Battle of the eras: Arsenal's Old Trafford conquerors of 2006 vs. Unai Emery's current XI


Arsenal travel to Old Trafford this evening looking to make it 20 games unbeaten under new boss Unai Emery.

Manchester United are in the rare position of being underdogs at their own ground, but they have fallen to the Gunners at the Theatre of Dreams before.

Arsene Wenger managed to get one over on his once-bitter rival Alex Ferguson in 2006 when an 86th-minute strike from Emanuel Adebayor was enough to secure a 1-0 win.

But how good was the team that managed to nullify the likes of Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Scholes?

Well here is a direct comparison between the team of 2006 and Emery's current outfit to see who we think are the better side.

Arsenal '06' vs Arsenal '18': Who is better?

Jens Lehmann v Bernd Leno

The veteran German joined the Gunners at the age of 34 in 2003 and experienced Arsenal's best period so far in the Premier League era, winning an FA Cup, League title during the 'Invicibles' season and reaching the 2006 Champions League final.

Arsenal v Everton

Bernd Leno is still finding his feet at the club and despite impressing in his last few games, the 26-year-old simply hasn't had the time to win this battle. There is still time however for the ex-Bayer Leverkusen stopper to become an Arsenal legend.

Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Verdict: Jens Lehmann

Emmanuel Eboue v Hector Bellerin

The Ivory Coast international failed to win a trophy in seven seasons at the club and many Arsenal fans will be amazed that the full-back managed to play 214 games in all competitions for the club.

Arsenal's Ivorian midfielder Emmanuel Eb

Bellerin on the other hand at just 23 has already played more league games for the club than Eboue. The Spaniard has solidified his place as Arsenal's first choice right back and his blistering pace alone gives him a weapon that any Arsenal team would die for.

Fulham FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Verdict: Hector Bellerin

Johan Djourou v Shkodran Mustafi

Djourou got a start in 2006 despite making only making 86 league appearances in nine years for the club. The Swiss star was predominantly used as a versatile squad player who was solid if not fantastic, often being shifted to right back if need be.

Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League

The 26-year-old has been at the Gunners since 2016 and has been a regular fixture at the back for Wenger and now Emery. Despite being criticised for occasionally committing too early for tackles, the German does also pose a goal threat, meaning he can be a nuisance from set-pieces.


Verdict: Shkodran Mustafi

Kolo Toure v Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Another member of the 2004 'Invincibles', Kolo Toure was a brick wall at the back for Arsenal alongside Sol Campbell between 2002 and 2006. The Ivorian also won two FA Cups during his time at the club before leaving to join Manchester City.

Arsenal Training Session

Sokratis has proven to be a very shrewd piece of business by Emery, the club signed the then-29-year-old for a very reasonable £17.6 million. However without a full season under his belt, a comparison with Toure is hardly fair at this stage.

Sporting CP v Arsenal - UEFA Europa League - Group E

Verdict: Kolo Toure

William Gallas v Sead Kolasinac

The Frenchman joined in 2006 at the age of 29 playing mainly as a centre-back but in the game at Old Trafford he was positioned on the right hand side of defence. Gallas was a prominent goal threat for the Gunners bagging 12 league goals in his four years at the club.

Arsenal's French defender William Gallas

Since joining the club last season the Kolasinac has shown impressive attacking quality as well as a worrying tendency to make defensive errors. Thinking controversially, the Bosnian international is a more natural fit if pushed slightly further up as a right wing back which caters more for his attacking qualities.

Arsenal FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Verdict: Sead Kolasinac

Tomas Rosicky v Matteo Guendouzi

Rosicky was very much a leader of the attacking third before dropping back later in his career. Not a huge scorer of goals but the Czech had a great eye for a pass and the unbridled tenacity essential for big games.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal - FA Cup Fourth Round

Guendouzi has surprised many with his impressive start at the club. The 19-year-old has hit the ground running with lung-busting performances consisting of creativity and leadership qualities hard to find in a youngster. His lack of time at the club unfortunately affects the decision here.

Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Verdict: Tomas Rosicky

Freddie Ljungberg v Henrik Mkhitaryan

An Arsenal 'Invincibles legend. Ljunberg played 325 games for Arsenal in all competitions scoring 72 goals and was a regular on the wing for the Gunners between 1999 and 2006. Known for his trademark red hair, the Swede is considered one of the Gunner's greatest ever wingers.

Arsenal's Freddie Ljungberg (L) drives t

It's a tough task for Mkhitaryan to beat an Arsenal legend like Ljungberg, but the Armenian is not even close with a succession of poor performances this campaign. The winger has really struggled to find his feet in England after impressing for Borussia Dortmund.

Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Verdict: Freddie Ljungberg

Gilberto Silva v Lucas Torreira

A far tougher comparison than expected. Gilberto Silva was the perfect protection at holding midfield for the Gunners during his six years at the club. The Brazilian won a league and two FA Cups during his time at the club and was one of the last players to leave from the famous 2004 team.

Arsenal's Brazilian midfielder Gilberto

Despite only playing 14 games for the club, Torreira has been simply impeccable. The Uruguayan's pass percentage and interception rate has been out of this world thus far but still not enough to topple Gilberto.

Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Verdict: Gilberto Silva

Cesc Fabregas v Granit Xhaka

Fabregas was the exception in what was a poor time for Arsenal trophy-wise. Making his first appearance in 2004, the Spaniard won one FA Cup in seven years at the club, being made the club captain at the age of just 21.

Arsenal's Francesc Fabregas (C) breaks p

Granit Xhaka has been far from immune to criticism, despite earning fans trust filling in at left back in recent games. The Swiss clearly has talent but a poor discipline record along with a defensive inconsistency has left the Gunners fans torn.

Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Verdict: Cesc Fabregas

Aleksandr Hleb v Alex Iwobi

Aleksandr Hleb played for Arsenal between 2005 and 2008 and was part of the team that reached the 2006 Champions League final and the 2007 League Cup final. The Belarusian can play on the wing or behind the striker and still plays at the age of 37 for BATE Borisov.

Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers

Iwobi has improved dramatically under Emery after looking to be surplus to requirements. The Nigerian winger has blistering pace and an art for dribbling but up and till very recently has struggled for consistency and therefore regular game time. This swings it.

Arsenal FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Verdict: Aleksandr Hleb

Emanuel Adebayor v Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng

Adebayor is not a name that Arsenal fans like to hear these days, mainly for his goal celebration while at Manchester City. The 34-year-old currently playing in Turkey, only had one prolific season for the Gunners, bagging 62 goals in 142 games in all competitions.

Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates a

Aubamayeng has made a more immediate impact for the Gunners. Joining in January last year, The Gabonese has scored 20 goals in 27 games so far and the 29-year-old is in contention to win this season's golden boot. 


Verdict: Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng

Combined Squad: Lehmann, Bellerin, Mustafi, Toure, Kolasinac, Rosicky, Ljunberg, Gilberto Silva, Fabregas, Hleb, Aubamayeng.

Do you agree with our combined Arsenal eleven? Have your say in the comments section below.

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