Arsenal has traditionally been one of England’s most prominent clubs. The ‘Gunners’ have long been a part of the English football elite, both in the old Football League First Division and the present Premier League. On the other hand, Manchester City has only managed to enter the elite in recent years through significant investments. However, this has not prevented many players from wearing the shirt of both teams. Discover who they have been!
Manchester City vs Arsenal: two rivals with players in common
Manchester City and Arsenal have become rivals for the Premier League title for the first time since its inception. When the ‘Gunners’ were a strong team in the 2000s, Manchester City was a weak team, still fighting for relevance. But in the ‘10s decade, the tables turned, and the ‘Citizens’ became the team to beat. Arsenal have been a title contender this season thanks to Arteta’s presence on the London-based team, and they now face a vital match for the title.
The Irishman, who began his sporting career in Arsenal’s youth squads, was one of the most prolific forwards in the history of his national team. He made his professional debut for the ‘Gunners’ against Liverpool, scoring one of the goals in the Londoners’ 2-0 victory. But it was at Manchester City that he became a cult hero, saving a penalty after Tony Coton was sent off against Derby County in 1991.
‘Rocky’ is a legend for Arsenal, but he also played a season at Manchester City. He played for the ‘Gunners’ from 1985 to 1992, where he was named in the team of the year twice and won the First Division twice. In his season as a ‘Citizen’, Rocastle was heavily affected by injuries, which limited him to 21 games.
In March 2001, ‘Rocky’ passed away due to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Like Quinn, Dickov also came from Arsenal’s youth academy and made his debut with the club in 1990. After failing to establish himself in the first team, the Scottish player joined City in 1996 after multiple loan appearances. Energetic, he was capable of firing up the crowd when necessary, but he wasn’t a prolific scorer. After leaving the club in 2002, he returned four years later.
Seaman joined Arsenal eight years after his debut, in 1990… and retired in 2004! David Seaman has one of the longest careers in English football, defending the ‘Gunner’ goal in 405 appearances before joining Manchester City in 2003. However, due to injuries, the goalkeeper was forced to retire in January 2004.
Arsene Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ captain departed the English club in 2005 to play in Italy. However, in 2010, he decided to return to England to play for Manchester City for a season. He is now the coach of New York City, the ‘Citizens’ sister team.
As controversial as he was talented, the Frenchman spent two years at Arsenal in the late 1990s before moving to Real Madrid. He signed with the ‘Citizens’ in 2002, the first season of Manchester City’s comeback to the Premier League, and scored 45 goals in 103 games before moving to the Turkish club Fenerbahce.
Another key player in Wenger’s best years at Arsenal, Toure packed his bags for Manchester in 2009. Upon arriving at the club, Toure was named team captain. In his last two years at the club, however, he lost relevance in favor of Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott.
Clichy was an ‘apprentice’ in the unbeaten Arsenal, just behind Ashley Cole. He was Wenger’s first choice in 2006, but in 2011 he switched to the Etihad Stadium. He remained with City until 2017, when he left after 138 games.
Wenger’s favoured young signing was Emmanuel Adebayor. He joined Arsenal in 2006 after impressing at Monaco before going to Manchester City in 2009. He and Carlos Tevez developed a strong partnership in his debut season, but his play suddenly fell and he was forced to leave the team.
The Frenchman flourished at Arsenal, where he was regarded as one of the top full-backs in the world until 2014. Manchester City managed to secure his services in 2014, but he did not manage to become a regular starter in his first season. In 2017, he finally left the team.
Another talented French player who went through Wenger’s Arsenal left for Mancini’s Manchester City in 2011. Alongside David Silva and Yaya Toure, he formed a brutal creative trio in the titles of 2011/2012 and 2013/2014. In the following campaigns, he lost prominence and ended up leaving the club.
Zinchenko was a surprise signing from FC Ufa in 2016, but he proved valuable. He went from central midfield to left back, where he learnt all he needed to become a competent fullback. This year, he packed his belongings and traveled to London with the following players. As a result, the Ukrainian became the first player to transfer from Manchester City to Arsenal.
After winning his first tournament in Brazil, the Brazilian moved to Manchester City, where he showed excellent mobility in offensive positions. However, in 2022, he decided to seek a new challenge with Arsenal, where he is battling his previous team for the league title.
Honorable mention: Mikel Arteta
The current Arsenal manager was also a ‘Gunner’ himself until the 2016 season when he announced his retirement. Pep Guardiola called him to be his assistant when he arrived in England, despite the fact that he had no prior playing experience with Manchester City. The Basque accepted and served as his apprentice until Arsenal recruited him in 2019 to lead their comeback to title contention.