Arsenal fielded the second youngest XI in Champions League history back in 2009


Arsenal are closer to playing Championship football than Champions League football right now.

After their opening 12 matches of the season, the Gunners have won just four times and sit in 15th. They’re five points above the drop zone and a massive 10 points adrift of the top-four already.

Remember when they qualified for Europe’s elite competition 20 years in a row under Arsene Wenger?

That already seems a very long time ago.

This time 11 years ago, Arsenal had already qualified as winners from their Champions League group ahead of their visit to Olympiacos.

Therefore, Wenger decided to name a very youthful side during his side's 1-0 loss.


In fact, it was so youthful that it’s still the second youngest XI in Champions League history with an average age of just 21.6.

Incidentally, the youngest XI ever is held by Lithuanian side Zalgiris Vilnius at 21.1.

But we’re here to focus on Arsenal and ask where is that XI from the 2009/10 season now?

Let’s take a look:

Lukasz Fabianski | 24-years-old

Dubbed ‘Flapianski’ at Arsenal, Fabianski has gone on to become a solid Premier League goalkeeper after leaving Arsenal with Swansea and now West Ham. At 35, he’s No.1 for West Ham - who sit seven points above Arsenal right now.


Mikael Silvestre | 32-years-old

By far Arsenal’s oldest player that night - and he probably cost his side the record. He played for Werder Bremen, Portland Timbers and Chennaiyin after leaving the club. Retired back in 2014.

Kyle Bartley | 18-years-old

This was Bartley’s only performance for Arsenal. After leaving the club, he spent six years at Swansea featuring in the Premier League. He’s now back in the top-flight with West Brom.


Thomas Cruise | 18-years-old

No, not that one…

Like Bartley, this was Cruise’s only appearances for the club. A loan and then permanent move to Torquay followed before he stopped playing football in 2015, aged just 24.

Kerrea Gilbert | 22-years-old

Gilbert played a total of 12 times for Arsenal’s first-team before leaving the club following the 2009/10 season. Was last seen playing for St Albans City in the Southern League Premier League Division - a division below the National League South, but left in 2014 season. Hasn’t played football since.


Alex Song | 22-years-old

Went on to play more than 200 times for Arsenal before sensationally signing for Barcelona. Two seasons at the Camp Nou and a loan spell at West Ham followed before he moved to Russia and Rubin Kazan. He spent two years at Sion in Switzerland and now, age 33, is playing for Djiboutian side Arta/Solar7.

Jack Wilshere | 17-years-old

The youngest starter that night but Wilshere went on to play 197 times for Arsenal. Injuries have since stunted his career and managed just 18 matches for West Ham during the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons. At 28, he’s without a club.


Aaron Ramsey | 18-years-old

369 appearances for the club before a free transfer move to Juventus in 2019. He’s approaching 50 appearances for the Old Lady and will be looking to win the competition that he featured in 11 years ago for Juventus this season.

Fran Merida | 19-years-old

The Spaniard was very highly-rated but only played 16 times for Arsenal in his career. Spells at Real Sociedad, Atletico Madrid, Braga, Hercules, Atletico Paranaense, Huesca and Osasuna followed. The 30-year-old was signed by Espanyol in the summer of 2020.


Theo Walcott | 20-years-old

397 matches and 108 goals at Arsenal for Walcott. His career looked to be dwindling at Everton in recent years but he looks rejuvenated back at Southampton on a loan deal.

Carlos Vela | 20-years-old

Vela made 62 appearances for Arsenal but was sold to Real Sociedad for just €3 million in 2012. Seven successful seasons in Spain saw him play more than 200 times in La Liga.

But it’s in the United States where Vela has really made a name for himself. In 77 appearances for Los Angeles FC, he’s scored 59 goals. How Arsenal could do with the 31-year-old right now…

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