5 Reasons Why Arsenal’s Invincibles Were Incredible

When Premier League fanatics look back at the 2003-04 season, the thing that will stick out in their minds is how Arsenal managed to win the title without losing one single game. This is the first time this has ever happened in Premier League history, and very few football experts believe it will ever be repeated. 

 

Nowadays, people still talk about how Arsene Wenger’s North London side created history that year, and the nickname ‘The Invincibles’ is mentioned on a regular basis, especially among Arsenal fans. The Premier League is arguably the most difficult domestic league on the planet, and to go the entire season without losing one single game is incredible. So, what was it that the Gunners did to go on a thirty eight game run unbeaten? 

 

Their Defenders were Solid

What Arsenal (or any other team in the world for that matter) would do to have a defense like Arsenal had in that season. English teammates Sol Campbell and Martin Keown were at the heart of Arsenal’s defense. Two strong, experienced center halves who seemed fearless when an attacker came close to their box. Not only were they good at defending, but both players could play football too, which allowed the North London side to play out from the back. However, Martin Keown was coming to the end of his fantastic career, so Kolo Toure often started instead of him. It’s not surprising that the young footballer would go on to have a wonderful career with other clubs. 

 

Ashley Cole played in the left back position for most of the season. He was involved in scoring and assisting goals, and wasn’t afraid to put in a challenge when needed either. He too went on to have a wonderful career after leaving Arsenal for Chelsea. French international, Lauren, played in the right back position, who was adored by the Highbury supporters. 

 

Arsenal’s starting eleven was amazing at the time, but they also had plenty of players in their squad that could do the job when they got the nod from the manager. Wenger had no issues with bringing young talent onto the pitch, such as Geal Clichy and Philippe Senderos. 

 

Between the sticks, they had the charismatic German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann. The tall, strong German made his presence felt when opponents were in his box.

 

Captain Fantastic: Patrick Vieira

During the summer of 2002, Arsenal legend, Tony Adams, finally hung up his football boots and the manager decided that the captain’s armband would be given to Patrick Vieira. Viera had already won lots of major tournaments at both club level and for France, including a World Cup and the European Championship. 

 

Later, the French international claimed he felt that taking over the role as the captain was a daunting experience. During the early stages of the season, Vieira was shown a red card after he mistimed a tackle against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, however, his side went on to rescue a point. After the game, Veira spoke to French media, where he expressed that he was feeling fatigued and he needed a break from football because he could see himself burning out. Wenger didn’t take his captain’s request on board, and he ended up playing 66 times for the Gunners that season. 

 

Vieira had everything a team like Arsenal needed in those days. He was a natural leader, he had pace, strength, an eye for goal, and he was incredible at regaining possession. He instilled faith into his fellow Arsenal teammates, and would always lead by example. Due to his pace, he was helping out his defenders one minute, and the next, in his opponent’s box trying to help his side score. 

 

The Rest of the Midfield

When Freddie Ljungberg arrived at Highbury as a teenager in 1998, very few people had heard of him, however, almost 10 years on, the Sweedish international was a regular in Wenger’s Arsenal side. He played on the right wing and managed 4 goals in that season. 

 

Robert Pires played on the left side of midfield. He was another French international superstar who brought flair and scored incredible goals while at Arsenal. Although he started most games on the left, he would often play in a more central role when the manager asked him to. He was one of Arsenal’s best players during the 2003-04 season and finished on 14 goals. 

 

Playing slightly behind the captain in the midfield was Gilberto Silva. Having Silva in the team allowed Vieira to move up the pitch to help out the attackers. He was a consistent midfielder and had a great relationship on the pitch with the defenders. 

 

Dennis Bergkamp

Without a shadow of a doubt, Dennis Bergkamp is one of the most exciting and talented players to ever have played in the Premier League. He was a huge part of Arsenal’s successes in their heyday and will be remembered by Arsenal fans for many years. 

 

It’s strange to think that the Dutch international only scored four Premier League goals in the season Arsenal went unbeaten, but there is much more to the player’s game than getting the ball in the back of the net. He was versatile, and Wenger often moved him around the pitch. He could play as a number nine, as a second striker, or even as an out and out striker. 

 

Thierry Henry

Many believe that Thierry Henry is the greatest ever player to play in England’s top division. During the 2003-04 season, the Arsenal legend managed to get the ball in the back of the net thirty times. Traditional bookmakers and every online casino believed that he would once again win the Player of the Year award, and they were not wrong. He was one of those players that would make the game look easy, and he would light up Highbury in almost every game he featured in. In total, the French man scored 175 goals for Arsenal, and he created 74 chances. 

 

Later in his career, he returned to Arsenal on loan and scored once again to knock Leeds out of the FA Cup. He showed the Arsenal fans glimpses of what he was like. Just like Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira, he will remain in Arsenal hearts for many years.

Tags Invincibles

29 Comments

  1. gotanidea says:

    Aside from their physicalities, Wenger’s tactic hasn’t been dissected by other EPL managers yet. Unfortunately it didn’t evolve after the Invincibles’ departures

    Since he has a lot of free time now, maybe he’s learned something new

    1. Davi says:

      I think Wenger actually just did what Clough said – get the best players on the field. The strategy when we needed a goal was to throw on all the strikers – don’t think he was usually a tactical manager. He was good at assembling great squads of winners and generally keeping them happy.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Maybe. I just remember that the other EPL teams didn’t play like the Invincibles at that time

        We had:
        – Bergkamp to do link-up and hold-up play
        – Henry/ Pires/ Ljungberg to cut inside and shoot
        – Vieira to dribble through the middle of the field
        – Cole/ Lauren to reach the opposition’s byline and to whip crosses

        1. Sylva says:

          Gai
          From the little have seen about football. The invincibles simply had qualities that Arsenal have not had in years. You don’t need to be too much of a tactical genius when you have skillful players that made things easy for you and can interpret simple tactics. Alex Ferguson was the only coach that challenged Wenger during the invincible era and after because Man.U also had great players. After the invincibles, Arsenal kept competing for top 4 when we had the fluidity and skills of Sanchez, Van Persey, Rocisky, Alex Song, Aron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, T. Vamerlen etc..

          1. gotanidea says:

            I agree that the Invincibles’ qualities are exceptional. They were more pacey and more cohesive than any Gunners teams

          2. Balogs says:

            Our invisible team is just complete in all department. Those on the bench can at any time change the game unlike those we have now. Kanu,Wiltord,Edu,etc. Seems Reyes was brought in that season also. Just when are we going to have players worth wearing our shirt again?

        2. Ozziegunner says:

          And Gilberto Silva to break down opposition attacks, clean up and win the ball back, allowing Patrick Viera to drive forward into more attacking positions. Gilberto Silva as pointed out by Piers Morgan was a most underrated Arsenal player.
          It is difficult to understand, why Arsene Wenger never replaced Gilberto Silva with a similar player. He is the last top class DM at the Club. Similarly, the makeup of midfield changed with small technical players replacing the tall fast physical combative midfielders representative of Wenger’s successful Arsenal teams.

  2. Davi says:

    Wiltord and edu made a massive difference that shouldn’t be underestimated.
    Also I think this was the season where keown almost didn’t get a medal because he just about made 10 appearances(?)

    1. Davi says:

      Re keown: yes it was. Wenger was throwing him on as sub in the last few games just to get him up to 10 apps. Great player ofc, but I think he was more important as a personality off the field in this season – Sol and Kolo were the starting CBs that season

  3. VasC says:

    I’d like to add a couple of things to that list.

    6. Familiarity and Unity: All the players who made a telling contribution to THAT team were playing together for more than two seasons, except Lehmann (signed that summer) and Gilberto Silva (signed the summer before).

    7. Team before individual: Players were picked for their contributions to the team than their individual performances. As noted in the article, DB10, one of the greatest ever forwards to play for us, scored just 4 PL goals, yet started regularly.

    Look at us now, trying to offload Laca, based on his goal scoring stats, without giving any consideration to what he brings to the team.

    1. Mike says:

      True talk man tell them Laca should stay oh!

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        👍 👍 The Club will get better value from keeping Lacazette, than the money they would get from selling him.

  4. PJ-SA says:

    If you just compare Vieira to Auba it’s easy to see.

    Patrick was a fearless leader and his team was his family and he’d defend them as such. Auba is none of that

    1. Mike Anison says:

      Yes auba should go not Laca pls.

  5. jowe says:

    Hello nice article but Lauren was Cameroon international 🙂

    Every member was important BTW,, from Parlour to Kanu to Reyes.

  6. jon fox says:

    Interesting trip down Memory Lane.
    But I am more interested in learning lessons for our present and near future from The INVINCIBLES , including WHY they were broken up so swiftly(just as Bertie Mees 1971 Double winning team was too).
    BIG MISTAKES FOR BOTH!
    Great to remember but more use to LEARN from the memory, if you truly wish to progress and not just live in the past.

    1. Ozziegunner says:

      👍 Exactly right, jon. Ray Kennedy to Liverpool still irks me!

  7. fairfan says:

    Arsene Wenger was one of the first foreign managers and he brought in so many foreign players and Black players.
    But the next season Mourinho who was also European experienced also brought in foreign and Black players and broke Arsenals invincibility immediately and Arsenal never won another title which is why Wenger hated Mourinho so much.

    1. Dan kit says:

      Wenger hated mourinho?
      Think it was the other way round buddy .
      Everybody loved Wenger and Jose couldn’t stand that .

      1. siamois says:

        I agree Mourinho was the one with the problem!the reason he knew no matter his many trophies unlike le Prof he would never have a proper legacy that’s what irked so much he could never understand why he was not spoken about in the same manner!

    2. siamois says:

      I somehow doubt that AW is/ was the type of person to waste time & energy in hating others he may not have liked what Chelsea and Mourinho represented!I

    3. jon fox says:

      fairfan, Is not the proper truth- though you failed to notice it- that worldly wise and maturely intelligent folk of Wenger’s ilk do not “HATE” anyone.
      Moreover, and again unlike you, they know the true awful meaning of the word”hate” and do not adopt it themselves, nor misuse it in words or written prose, as you have done.

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        👍

  8. siamois says:

    “French international Lauren”really?he is Cameronian unforgivable !!

  9. Emmanuel says:

    Ever,Invinciblets!Auba doesn’t have that passion,I think NicoPe— can do it better.

  10. Austine Emmanuel says:

    I think Artet
    a should be given that video clip to watch, it may be of learning help to him

  11. Goonster says:

    We rode our lucky in a some games to be honest.
    But still it was such a good team and a historical record.

  12. Andrew Elder says:

    We did have some luck but what a feat. By the way, the first team to go unbeaten away in the top flight was the 2001/02 Arsenal side (apart from Preston in the 19th century). Arguably better than the Invincibles? Anyway the only club to finish unbeaten away TWICE!!!

    1. Ozziegunner says:

      Don’t forget George Graham’s 1990/91 team:
      P38, W24, D13, L1, GF74, GA18, GD+56,
      Pts 83
      This team won the First Division Title by 7 points from Liverpool with a +19 goal difference better. The only loss was 2-1 away to Chelsea. Thus one loss away and none at home.

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