Join us as we travel back through the years to reminisce on our favourite Arsenal figures of all time.
The History of Arsenal SoccerStarz
Can you believe it’s been nearly 12 years since the first wave of Arsenal SoccerStarz figures were released? Neither can we!
SoccerStarz launched in August of 2012 with the inaugural blind bag (series 1) featuring 32 figures equally divided between the Premier League’s four biggest clubs (at the time). The four teams featured were Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, and of course, Arsenal.
It wasn’t the most straightforward start for SoccerStarz, as a week after launching the blind bag, it was made official that Robin Van Persie would be leaving the club to join arch-rivals Manchester United. It wouldn’t get any easier, as just 5 days later it was then announced that Alex Song had agreed a move to join Catalan giants Barcelona. As you can probably guess, both players were part of the 8 figure Arsenal line-up. Oops!
More importantly, there were 6 more incredible Arsenal players for Gooners to collect, including newly-appointed club captain Thomas Vermaelen, Theo Walcott, Bacary Sagna, Wojciech Szczesny, Jack Wilshere, and current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
New Signings Galore
A busy summer would follow the shock sale of Van Persie, for both Arsenal and SoccerStarz!
Arsenal brought in Olivier Giroud from Montpellier, Santi Cazorla from Malaga, as well as Lukas Podolski from FC Koln. All 3 would go on to be quickly sculpted by the SoccerStarz team to be released into Series 2 of the SoccerStarz blind bag.
Joining them in the new line-up was Laurent Koscielny, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Gervinho, Aaron Ramsey, Ryo Miyaichi and Abou Diaby. The Arsenal collection was quickly growing!
FA Cup Winners
On May 17th 2014, Arsenal defeated Hull City 3-2 at Wembley Stadium in dramatic fashion to end a gruelling 9-year wait for silverware.
The Gunners were firm favourites to win the trophy but were stunned by early goals from James Chester and Curtis Davies, giving Hull a shock 2-0 lead.
Santi Cazorla’s superb free kick gave Arsenal a lifeline just before half time, leaving the score 2-1 to Hull going into the break. 26 agonising minutes passed by until Laurent Koscielny bravely bundled the ball home to give Arsenal a well-deserved equaliser.
It would be Arsenal’s player of the year, Aaron Ramsey, who’d grab the winner for Arsenal, as he latched on to an exquisite back-heeled pass from Giroud and instinctively prodded the ball past a helpless Alan McGregor in the Hull City goal.
Arsenal survived one final scare in the 115th minute after Per Mertesacker lost his footing, causing Lukasz Fabianski to come flying out of the Arsenal net. Sone Aluko skipped past the Arsenal keeper, but luckily for the Gunners, couldn’t find the back of the open net. And just like that, the FA Cup belonged to Arsenal.
SoccerStarz commemorated their triumphant win by releasing the Arsenal FA Cup Winners team pack, featuring 19 incredible figures.
The figures included many of the aforementioned players, as well as some new additions, including Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker, and two exclusive black based figures of Fabianski and Rosicky.
This particular team pack is, and remains to be, a holy grail amongst Arsenal and SoccerStarz fans and collectors.
Back to Back
The following season saw new signings Danny Welbeck, and most notably, Alexis Sanchez join the Arsenal SoccerStarz line up. Exclusive away kit figures were also released, with Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey being among the players to receive a fresh yellow paint job!
Arsenal again won the FA Cup, this time in a much more comfortable manner. The Gunners put 4 goals past fellow finalists Aston Villa; Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud were all on the scoresheet.
Another FA Cup means, you guessed it, another commemorative team pack!
The Final Wenger Years
More players continued to join the SoccerStarz line-up as the years went on. The 2016/17 season saw cult-hero Grant Xhaka join the line-up, as well as a brand new Mesut Ozil figure, completed with a haircut much more synonymous with his Arsenal playing days.
2017/18, the final season with Arsene Wenger at the Arsenal helm, saw big money signing Alexandre Lacazette join the figure lineup, and so too did Hale End academy graduate Alex Iwobi.
Arsene Wenger left Arsenal on June 30th 2018, having managed 828 Premier League matches, the most of any manager in the competition’s history.
A New Era
2018/19 saw Unai Emery appointed Arsenal manager, and a whole host of new SoccerStarz figures being released!
Stefan Lichsteiner, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrik Mkhitaryan were released to a great reception, however SoccerStarz fans would have to wait until the following season to get their hands on new signing and 2018 North London derby hero, Lucas Torreira.
A Second New Era
The 2019/20 season unfortunately saw Arsenal struggle both domestically and in Europe, leading to Unai Emery being replaced at the helm by former Gunner Mikel Arteta, a move that was met by a warm, if not a little apprehensive, reception.
The Spaniard got Arsenal’s season back on track, though the 2020/21 season was far from plainsailing. Arsenal struggled all season long, however when Arteta called upon Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe, and Bukayo Saka, Arsenal’s fortunes began to slowly but surely change.
It didn’t take a football expert to see the potential these young stars had, so it was decided that all three would be sculpted and added to the SoccerStarz range. Martinelli came first, with Saka and Smith Rowe joining the collection further down the line.
With an exciting young core that was making steady progress, the future for the Gunners was looking bright heading into the 2022/23 season, but few could have predicted the season to come.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side dazzled throughout, with recent signings and returning loanee Zinchenko, Jesus, and Saliba adding some much needed leadership to the young Arsenal side. The Gunners led the league for 248 days over the course of the campaign, but ultimately collapsed towards the business end of the season.
Although bitterly disappointing, the season will be remembered by Arsenal fans for a very long time.
The Brand New Arsenal Collection
The 2023/24 Arsenal team pack was launched at the beginning of the season, featuring 11 stunningly sculpted figures.
The team pack features Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, William Saliba, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Jorginho, Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, and Gabriel Martinelli.
We hoped you enjoyed looking back at all our favourite Arsenal SoccerStarz figures with us; keep your eyes peeled for more blogs coming soon.