Almost two years since he inspired their FA Cup final win over Chelsea, back in November a crestfallen Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was brutally mocked by the same Arsenal fans who once adored him as he trudged off the pitch at Stamford Bridge.
After switching allegiances across the capital, now-Chelsea star Aubameyang had flattered to deceive against his former employers before they eventually took the lead through Gabriel Magalhaes, whose winning goal sent Mikel Arteta's side top of the Premier League.
If that wasn't grim enough for him, cheers from Arsenal's travelling support increased in volume and spite when the ex-Gunners hero-turned villain was hooked off before play resumed.
As he made his way to the bench those ridiculing cheers quickly turned to jeers, and for Aubameyang this marked both a new low and confirmation that his relationship with the most important club of his career had been soured.
It was only 27 months prior, in August 2020, when he single-handedly delivered Arsenal's sole trophy of the last five years by scoring twice in their shock FA Cup final win against Chelsea inside an empty Wembley Stadium. Before that he had already produced another match-winning brace in their semi-final victory against Man City.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang endured a torrid afternoon against Arsenal back in November before being hooked off in front of his former supporters
The now-Chelsea forward is set to return to Arsenal for the first time since leaving on Tuesday
It wasn't too long ago that Aubameyang inspired the Gunners' FA Cup final win over Chelsea
But he heads back to the Emirates a villain after falling out with Mikel Arteta (right) and leaving
Yet fast forward to the present day and Aubameyang's standing in the red half of north London has flipped on its head. No longer the swashbuckling, goalscoring hero who once led them to glory, he returns to the Emirates on Tuesday night in Chelsea blue and as a newfound enemy of the club after falling out with Arteta, departing in acrimonious fashion, taking swipes at the much-loved head coach and then signing for a huge London rival.
As a result, the reception to welcome him back should be a fiery one.
Aubameyang's fall from grace at Arsenal reached its nadir when he returned home from an approved trip to France later than agreed in December 2021.
After being granted permission to visit his sick mother and bring her back to England, the club captain was told he needed to fly home later that evening to ensure he was ready for training the next day.
Instead, Aubameyang defied orders and headed back from France the following morning, and with Covid regulations still in place that meant he was unable to train while awaiting a negative PCR test.
Arteta therefore dropped his captain for their resulting 3-0 win over Southampton before saying: 'Unfortunately, [Aubameyang has been left out] due to a disciplinary breach.
'I think we've been very consistent with no negotiables as a team that we have set ourselves as a club, so he's not involved today.
'Certainly, it's not an easy situation, a situation that we want our club captain to be in.'
Aubameyang's fall from grace at Arsenal reached its nadir when he was dropped by Arteta for a home outing against Southampton after a disciplinary breach
The Gabon international returned later than agreed from an approved trip to France to visit his sick mother (left) and was ostracised from the first-team squad as a result
And three days later, Arteta went one step further by officially stripping Aubameyang of the Arsenal captaincy while he trained away from the first team at London Colney.
The Gabon international was demoted after three separate disciplinary breaches, the first of which came when he was filmed posing alongside a tattoo artist during the UK's Covid lockdown in February 2021.
Arsenal investigated the incident in an attempt to discover if any rules had been breached, but ultimately decided to keep their findings in-house.
It later transpired that Aubameyang had previously broken rules on two occasions
Sources at the club suggested Aubameyang and the artist were residing in the same bubble, while the artist responsible, Alejandro Nicolas Bernal, stated that the video was actually taken from a separate tattoo in 2019.
However, Aubameyang was photographed on Valentine's Day with new artwork on the back of his hand, which was then covered up during a game.
At the time, government guidelines stated all mobile and static tattoo parlours should remain closed to help avoiding the spread of coronavirus.
But the controversy surrounding Aubameyang did not stop there. Just one month after his lockdown storm, the striker was left out of Arsenal's starting line-up for their north London derby against Tottenham due to lateness.
'He was going to start the game,' Arteta told Sky Sports. 'We had a disciplinary issue. We have drawn the line and we move on. He is on the bench.'
Having risked the wrath of his manager on two previous occasions, there was no way back for Aubameyang under Arteta when he jetted back from France later than agreed the following December.
The disgraced former captain was ostracised from the first-team squad and made to train alone while Arteta and sporting director Edu searched for a solution to their £350,000-a-week dilemma, a contract which still had 18 months to run.
In the end Aubameyang's personal desire to join Barcelona meant the two parties were able to reach a mutual agreement to terminate his contract early, which was estimated to have saved Arsenal around £25million in wages.
In their 'All Or Nothing' Amazon series, which followed the club behind the scenes in the 2021-22 campaign, Aubameyang's fall-out with Arteta and the subsequent process in moving him on was laid bare.
After stripping him of the captaincy, Arteta spoke of the meticulous backup plan he had devised in case Aubameyang disputed any of the events that had played out.
He had also been dropped from their squad to face Tottenham earlier that year due to lateness
Arteta and director Edu (left) scrambled for a solution to their £350,000-a-week dilemma
They eventually reached a mutual agreement to terminate Aubameyang's deal and let him join Barcelona in February of last year
'I have everything documented,' the said on the series. 'With the dates, the times, the conversations, how it happened, why it happened . . . because of if one day it's needed.
'[Aubameyang] has been late, apart from all the [other] issues, many times. The club has got a tradition. When you get paid that much...'
Despite the pair cutting ties in February 2022, Aubameyang and Arteta's feud continued very publicly later that month.
During his Barcelona unveiling, Aubameyang said about his former boss: 'I think the problem was only with him and he made the decision. I can't say much. He wasn't very happy, I stayed very calm and that's it.
'They were difficult months but that's how football is sometimes. For my part I have never wanted to do something wrong and now I think that this is the past and I want to think about the present and right now that is my answer.'
Arteta, though, was quick to deny being 'the problem' and instead stressed that he only has the club's best interests at heart.
'It's his opinion. That's his opinion, that is what he said and you have to respect that,' he responded.
'I am grateful for what Auba has done at the club and his contribution since I have been here. The way I see myself in that relationship is the solution, not the problem.
But it didn't take long for Aubameyang to begin directing shots at former boss Arteta
'What I am saying is that I've been this solution, 100 per cent, I can look in the eye of anybody. I do lot of things wrong, for sure. But the intention all the time is the best - and not for me, it is for the club and for the team.'
Having scored just four goals in his final 14 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, Aubameyang's form returned in a short seven-month spell at Barcelona, where he netted 11 in 17 in LaLiga before the opportunity to join Chelsea arose.
The Blues forked out £10million to bring him back to London in August 2022, a move which further strained his relationship with Arsenal supporters.
And after getting up and running by scoring three goals in his first four Chelsea appearances, Aubameyang took his greatest swipe at Arteta yet when he was filmed questioning the Gunners boss' ability to deal with 'big players'
'To manage big characters or big players, he (Arteta) can't deal with it,' he said.
'He (Arteta) needs some young players, they don't say anything, they listen.'
After making a strong start to the season under him, Arsenal fans were left furious with the attack on Arteta and took to Twitter to back their manager.
In an attempt to patch things up with his former club, Aubameyang later tweeted: 'Aware there is a video out that was recorded just after I arrived at Barca. At the time I still had a lot of bad feelings in me - Arsenal are doing great things this season and I wish all my old guys well, just not on November 6. Now full focus on tomorrow.'
Ahead of their first awkward reunion on November 6, Aubameyang would have been dreaming of a goal in front of Arteta and Arsenal's visiting fans at Stamford Bridge, a final parting shot after signing for one of their fiercest rivals.
Yet to the dismay of both sets of supporters, Chelsea's new No 9 appeared to tempt fate when he stoked up tensions between the two clubs in a promotional video for BT Sport before the game.
In the advertisement, Aubameyang said: 'Arsenal, nothing personal. I'm back, I'm blue, I'm ready. Let's go.'
While Blues fans feared a potential jinxing, their Arsenal counterparts were once again seething and quickly branded Aubameyang an 'enemy' on social media, making it all the more satisfying when they ran out 1-0 winners on the day.
His substitution as they continued to celebrate Gabriel's decisive header certainly rubbed salt in the wounds, while also foreboding what has been a miserable spell in west London.
After originally joining Chelsea to reunite with Thomas Tuchel, Aubameyang was left stunned when the former Borussia Dortmund boss was dismissed less than a week later.
Aubameyang soured his relationship with Arsenal further by joining Chelsea in September
He then told his former club it was 'nothing personal' in a promotional video before their reunion at Stamford Bridge on November 6
Chelsea fans feared Aubameyang tempted fate while Arsenal supporters expressed their fury
He then enjoyed a strong start to life under Graham Potter before the wheels came off prior to the World Cup break, meaning he had fallen rapidly out of favour by the time club football resumed and left out of their squad for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
That has remained the case even since Potter became Chelsea's second managerial casualty of the season and was replaced by caretaker manager Frank Lampard, who has only afforded him 68 minutes of football since taking the reins last month.
As he prepares for what should be a boisterous return to Arsenal, who are competing for the Premier League title this season, Aubameyang has endured a nightmare return of three goals in all competitions for Lampard's 12th-placed Blues.
Though despite the bitter nature of his exit, Arteta is determined not to kick a man while he's down and has urged Arsenal fans to give him a warm welcome at the Emirates.
'Let's say thank you, pay respect and gratitude for what he was,' he said before Tuesday's Premier League clash.
'He was an incredible player for us, scored a lot of goals, he was our captain, and he deserves that.'
Despite his acrimonious departure, Arteta has called for Arsenal fans to give Aubameyang a warm welcome when he returns with Chelsea on Tuesday
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