Arsenal and Manchester City went toe-to-toe in the 2022/23 season with the Premier League title on the line.
The unstoppable force that is Man City prevailed once again, so the Gunners will be determined to pose a similar threat this time around.
Two key players of this current Arsenal side in Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko previously donned the sky blue of City and have played their part in the Gunners’ success enjoyed under Mikel Arteta.
The duo are amongst the 14 players to have played for these two giants of men’s football in the Premier League era – here is a list of all those to have done it.
Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal 2006-2009; Man City 2009-2012)
Emmanuel Adebayor is the first man on the list, and given that he was brave enough to cross the north London divide, his famous celebration against Arsenal makes all the more sense.
Adebayor made the move to London from French side Monaco and then spent three seasons at the Emirates.
One memorable moment in the red of Arsenal saw the striker sent off for supposedly punching Frank Lampard in the 2007 League Cup final when his side lost to Chelsea.
He switched the capital for Manchester, and whilst he was unable to make a more prolonged impact there, he did score in each of his first four league games for the club – which just so happened to be against his former employers. To celebrate this strike, he famously ran the length of the field to celebrate in front of the Arsenal faithful.
Nicolas Anelka (Arsenal 1997-1999; Man City 2002-2005)
Nicolas Anelka played for a number of English clubs during his glittering career. As well as stints at Bolon Wanderers and Chelsea, he can also count Arsenal and Manchester City among his long list of former employers.
The Frenchman has trophies to show for his time in red and white as the Gunners won the league title and FA Cup in 1997/98, as well as the Community Shield the following summer.
Anelka left Arsenal for Real Madrid and won the Champions League there, before signing for City in 2002.
Two of his best four Premier League goal returns came for Man City, and given that he arrived years before Sheikh Mansour took over – and following City’s last promotion to the top tier – his transfer was quite the coup.
Gael Clichy (Arsenal 2003-2011; Man City 2011-2017)
From one Frenchman to another – and the trend of playing for Arsenal before Manchester City continues.
Gael Clichy arrived in north London from Cannes, where Arsene Wenger had been a big admirer of his, and then lifted the coveted golden Premier League trophy in his first season.
The Invincibles remain one of the great teams to ever compete in England’s top division and Clichy played his part, even if he did make just 12 appearances.
He was a highly respected fullback for the best part of a decade and then carried on his success with Man City. With the Citizens, he won a further two league titles as well as a host of other domestic trophies.
Paul Dickov (Arsenal 1990-1996; Man City 1996-2002)
Paul Dickov is one of the earlier names to feature on this list, having joined Arsenal prior to the formation of the Premier League.
He came through their academy, but was unable to establish himself as a regular in the first team.
As a result, the Scotsman is better known for his stint with Man City, although he enjoyed something of a journeyman career, playing for several English sides until his retirement in 2011.
City were a second-tier club when Dickov joined in 1996 and went through the highs and lows with them, playing in the Premier League but also in the third tier, where his finest hour came in 1999 following his dramatic play-off final equaliser against Gillingham. Who knows where City would be but for that goal?
Gabriel Jesus (Man City 2017-2022; Arsenal 2022-present)
Gabriel Jesus is one of the two current ex-City stars at Arsenal, where his time in north London has been stunted by injuries.
When available, the Brazilian has proven to be an important piece of the Gunners’ attack under Mikel Arteta, but his manager certainly will have wanted to use him more regularly. Jesus had a fine start to life at Arsenal before a long-term injury sustained at the World Cup halted his progress.
Prior to playing in red, he was first introduced to English football fans wearing Man City’s blue after making the move to this country from Palmeiras.
As can be said for everyone who has been managed by Pep Guardiola, he has an impressive trophy haul, although he’d end up leaving before they finally broke their Champions League duck.
However, a perfect chipped finish against Southampton on the final day of the 2017/18 season secured City’s historic 100-point tally, and so he is etched into the club’s history books already.
Samir Nasri (Arsenal 2008-2011; Man City 2011-2017)
Samir Nasri was electric when he came into his own at Arsenal, and so their fans weren’t best pleased when he signed for Man City in 2011.
Winning four trophies during his time at the Etihad, including two Premier Leagues, one can’t begrudge him the move, but that won’t make it hurt any less.
The duo of Nasri and Cesc Fabregas made football a true joy to watch with pinpoint passing and delightful dribbling.
Whilst his accolades from a team perspective came in blue, it was in red when his personal performances were most noted, winning a variety of individual awards as an Arsenal man as well as featuring in the 2010/11 PFA Team of the Year.
David Rocastle (Arsenal 1985-1992; Man City 1993-1994)
David “Rocky” Rocastle, who was very close friends with Ian Wright, was Arsenal through and through. He was in the academy for a few years before he made the breakthrough in 1985 aged just 18.
Rocastle was a constant in the Arsenal first team for seven years before joining Leeds United in 1992, becoming their record signing at the time.
The midfielder signed for Man City after a single season at Elland Road, though the finest moments of his career undoubtedly came with Arsenal, where he was part of two title-winning sides under George Graham.
Bacary Sagna (Arsenal 2007-2014; Man City 2014-2017)
Gael Clichy wasn’t the only French full-back to play for both of these sides. Bacary Sagna arrived at Arsenal a few years after his compatriot, before leaving English football alongside him in 2017, having joined City three years prior.
Although he did get his hands on the FA Cup in his final Arsenal game, Sagna’s trophy cabinet looks very different to his defensive partner’s, and you have to feel for him, as he missed out on Premier League titles with both clubs by a few years at either end of his career.
That said, while Patrice Evra’s presence meant that Clichy didn’t get the number of French caps he perhaps deserved, Sagna notched 65 himself, as well as making nearly 300 appearances for Arsenal.
David Seaman (Arsenal 1990-2003; Man City 2003-2004)
One of two goalkeepers on this list is David Seaman. Again, he is best known for his time with Arsenal having played there for over a decade.
The shot-stopper made his name at Peterborough United, Birmingham City and Queens’ Park Rangers before joining the Gunners, where he replaced John Lukic as the undisputed No 1 at Highbury. Three league titles and four FA Cups later – including one in his final Gunners game – he had assured his status as an Arsenal legend.
Seaman was 39 when he left Arsenal for Man City, where he managed less than one top-flight season for them prior to his retirement.
Sylvinho (Arsenal 1999-2001; Man City 2009-2010)
Sylvinho played the majority of his European club football in Spain with Celta Vigo and Barcelona, but these spells came sandwiched in between periods of play in England.
The Brazilian, who currently manages the Albanian men’s national team, was a part of the PFA Team of the Year for 2000/01 during his time as a Gunner.
As a two-time Champions League winner and three-time La Liga champion with Barcelona, that is the club he is most linked to in Europe, though he did end his career with a brief spell at Man City under Mark Hughes.
Fresh off of a 2008/09 treble with Barca, Sylvinho returned to England to play for City before hanging up his boots altogether.
Kolo Toure (Arsenal 2002-2009; Man City 2009-2013)
The Invincibles have cropped up a number of times on this list, but how many people can say they went two league campaigns unbeaten?
Kolo Toure is a part of this very exclusive club, having also done so with Celtic under the stewardship of Brendan Rodgers in 2016/17.
Toure isn’t the first name that comes to the head of many when thinking of that Arsenal side and yet he made the joint most appearances alongside Thierry Henry, with only one of the 48 coming as substitute, having only missed one game.
He is perhaps something of an unsung hero having played alongside an array of supreme talents, particularly while in north London, though it should be noted that he is one of a select few that have won the Premier League title with multiple clubs and is the African player with the most top-flight appearances.
As well as lifting the title with Arsenal, Toure also did so in the 2011/12 season at Man City before joining Liverpool.
Patrick Vieira (Arsenal 1996-2005; Man City 2010-2011)
At the end of that perfect Invincibles season, it was Patrick Vieira who hoisted the Premier League title above his head as the Arsenal captain.
Once again, Arsenal are the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when discussing the dominant midfielder.
The former Crystal Palace manager played for Juventus and Inter in Italy, winning four Serie A titles and a Champions League with the latter, before returning to England to play for Manchester City under Roberto Mancini.
City won the FA Cup in his only season there, with Yaya Toure scoring in the final against Stoke City. Vieira was sent on as a sub in the 92nd minute for David Silva as he added to his FA Cup collection, having won four times with the Gunners.
Richard Wright (Arsenal 2001-2002; Man City 2012-2016)
Richard Wright is the other goalkeeper on this list, but Seaman made more appearances for Arsenal in one season than Wright did during his whole time at both clubs combined, with just 22 coming his way at Highbury.
In fact, despite being at City for four years, he failed to get on the field even once during the peak of Joe Hart’s career and then subsequently retired when his time at Etihad drew to a close in 2016.
A decade before joining Man City, he left Arsenal after a single season there. Wenger actually considered him to be the long-term successor to Seaman’s throne but it didn’t really work out that way.
One year later, in 2003, Jens Lehmann signed for Arsenal and the rest, as they say, is history.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City 2016-2022; Arsenal 2022-present)
The final name on this list is Oleksandr Zinchenko who, along with Jesus, has very recent memories of his time at Manchester City.
He first joined City as a midfielder, but as Guardiola struggled with the left-back position, he and Fabian Delph were deployed there temporarily.
Both delivered in that area and it wasn’t long before Zinchenko made a more permanent switch.
When playing for Ukraine, Zinchenko does play in the middle of the park and he is often asked to push into that region by Mikel Arteta, but remains as a left-back on paper.
That double signing of Jesus and Zinchenko was a major coup for former City coach Arteta and they have played their part, when fit, in challenging the dominance of their former employers.