Arsenal Invincibles: How Arsene Wenger took the Gunners to a defeatless 2003-04 season

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Arsenal Invincibles team will be regarded as the greatest Premier League team ever under manager Arsene Wenger, even though the gunners are now a shadow of their former self after Wenger departed the club.

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Arsenal Invincibles celebrating the Golden EPL.

Arsenal’s 2003–04 team will always be remembered as the “Invincibles,” regardless of whether or not it was the greatest Premier League season of the league’s history.

With 100 points in the 2017–18 Premier League season, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City team broke the previous record for the most points in a single season. Manchester United also won the championship with more points than the 90 the Gunners accrued during their unbeaten run.

However, neither of those outstanding clubs can claim to have ever gone a whole league season without losing a league game.

So how exactly did Arsenal succeed? A comprehensive guide to one of the most illustrious teams in English football history has been put together by FUTBALLNEWS.

What are the Invincibles?

The Arsenal team that won the 2003–2004 Premier League is known as The Invincibles. They didn’t lose any of their 38 league games, which is how they got their moniker. They drew 12 games and won 26.

Although Dennis Bergkamp dropped into the “No. 10” position between midfield and attack, Arsenal typically set up in a 4-4-2 system that may also be known as a 4-2-3-1.

The team is best known for their brilliant offensive ability. While Bergkamp was towards the conclusion of his career, Thierry Henry was at the pinnacle of his abilities and finished second in the Ballon d’Or voting in 2003 and fourth in 2004, while Bergkamp had not yet lost his spectacular mobility or vision.

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Patrick Vieira, who played central midfield, served as the team’s brain and heart. Robert Pires, a left winger, contributed a secondary source of goals, scoring 14 in the league. A fierce box-to-box player on the right who upped his game for the big moment was Freddie Ljungberg.

When contrasting the Invincibles with the current Arsenal squad, it is not often emphasized that the Gunners also excelled on defense, allowing just 26 goals. In goal, Jens Lehmann added international caliber, and Ashley Cole and Lauren were a dynamic full-back duo. Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure were a fantastic combination of athleticism and intellect at center-back.

But it wasn’t simply the staff’s caliber; it was also how they were organized. Gilberto Silva and Vieira were both entrusted with protecting the defense, while Cole and Lauren didn’t let their desire to attack and overlap undermine their responsibilities in their half.

Arsenal Invincibles 03/04 squad

This made Arsenal more like Atletico Madrid than Barcelona. Although it was anticipated that they would track back and intercept the ball, Pires and Ljungberg did not linger high up the field.

Arsenal was able to withstand pressure in their own half before unleashing deadly counterattacks under Henry’s leadership, which made them an even superior team going forward than their quality alone would suggest.

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Who was the Invincibles team’s coach?

During Arsenal’s 2003–2004 “Invincibles” season, Arsene Wenger served as the team’s manager.

Wenger was dubbed the smartest manager in the Premier League and “possibly all of football at the moment” by Guardian writer Kevin Mitchell following Arsenal’s victory over Leicester City, which ended their undefeated season.

By implementing new training, fitness, and eating habits, Wenger not only revolutionized Arsenal but the entire division. This drove managers throughout the nation to adopt similar practices and demand more professionalism and self-discipline from their players. The days of eating greasy meals and drinking many pints of beer to celebrate successes were long gone.

At the time, no one could equal the Frenchman’s track record for discovering players no one had heard of and developing them into full internationals. Ljungberg cost £3 million from Halmstads in Sweden, while Toure cost £150,000 from an Ivorian club and was turned from a midfield and full-back into a central defender.

The fact that Wenger was Sir Alex Ferguson’s first real equal may be the most flattering thing you can say about him.

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In his first ten years in north London, he was a wonderful combination of technical acumen and ruthlessness, putting together sides that played beautiful football and weren’t scared by anyone. His star has gradually fallen since then, and he left Arsenal in sixth place in 2018.

Who were the Invincibles’ main players?

The title of the greatest player in the history of the Premier League belongs to Thierry Henry. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has reached the heights of Arsenal’s No. 14 at his best, although some may claim that Alan Shearer and Ryan Giggs achieved it for longer.

The Frenchman scored a career-high 30 league goals during the undefeated campaign and has already been crowned the Gunners’ greatest player of all time. Simply put, Henry moved rapidly. Whether he was running, shooting, or passing, it seemed as though he could act and see twice as quickly as others around him.

Arsenal Invincibles: How Wenger's 2003-04 Gunners went a season without  defeat | Goal.com
Patrick Viera, Pires, Henry and Ashey Cole celebrating.

Henry had a far lower profile when he joined Arsenal than when he left them and had struggled on the left wing during one season at Juventus, as was the case with about half of Arsenal’s starting XI. He spent less time in Italy and was converted to a center striker by Wenger, who had previously coached him at Monaco.

He and Bergkamp made the ideal team for speed, talent, and intelligence. They were excellent at finding space and left opposing center-backs unsure of whether to follow them and be dragged about the field or leave them unattended. The Dutchman had a tendency to drop into the hole, and Henry liked to pull out on the left side.

What did the Invincibles achieve?

DateMatchScorers
Aug 16, 03Arsenal 2-1 EvertonCampbell, Pires
Aug 24, 03Middlesbrough 0-4 ArsenalHenry, Gilberto, Wiltord (2)
Aug 27, 03Arsenal 2-0 Aston VillaCampbell, Henry
Aug 31, 03Man City 1-2 ArsenalWiltord, Ljunberg
Sep 13, 03Arsenal 1-1 PortsmouthHenry
Sep 21, 03Man Utd 0-0 ArsenalNone
Sep 26, 03Arsenal 3-2 Newcastle UtdHenry (2), Gilberto
Oct 4, 03Liverpool 1-2 ArsenalHyypia (og), Pires
Oct 18, 03Arsenal 2-1 ChelseaEdu, Henry
Oct 26, 03Charlton Athletic 1-1 ArsenalHenry
Nov 1, 03Leeds Utd 1-4 ArsenalHenry (2), Pires, Gilberto
Nov 8, 03Arsenal 2-1 TottenhamPires, Ljungberg
Nov 22, 03Birmingham City 0-3 ArsenalLjungberg, Bergkamp, Pires
Nov 30, 03Arsenal 0-0 FulhamNone
Dec 6, 03Leicester 1-1 ArsenalGilberto
Dec 14, 03Arsenal 1-0 Blackburn RoversBergkamp
Dec 20, 03Bolton Wanderers 1-1 ArsenalPires
Dec 26, 03Arsenal 3-0 WolvesCraddock (og), Henry (2)
Dec 29, 03Southampton 0-1 ArsenalPires
Jan 7, 04Everton 1-1 ArsenalKanu
Jan 10, 04Arsenal 4-1 MiddlesbroughHenry, Queudrue (og), Pires, Ljungberg
Jan 18, 04Aston Villa 0-2 ArsenalHenry (2)
Feb 1, 04Arsenal 2-1 Man CityTarnat (og), Henry
Feb 7, 04Wolves 1-3 ArsenalBergkamp, Henry, Toure
Feb 10, 04Arsenal 2-0 SouthamptonHenry (2)
Feb 21, 04Chelsea 1-2 ArsenalVieira, Edu
Feb 28, 04Arsenal 2-1 Charlton AthleticPires, Henry
Mar 13, 04Blackburn Rovers 0-2 ArsenalHenry, Pires
Mar 20, 04Arsenal 2-1 Bolton WanderersHenry, Pires
Mar 28, 04Arsenal 1-1 Man UtdHenry
Apr 9, 04Arsenal 4-2 LiverpoolHenry (3), Pires
Apr 11, 04Newcastle Utd 0-0 ArsenalNone
Apr 16, 04Arsenal 5-0 Leeds UtdPires, Henry (4)
Apr 25, 04Totteham 2-2 ArsenalVieira, Pires
May 1, 04Arsenal 0-0 BirminghamNone
May 4, 04Portsmouth 1-1 ArsenalReyes
May 9, 04Fulham 0-1 ArsenalReyes
May 15, 04Arsenal 2-1 LeicesterHenry, Vieira

Arsenal Invincibles squad

No.PosPlayerAppsGoals
1GKJens Lehmann38
3DFAshley Cole32
4MFPatrick Vieira293
5DFMartin Keown3 (7)
7MFRobert Pires33 (3)14>
8MFFredrik Ljungberg27 (3)4
9FWJose Antonio Reyes7 (6)2
10FWDennis Bergkamp21 (7)4
11FWSylvain Wiltord8 (4)3
12DFLauren30 (2)
14FWThierry Henry3730
15MFRay Parlour12 (10)
17MFEdu12 (17)2
18DFPascal Cygan10 (8)
19MFGilberto Silva29 (3)4
22DFGael Clichy7 (5)
23DFSol Campbell351
25FWNwankwo Kanu3 (7)1
28DFKolo Toure36 (1)1
30FWJeremie Aliadiere3 (7)
39MFDavid Bentley1
45DFJustin Hoyte(1)

What was the Premier League table like for Arsenal Invincibles?

PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGDPts
1Arsenal3826127326+4790
2Chelsea3824776730+3779
3Manchester United3823696435+2975
4Liverpool381612105537+1860
5Newcastle Utd38131785240+1256
6Aston Villa381511124844+456
7Charlton Athletic38141113515153
8Bolton Wanderers381411134856-853
9Fulham381410145246+652
10Birmingham City381214124348-550
11Middlesbrough38139164452-848
12Southampton381211154445-147
13Portsmouth38129174754-745
14Tottenham38136194757-1045
15Blackburn Rovers38128185159-844
16Manchester City38914155554+141
17Everton38912174557-1239
18Leicester City38615174865-1733
19Leeds Utd3889214079-3933
20Wolves38712193877-3933

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