Pascal Cygan Upstaged By The Boys From Brazil Of Arsenal On This Day, 17th July 2002

With the World Cup Final of Korea/Japan 2002 having been played just seventeen days earlier, it was no surprise that a weakened Arsenal squad took to the pitch at Broadhall Way for this friendly. No matter, a comfortable win was enjoyed as preparations for the 2002/03 campaign began.

Pascal Cygan had been signed from Lille for £2m and judging by this report, his Arsenal career was already mapped. Capable of being assured in possession, he was equally capable of being caught out of position. With the centre-backs available to Arsène at the time, the Frenchman was always going to be a squad player. Surprisingly he made 98 appearances for the club. And I don’t mean that detrimentally, it simply did not register until I read that figure.

I am not quite sure what Jon Brodkin expected of Cygan. I suppose that he was just happy to see the debut of a new signing. Interestingly he played some of this match at left back and in fairness to the Frenchman, he did deputise well when Ashley Cole was injured in 2005-06, contributing to the record-breaking run to Paris.

Overall, his time at the club was not a great success even though he won a Premier League winners medal. He missed out on the 2003 and 2005 FA Cup finals, not even making the bench for either although he picked up losers medals in the 2003 and 2005 Community Shields. He was part of the victorious team in the 2002 Shield but was upstaged by Gilberto Silva’s scoring the winner. Once more upstaged by a boy from Brazil.

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