Mesut Ozil saga marks sad ending of Arsene Wenger’s “most important” Arsenal XI
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Going into the 2014 FA Cup final, rumours surrounding Arsene Wenger’s future at Arsenal was swirling.
After nine years without a trophy, many felt that defeat to Hull City would mark the end of his legendary spell in north London.
Of course, earlier that season, Jose Mourinho branded the Frenchman a “specialist in failure” in one of his most infamous press conference digs.
While that may have gone too far, there were genuine question marks about whether the Gunners boss was still able to keep up with his modern day counterparts.
It wasn’t plain sailing at Wembley, with the Tigers going 2-0 up in eight minutes, before Arron Ramsey eventually scored the winner in extra time.
Aaron Ramsey scored the all-important goal against Hull City
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Following the end of their trophy drought, Wenger spoke in real fondness about a team that were just starting on their journey.
"This was more important than all the others," he said. "We have twice won the double, but were not under pressure then like we were today.
"This is an important moment in the life of this team; to lose today would have been a major setback, but winning gives us a good platform to come back stronger next year."
Wenger would go on to win another two FA Cups, but that kick on didn’t really materialise.
And with Mesut Ozil’s departure from the club potentially just days away, the last player of that historic squad will have left the Emirates.
Mesut Ozil is the final player still with Arsenal
Per Mertesacker is still with the club as academy manager, while Mikel Arteta is the latest man to try and replicate the feats achieved by Wenger.
But on the playing side, it’s been a tale of departures, missed opportunities and a failure to deliver on their early promise.
Weeks after the win, Bacary Sagna became the latest to switch the Emirates for the Etihad, joining Manchester City.
Then there is Laurent Koscielny, who after almost a decade of service for the Gunners, eroded any goodwill from the supporters with an announcement video that went viral for all the wrong reasons.
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Aaron Ramsey’s departure is one that still rankles fans, with the club unable to get their house in order with a new contract.
Yaya Sanogo and Jack Wilshere were two of Wenger’s subs that day, players who looked to have a huge future with the club. Just seven years later, both are unattached and looking for any route back into the game.
At the time, that Arsenal team looked as if it would not only be Wenger’s last chance of winning the Premier League, but one that could lay the foundations for even more successes.
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Ozil’s ugly transfer saga is the latest in a long line from that 2014 team that have managed to take some of the gloss off that memorable day in the sun.
It is perhaps fitting that the most high profile member of that matchday squad, is the one still making headlines, but his departure will mark the end of an era at the club.
An era Wenger believed would go down as the most important.
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