’s impressive qualities continued to stand him out in the City dressing room, been named captain on several occasions in his first season and joined a exclusive list of players to have won the Premier League title at two different clubs after creating history with the Cityzens in 2012.
Patrick Vieira: French World Cup winner Patrick Vieira spent nine glorious years at Arsenal, winning a total of nine titles, including three Premier League titles and captaining the Invincibles in that incredible 2003/04 season.
The gangling midfielder won a combined four FA Cup titles, the last of which came at Manchester City in 2011, a year-and-a-half after reuniting with former Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini and teammate Mario Balotelli in the blue half of Manchester.
Gael Clichy is the third Frenchman on a list heavily dominated by his compatriots. The left-back was largely used as a back-up to Ashley Cole at Arsenal from when he joined the club in 003 before the latter’s transfer to Chelsea in 2006. Cole’s transfer finally allowed Clichy to be unleashed and not held back as he made the position his for five seasons before joining Manchester City.
Clichy made further success with City, winning two Premier League titles in six years, becoming one of ten players to have won the league title with two different clubs.