Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger managed a UNICEF XI against Marseille Legends in a charity match where Didier Drogba truly took centre stage
It may have only been a charity match but Arsene Wenger will have been left with that familiar sinking feeling as Didier Drogba ran riot against one of his side’s yet again.
The legendary Ivorian had a stunning record against Wenger’s Arsenal during his playing days, scoring 15 times in just 16 games.
And despite being three years removed from his retirement, the former Chelsea striker proved he hasn’t lost a step during a charity match on Wednesday night.
A team of Marseille legends, including Drogba, took on a UNICEF XI, managed by Arsene Wenger, returning to the dugout for the first time since leaving the Emirates in 2018.
And although it was advertised as nothing more than an exhibition match, the striker took great pleasure in doing what he did best for so many years.
After Wenger’s side took an early 2-1 lead at the Stade Velodrome, Drogba took centre stage netting a hat-trick as the Marseille legends won 7-4.
Former Arsenal stars Robert Pires, Mathieu Flamini and Samir Nasri and Jens Lehmann all appeared during the game, but it was the Blues legend who grabbed the headlines.
With the minutes winding down, Wenger resorted to throwing 16 players on in an unsuccessful attempt to reverse his side’s fortunes.
Wenger had the likes of Trezeguet, Patrick Kluivert and Esteban Cambiasso at his disposal and offered his football philosophy during an impromptu dressing room speech before kick-off.
“Football is very simple,” he explained. “You control the ball, you make a good decision and after you execute well what you have decided to do.”
It isn’t the first time that post-Chelsea Drogba has come back to haunt Wenger either. In 2016, whilst playing in an MLS All-Star Team, he scored past Arsenal in a pre-season match.
“He has always harmed us, and he continues. He’s a winner and I think that he’ll be like that until the end of his life,” Wenger said five years ago.
“At half-time, I was thinking ‘He’s still haunting us, even in the United States!’
“Drogba is a typical poacher of a goal. He can do that in the box. When I see him in the box and fighting with young defenders I always think that now there is danger there because you know he will get the upper hand and score you a goal and that’s what he did.”