Arsenal vs Birmingham – 2011 League Cup final: Where are they now?

Arsenal vs Birmingham – 2011 League Cup final: Where are they now?

Who could forget the 2011 League Cup final? One thing’s for sure, Laurent Koscielny definitely won’t forget it, but more on that to come.

Birmingham City upset the odds in overcoming Arsenal to secure just their second ever League Cup trophy, with Obafemi Martins writing his name in Blues folklore with his late winner.

The game is disappearing into the annuls of time at an alarming rate, but the big question is were are the stars of that day now?

Wojciech Szczesny

Szczesny rose to the very top of the gameSzczesny rose to the very top of the game
Szczesny rose to the very top of the game | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Who saw this one coming? Certainly not Arsene Wenger.

Wojciech Szczesny has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe since leaving Arsenal in 2017.

The shot-stopper was loaned out to Roma for two seasons during his time at the Emirates and he is now the number one at reigning Serie A champions Juventus.

Bacary Sagna

Sagna was Arsenal's right back for a number of yearsSagna was Arsenal's right back for a number of years
Sagna was Arsenal’s right back for a number of years | PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

There was a time when Arsenal seemed to turn into a feeder club for Manchester City, and Bacary Sagna was one of those Gunners who swapped London for the north west.

The Frenchman spent three years with City before moving to Benevento, Atalanta and then MLS side Montreal Impact (or Club de Foot Montreal as they now like to be called).

Sagna has refused to rule out a return to football but is currently without a club.

Johan Djourou

Djourou never showed what he could doDjourou never showed what he could do
Djourou never showed what he could do | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Johan Djourou is another of the 2011 League Cup’s beaten finalists who is still playing professionally.

The Switzerland international plays for Danish Superliga side Nordsjælland, having joined the club in 2020.

Laurent Koscielny

Koscielny was crestfallen after his errorKoscielny was crestfallen after his error
Koscielny was crestfallen after his error | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Laurent Koscielny’s nightmare mix-up with Szczesny in the last minute of the 2011 League Cup final handed the trophy to Birmingham.

He departed the Emirates Stadium in August 2019 following speculation he had refused to take place in the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.

The Frenchman moved to Bordeaux following the rumoured dispute and he’s a regular in the Ligue 1 outfit’s starting XI.

Gael Clichy

Clichy was known for his paceClichy was known for his pace
Clichy was known for his pace | Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Y’know that Arsenal and Manchester City thing we mentioned earlier? Well here’s another.

Gael Clichy then moved to Turkey to play for Istanbul Basaksehir in 2017, where he remained for three season’s before moving to Swiss side Servette last year.

Alex Song

Alex Song moved to Barcelona following his spell with ArsenalAlex Song moved to Barcelona following his spell with Arsenal
Alex Song moved to Barcelona following his spell with Arsenal | Victor Fraile/Getty Images

Since leaving Arsenal in 2012, Alex Song has enjoyed spells with Barcelona and West Ham as well as stints in Russia and Switzerland.

It seems a lifetime ago since he was an Arsenal player, but at just 33 years of age the holding midfielder is still doing his thing, and he currently plays for Association Sportive d’Arta in the Djibouti Premier League.

Didn’t expect that now, did you?

Jack Wilshere

Injuries cost Wilshere dearlyInjuries cost Wilshere dearly
Injuries cost Wilshere dearly | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

If you were to have predicted where every one of the players on this list would be ten years after the 2011 League Cup final, few would have said Jack Wilshere would be in the Championship.

The midfielder was tipped for stardom, but a lack of football caused by persistent injuries has seriously hampered his progression and he’s now fighting for promotion with Bournemouth.

Samir Nasri

Nasri turned his back on Arsenal for Manchester CityNasri turned his back on Arsenal for Manchester City
Nasri turned his back on Arsenal for Manchester City | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Having moved to Anderlecht in 2019, Samir Nasri was reportedly sacked by the Belgian club after going AWOL – claims he denies (obviously).

The Frenchman has yet to call it a day on his playing career though he’s currently without a club.

Tomas Rosicky

Tomas Rosicky spent a decade at the EmiratesTomas Rosicky spent a decade at the Emirates
Tomas Rosicky spent a decade at the Emirates | Ian Walton/Getty Images

Tomas Rosicky left Arsenal in 2016 and headed back to Sparta Prague where he began his career.

Following his retirement in 2017, the midfielder stayed at the club to work as an assistant to sporting director Zdenek Scasny before moving into the director role himself.

Andrey Arshavin

Arshavin retired in 2018Arshavin retired in 2018
Arshavin retired in 2018 | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Having moved to Russia following his time at Arsenal, Andrey Arshavin finished his career with Kazakhstan based side Kairat.

The former Gunner was said to be ‘considering his options’ (whatever that means) following retirement and appears to be just trying to keep himself relevant by making public digs at Mesut Ozil.

Robin van Persie

Van Persie went on to leave Arsenal for Man Utd - and is now a punditVan Persie went on to leave Arsenal for Man Utd - and is now a pundit
Van Persie went on to leave Arsenal for Man Utd – and is now a pundit | Clive Mason/Getty Images

Robin van Persie was still scoring for fun up until his retirement in 2019.

The striker bagged 16 Eredivisie goals in 25 league appearances in his final season with Feyenoord, before hanging up his boots and being appointed assistant boss at the Dutch side.

Marouane Chamakh

Marouane Chamakh had an underwhelming spell at ArsenalMarouane Chamakh had an underwhelming spell at Arsenal
Marouane Chamakh had an underwhelming spell at Arsenal | Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Having spent two-and-a-half years without a club, Marouane Chamakh finally admitted defeat in 2020 and confirmed he’d retired from professional football.

The former frontman said he intended to begin a career in coaching, though he’s yet to find a club.

Why does no-one want the Moroccan prince?

Nicklas Bendtner

Nicklas Bendtner is back in DenmarkNicklas Bendtner is back in Denmark
Nicklas Bendtner is back in Denmark | Paul Gilham/Getty Images

You’d be hard pushed to pick a player from this list who’s enjoyed as eventful a career as Nicklas Bendtner since the 2011 League Cup final.

The Dane went on to represent Sunderland, Wolfsburg and astonishingly Juventus, and he’s now playing his football back in Denmark with Tarnby.

Ben Foster

Ben Foster is hoping to win promotion back to the Premier League with WatfordBen Foster is hoping to win promotion back to the Premier League with Watford
Ben Foster is hoping to win promotion back to the Premier League with Watford | ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

Ben Foster has moved into reality television – well, not quite, but it’s not far off.

The former Manchester United goalkeeper is currently at Watford, where he’s decided to set up a camera behind the goal to record his performances before uploading them to social media.

Just a bit weird really.

Stephen Carr

Stephen Carr spent four years at BirminghamStephen Carr spent four years at Birmingham
Stephen Carr spent four years at Birmingham | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Stephen Carr was offered the chance to stay on at Birmingham in a coaching capacity, but instead he decided to head to Spain where he’s set up a number of high-end bars and beach clubs.

Can’t really argue with that.

Roger Johnson

Roger Johnson retired in 2019Roger Johnson retired in 2019
Roger Johnson retired in 2019 | ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

Roger Johnson retired from professional football in 2019 following a two-year spell with Bromley.

The former defender is looking to make waves in the managerial game and is currently in charge of the Bromley Under-23 side.

Martin Jiranek

Martin Jiranek retired in 2018Martin Jiranek retired in 2018
Martin Jiranek retired in 2018 | Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Following Birmingham’s relegation to the Championship, Martin Jiranek made a swift exit from St Andrew’s and spent time in Russia and the Czech Republic before retiring in 2018.

The former defender has shown no appetite to remain in the game and seems to be just be living a normal life.

Why does that seem so weird?

Liam Ridgewell

Liam Ridgewell spent time in MLSLiam Ridgewell spent time in MLS
Liam Ridgewell spent time in MLS | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Liam Ridgewell moved to MLS in 2014 before spending the final year of his playing career with Southend United.

The former England Under-21 defender is now part of the coaching staff at National League side Dover Athletic.

Sebastian Larsson

Sebastian Larsson is now playing football in his native SwedenSebastian Larsson is now playing football in his native Sweden
Sebastian Larsson is now playing football in his native Sweden | ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

The former Arsenal man got one over on his old team in the 2011 League Cup final, and he’s still playing professionally to this day.

After spells with Sunderland and Hull, the dead-ball specialist is back in his native Sweden playing with AIK.

Barry Ferguson

Barry Ferguson spent three years at BirminghamBarry Ferguson spent three years at Birmingham
Barry Ferguson spent three years at Birmingham | ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

Barry Ferguson enjoyed an entertaining career shall we say.

The Scotsman has moved into management since calling it a day on his playing career and he’s current manager of Scottish fifth tier side Kelty Hearts.

Keith Fahey

Keith Fahey won 16 caps for the Republic of IrelandKeith Fahey won 16 caps for the Republic of Ireland
Keith Fahey won 16 caps for the Republic of Ireland | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Keith Fahey left St Andrew’s in 2013 and was last seen playing for Dublin based club Bluebell United in 2017.

Having hung up his boots, Fahey is looking to make a career for himself in social care.

Craig Gardner

Craig Gardner has stepped into the coaching gameCraig Gardner has stepped into the coaching game
Craig Gardner has stepped into the coaching game | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Craig Gardner retired as a player in 2020 and took a job on the Birmingham coaching team, before joining Sheffield Wednesday’s coaching staff under Tony Pulis.

He left the Owls following Pulis’ sacking and is now back with Birmingham as part of the backroom staff.

Lee Bowyer

Lee Bowyer has stepped into managementLee Bowyer has stepped into management
Lee Bowyer has stepped into management | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Lee Bowyer made a seamless transition from player to manager, having secured promotion to the Championship via the play offs in his first season at Charlton.

However, the Addicks were relegated in their first campaign back in the second tier, and Bowyer’s side are struggling to mount a serious promotion charge this season.

Nikola Zigic

Zigic spent five years at BirminghamZigic spent five years at Birmingham
Zigic spent five years at Birmingham | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Who could forget this man?

Signed from Valencia, the towering frontman hardly enjoyed a stellar spell at St Andrew’s and he hung up his boots in 2015 after five underwhelming seasons with the club.

He was appointed assistant manager of the Serbia national team in 2019, but was relieved of his role last year following the departure of head coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic.

Jean Beausejour

Beausejour has had a long careerBeausejour has had a long career
Beausejour has had a long career | IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

Jean Beausejour headed back to his homeland in 2016 where he linked up with Club Universidad de Chile, the club he started his professional career with.

Incredibly, at 36 years of age he’s still in contention for the Chile national side and he added two more international caps to his collection in 2020, taking his tally up to an impressive 109.

Cameron Jerome

Cameron Jerome is now at MK DonsCameron Jerome is now at MK Dons
Cameron Jerome is now at MK Dons | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Cameron Jerome was often accused of being too good for the Championship but not good enough for the Premier League.

At 34 years of age he’s still playing at a decent level with MK Dons, and his goals have helped give Russell Martin’s side an outside shot of making the League One play-offs.

Obafemi Martins

Obafemi Martins now plays in ChinaObafemi Martins now plays in China
Obafemi Martins now plays in China | ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

Last but not least – the hero of the occasion.

Obafemi Martins was introduced as a late substitute in the 2011 final and he grabbed the winner in the last minute.

The former Inter man moved to Spain and then America after leaving Birmingham, before joining Shanghai Shenhua in 2017.

He’s still playing in China having signed for Wuhan Zall last year.

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