HomeFootball NewsAre Arsenal’s 'Invincibles' the best team the Premier League has ever seen?

Are Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ the best team the Premier League has ever seen?

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During the 2003-04 Premier League season, Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal went the whole campaign without losing a single game. It’s a record that is yet to be done for a second time during the Premier League era.

In the 03/04 season, Wenger’s side won 26 matches, drew 12 and lost none. It was a significant improvement on their campaign prior, where the Gunners finished second in the table, five points behind Manchester United.

The side from North London ended the season with 90 points and finished 11 points clear of second-place Chelsea, who lost seven games that season compared to Arsenal’s zero. Thierry Henry finished as the league’s top scorer with 30 goals, eight ahead of Alan Shearer in second in the golden boot race.

Key players who were at the heart of Arsenal’s success included Henry, Patrick Vieira (who was the captain), Robert Pirès, Freddie Ljungberg and Ashley Cole. Pirès assisted 10 goals for the club, which was more than any of his teammates in the league. Goalkeeper Jens Lehmann kept 15 clean sheets as he featured in all 38 matches, which was the joint most across all goalkeepers.

In other competitions, however, Arsenal didn’t see the same success. The Gunners were defeated by Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup semi-final.

In the League Cup, Arsenal reached the semi-finals but lost 2-1 to Middlesbrough, and in the Champions League, Wenger’s squad fell to London rivals Chelsea, with the Blues knocking out the Gunners in the quarter-final stage. Whilst success lacked outside of the Premier League title, Arsenal performed strongly in the other tournaments they played in. Two semi-finals and a quarter-final are nothing to be frowned at.

The main threats to the title winners that season were Chelsea and Man United.

When Wenger’s team travelled to Old Trafford, the result was 0-0 but it would have felt like a win for the away side. A last-minute penalty miss from Ruud Van Nistelrooy meant that the potential Invincibles title remained a possibility. Arsenal took their revenge against Chelsea for their Champions League exit by doing the double over them, winning both matches 2-1 in the league. Arsenal’s current Director of Football Edu Gaspar was on the scoresheet in both clashes.

The ridiculously high standards of the top division are huge and for a team to go 38 matches unbeaten again would be extremely difficult, but not outside the realms of possibility.

If one team was to go unbeaten, at this moment in time Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City is the most likely. During the 2018-19 campaign, Liverpool suffered only one defeat, which came against Man City. Had Liverpool drawn the game, they would’ve not only gone unbeaten for the whole season but they would’ve been crowned champions.

Both Manchester clubs have won the treble. Competing for three trophies and trying to win them all is incredibly difficult, and to be successful in winning all of them is something that deserves high amounts of praise.

José Mourinho’s Chelsea side only conceded 15 goals in the league in 2003-04, which is something that would be extremely hard to replicate today. Mourinho’s team tallied up 95 points that season, and only suffered one defeat in the league.

To compare the last 30 years of the Premier League is extremely difficult to do, especially with the changes that football has seen over the years when it comes to tactics and improvements to the game.

However, with Arsenal being the only team in the Premier League era to go a whole 38-game season unbeaten, it certainly puts them in the conversation for one of the best teams the league has ever seen.

Read more: Can Arteta take Arsenal that step further and win the league title in 2023-24?

 

 

 

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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